A Catholic, independent, college preparatory school for girls, Grades 1-12, with a co-educational Preschool, Pre-Kindergarten, and Kindergarten.

stone Ridge News

Congratulations to Laura-Sofia Mehta ’17, who has been nominated to the very selective Presidential Scholars Program. The U.S. Presidential Scholars Program was established in 1964, by executive order of the President, to recognize and honor some of our nation's most distinguished graduating high school seniors. In 1979, the program was extended to recognize students who demonstrate exceptional talent in the visual, creative and performing arts. In 2015, the program was again extended to recognize students who demonstrate ability and accomplishment in career and technical education fields. Each year, up to 161 students are named as Presidential Scholars, one of the nation's highest honors for high school students. Good luck Laura-Sofia!

Phoebe Bacon ’20 competed in her first Washington Metropolitan Interscholastic Swimming & Diving Championships over the weekend. The 14-year-old phenom finished the girls’ 100-yard backstroke in a meet-record 53.94 seconds — the only Metros record of the night. According to The Washington Post, “There is something special and seemingly effortless about the way Stone Ridge freshman Phoebe Bacon swims.” Phoebe also won the 100 butterfly to sweep both of her events. Read more >>>

Phoebe Bacon
Photo credit: Jonathan Newton/The Washington Post

Over 350 swimmers from 30 schools met Saturday, January 30, 2017 in the 17th Annual Washington Metropolitan Private Middle School Swimming Championships. Our Middle School Gators finished 4th. While Holton-Arms girls’ dominated the relays, archrival Stone Ridge showcased newcomer Grade 6 swimmer Erin Gemmell, who showed great promise as she took the 100 Free in 54.92. Gemmell’s time was less than a second off the meet’s oldest standing record set by Colleen Law in 2001 of 53.95. Gemmell was 2nd in the 50 Free with a 25.35, .11 behind winner Valerie Mello from Holton-Arms and a half a second off the record of 24.85 set by Holton alumna and UCLA swimmer Caroline McTaggart in 2010. With two more years to compete, SR Athletics suspect more records will fall among the girls. And soon. #GoSRGators

On Friday, January 27, Stone Ridge's College Counseling Office hosted nearly 50 colleges for an informational fair. This was a a great opportunity for First, Second, and Third Academic students to learn more about the college selection and admissions process and to get to know the representatives from colleges all over the country.

Stone Ridge graduates go to colleges and universities far and wide, big and small, rural and city, Catholic and public, arts to engineering! Wherever a Stone Ridge girl decides to go with her talents, she will be prepared for the academic challenges, leadership roles, community social action...and for some fun too!

Again, for Christmas this year, the Stone Ridge Middle School sent the Fourth Grade students at Rocky Mountain Elementary School a special gift, new hats and gloves.

Rocky Mountain Elementary is a Pre-K through Grade 5 school located in Longmont, Colorado. 86% of the students receive free or reduced lunch and 95% are Hispanic/Latino (77% of those students speak Spanish at home). Most of the students' parents and/or grandparents have immigrated into the U.S. looking for a better life for themselves and their families. Typically, the women raise the children and work cleaning houses or businesses while the men travel looking for work (many working seasonal construction or landscaping jobs in Colorado, while others travel to neighboring states). The money they earn is usually divided between what is kept to support the family here and what can be sent "home" to support the family they left behind.
The Rocky Mountain Elementary family is a tight community. They have high numbers of brothers and sisters, cousins, and even at times, aunts and uncles that attend school together. The hats and gloves project is talked about and anticipated by our students every year. Giving a child, who lives in Colorado, the chance to play in the snow without their hands getting cold and wet is such a wonderful gift.

According to Rocky Mountain teacher Mrs. Natalie Knapp, “The hats and gloves were a huge hit with all of our students. After receiving their gifts, our students described all the different activities they love to do in the snow and they immediately set to work writing to thank you all for your kindness and generosity. I wish you all could have been here in Longmont to see the excitement on our students' faces as they opened their gifts and, as it turned out, the timing could not have been any better! The very next day, Longmont had a huge snowstorm and all of our students got to enjoy a rare snow day!"

The Stone Ridge Debate Team, consisting of Katie Bittman ’20, Alessandra DeSomma ’20, Cambria Digges ’20, and Charlotte Gidley ’20, participated in the Debate, WACFL 4 Tournament, held at Woodgrove High School in Purcellville, VA. The topic was Resolved: Public colleges and universities ought not to limit any constitutionally protected speech. The team had to argue both sides of the argument, affirmative and negative, and according to Katie “it was very challenging!”

The young team did a great job, as it was only the team's second tournament. Alessandra and Katie both went 4-0 in their rounds and moved up to the Junior Varsity division. In addition, Katie placed 3rd in the Novice division, and Alessandra placed 4th. Both Cambria and Charlotte also performed very well. It was a long (7:00 am-6:30 pm) yet fulfilling day.

Congratulations to our Debate Team!

Former Villanova basketball player and SR alumna, Susan Stroud '76 entered the gym of her Alma Mater last week to watch her niece, Grade 8 basketball player Colleen Stroud, play in her Middle School basketball game. Colleen is excited to follow in the footsteps of her aunt and will always share this special bond as Sacred Heart basketball players. Go Gators!



The Upper School dedicated today to a special on-campus Social Action day. The theme was Solidarity and Sacred HeART. Workshops included Poetry for Social Justice, Social Media for Social Good, Four Dreams: Who Inspires Pope Francis?, Global Social Justice, Social Justice Performance Art, Building an Advocacy Toolbox. There was also time for Artivism and reflection. #SacredHeART

The 3D Printed Christmas Ornament Contest was a huge success this year! We had many submissions and Mrs. Karrels had a challenging time picking a winner because each ornament was unique and special!

The 2016 Winners:

Rachel Nokku '22
Leila McKim '24
Lauren Duvall '22


The Jesse tree helps our Grade 4 students in Lower School connect the custom of decorating Christmas trees to the events leading to Jesus' birth. Jesse was the father of King David. We adorn a Jesse tree with illustrated ornaments that represent the people, prophecies, and events leading up to the birth of Jesus. The ornaments of the Jesse tree tell the story of God in the Old Testament, connecting the Advent season with the faithfulness of God across four thousand years of history.


The SRPA Community Service Committee organized a social action event on December 10-11, at A Wider Circle--this organization's efforts focus on the provision of basic need items, education, and long-term support. A total of 60 Stone Ridge volunteers (students, siblings, and parents), representing 23 families, volunteered during the two days. The volunteers moved donated furniture, sorted goods, folded and arranged linens, and wrapped presents for families who had selected gifts at "The North Pole" section. Our Sacred Heart community service event focused on Goals III, IV, and I.

Mass was also celebrated at A Wider Circle after Saturday's volunteer day by Fr. Richard DeLillio, OSFS. Thank you to  Elaine Vining, Chair of the SRPA Community Service Committee.

Despite the cold, the SR Equestrian Team had another great competition this December!
Charlotte MacBride '20 won 3rd and 4th place in her flat classes and 1st in her jumping class in the Varsity Intermediate Division. Casey White '21 won a 6th in her flat class and 3rd in her jumping class in a HUGE class at the JV Novice Division. 
Congratulations to all the SR riders. #goSRgators #SRtogether #GatorStrong

Meaghan Kilner ’20, competed in the IDTANA Southern Region Oireachtas (Irish Dance Competition) on December 3-4 in Baltimore, MD. She competed in three rounds as a solo dancer against 136 other girls in the U15 category, performing both hard and soft shoe dances including a Treble Reel, a Slip Jig, and a Contemporary Set piece. Meaghan placed 31st, making her a North American Irish Dance National Championship (Nationals) qualifier. She will compete at Nationals in New Orleans in July of 2017 with the goal of qualifying to compete in the 2018 World Championships in Glasgow, Scotland. She also competed on a 4-Hand Figures team that medaled, placing 11th of out 70 teams. Meaghan dances with The Culkin School of Traditional Irish Dance and began dancing when she was five years old.

Ten Stone Ridge Upper School students participated in the Maryland Science Olympiad Invitational Event at the National Cathedral School on Saturday, December 3. The students completed a variety of teamwork oriented science challenges. Tournament events are balanced between life science, Earth and space science, chemistry, physics, technology, and inquiry. Congratulations to Abby Weimer '17, Gabi Chambers ’18, Bella Vazirani ’18, Camille Toner ’18, Katie Long ’18, Grace Fischler ’18, Beth Ann Mayer ’18, Annie Warburton ’18, Rachel Ruffin ’18, and Nanako Sugimoto ’20. And thank you to our science faculty, Ms. Torbert, Ms. Caudle, and Mrs. Flood.

Stone Ridge hosted the first Independent School Juried Exhibition for artists from Stone Ridge, Georgetown Prep, and Gonzaga. Over 100 students submitted art work. The judge was Alfredo Franco, Director of Education from the Delaware Art Museum and Rutgers Creative Writing Professor. Congratulations to all the artists!

The Winners:
1st Prize - Aleksandra Wellisz (Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart) “Self-portrait”
1st Prize - Helena Torres-Siclait (Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart) “Havana Life II”
2nd Prize - Hsien-Tung Liao (Georgetown Preparatory School) “Untitled”
3rd Prize – Caroline Barry (Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart) “Broken”

Honorable Mentions:
Genevieve DiBari  “Jumping off the Page” (Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart)
Cullen Crowley (Gonzaga College High School) “Smile”
William McCann (Gonzaga College High School) “Gonzaga”
Tom Dolan “Pride Rock” (Georgetown Preparatory School)
Abby Ginter “Gaze” (Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart)
Kara Posniewski “Rich on the Rocks” (Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart)
Kiwi Crowley “ Seeing Eye to Eye” (Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart)

Michelle Vaca ’17, is the recipient of the Hispanic Heritage Foundation's award for outstanding Youth Latino leaders in the classroom, community, and workforce. This award was established by the White House in 1987, and it honors high school seniors who excel in the classroom and in their community. The Youth Awardees receive grants for their education or to fund a community project.

Michelle was awarded the Gold Medallion for the Engineering Category in the Washington, DC region. She will compete for the National Youth Award as well.

She received the following message from the organization: "Congratulations on receiving a Hispanic Heritage Youth Award! You are now among a selected few that have achieved this award, which recognizes your outstanding achievement in the classroom, and in your community. We received close to 20,000 applications this year, and after a rigorous selection process, you were chosen as the Gold Medallion recipient of the Engineering Category, which is graciously sponsored by ExxonMobil. You are also in the running for the National Youth Awards."

Congratulations, Michelle!

Mr. Vaca, Michelle, Mrs. Vaca and sister Katherine ’20
Congratulations to the SR Model of American States team for participating in the 35th Annual Model Organization of American States Conference. Held in the international Headquarters in Washington, DC, from November 30 - December 2, the MOAS is supported and administered by the Staff of the OAS General Secretariat. This year the debate forum expanded to included 11 schools from South America and the Caribbean.

The co-ed team from Stone Ridge and Georgetown Prep represented the delegations for the United States and Dominica. The students prepared by researching and writing resolutions that dealt with topics such as cyberterrorism, natural disaster prevention, and sustainable development. Following a briefing by the U.S. State Department, the Hoyas and Gators distinguished themselves by winning several awards. Grace Christenson ’18 was awarded a Distinguished Vice Chairperson.

The hard working team included the following SR girls:
Alex Pitts
Amanda Heckler
Arianne Hennis
Briana Thompson
Cristina Cuervo
Ele Grenfell
Genevieve DiBari
Genevieve Klein
Grace Christensen
Grace Heming
Helen Carter
Helena Torres-Siçlait
Isabella Martinez
Katherine Shin
Kathryn Paravano
Laura-Sofia Mehta
Maddie Rogers
Maya Young
Meghana Pai
Nadine Daboub
Sofie Araya
Sophia Ciatto
Talia Scott

The Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA) announced the 2016-2017 finalists for the Triple-Impact Competitor Scholarship Program. In total, PCA received more than 3200 applications and more than 6600 references. Stone Ridge had three finalists, the most of any school in the country. Representing SR was Kathryn Maloney '17, Kathryn Paravano '17, and Katie Brewer '17. Only 72 out of more than 3200 nationwide were chosen for this extremely competitive award. Katie Brewer was one of the 4 in the Mid-Atlantic/DC Region to be selected. 

Athletic Director Jason McGhee said, "When I arrived to Stone Ridge over two years ago, Katie was one of the first student athletes I met. She was eager to share an idea for "captains" practices. She wanted to improve individually, and yet she wanted her team to improve more. Katie showed exceptional leadership and reflected the triple impact competitor model of how to make yourself better, how to make your team better, and how to make the game better. This leadership made a positive impression on me, and Katie has continued to impress me ever since."

Congratulations to Katie Brewer for winning the PCA scholarship and to our other SR finalists! #goSRgators #GatorStrong

The Stone Ridge Equestrian Team has had a great month! In fact, the program has been experiencing a terrific year after officially joining the Inter-School Horse Show Series (ISHS). SR riders are led by Upper School Science Teacher Ms. Heidi Johnson. According to Athletic Director Jason McGhee, "Ms. Johnson is a tremendous asset to SR on so many fronts, most notably in her positivity and passion in teaching AP Environmental Science and in leading our riders at the stables. This energy transfers to the students. She is an incredible role model, always reflecting the five Goals of Sacred Heart education."
The vision for the program is to develop a fun yet competitive program, offering both varsity and JV opportunities consistently to our students. Currently, the program is offered to Grades 5-12 students.
On October 9, in the Varsity Advanced Division, Riley King '20 received two 2nd place ribbons in her flat classes and a 6th place in her jumping class, as well as a 6th place in the Medal jumping class. 
More recently, on October 23, the Gators had another great outing. In her first time showing with SR, Charlotte MacBride '20 rode in the Varsity Intermediate Division and received 1st and 2nd place ribbons in her flat classes and a 2nd place in her jumping class. Ella Nascone '22 was Reserve Champion in the JV Future Intermediate Division, receiving 1st and 2nd place in the flat and a 3rd place in the jumping. Caroline Hwang '21 rode one of the most challenging horses of the day in the JV Novice class and received a 3rd place in the flat and a 4th place in the jumping. Finally, Casey White '21 had her first time showing with SR, earning two 3rd place finishes in her Novice flat classes.
Excellent work and congratulations, Gators! #goSRgators #GatorStrong
History teacher, Dr. Katharina Matro, wins the 2016 Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize. Dr Matro’s was awarded this significant national award by the German Historical Institute for the best PhD dissertation on German history! Her work was titled, "Postwar in No Man’s Land: Germans, Poles, and Soviets in the Rural Communities of Poland’s New Territories.” Dr. Matro’s earned her PhD from Stanford University.

Dr. Matro will present her paper at the upcoming Annual Symposium of the Friends of the German Historical Institute on November 11, 2014, 11:00 am in Washington, DC.

Since 1997, the Friends of the German Historical Institute awards the Fritz Stern Dissertation Prize for the best doctoral dissertations on German history written at North American universities. Dissertations on all periods of German history, on German-American relations, and on the history of Germans in North America were eligible. Congratulations, Dr. Matro.

One of the greatest, most memorable parts of being a Stone Ridge Girl is participating on the Blue or Gold team. While family legacy can determine a team assignment, all new students are placed on a team for which they will forever cheer!

Blue-Gold 2016 was officially launched during an all-school Blue-Gold Induction Ceremony-- the first one in Stone Ridge history--on Thursday, September 8. More than 100 students new to Stone Ridge gathered in the gym to learn what their new favorite color will be for the rest of their lives!

The ceremony is just the beginning of the larger Blue-Gold rivalry where teams pick up points at events throughout the year, such as PE class, attendance for Gator Game Days, and Father-Daughter Field Day, to name a few. The time-honored SR tradition of Father-Daughter Field Day is the conclusion of the yearly competitions. At the end of Field Day the winning team is announced to the wild cheers of one team. The winning team then raises their respective flag at Gator Field for the upcoming the school year. Gold Team currently holds the flag!! #TrueBlue #BoldGold

Five SR girls and two teachers volunteered with the Appalachia Service Project. The student participants were Grace Fischler '18, Alison Manca '19, Madeleine Sateri '19, Hannah Sweeney '18 (student leader); Kristen Turner '18 (student leader), and the adult volunteers were Carly Authement, Administrative Assistant to the College Office and Holly Zindulis, Upper School English Teacher.

From June 12-18, the volunteers went to Nicholas County, West Virginia, as part of Appalachia Service Project, Stone Ridge's second annual ASP service trip. The team built a new porch and stairs for a local family. 

Hannah and Kris reflected, “The ASP is an exciting opportunity that allows Stone Ridge's young women to explore the world of construction/engineering in a supportive environment that fosters personal growth as well as group bonding. We have gained valuable experience such as learning how to best manage time and resources as well as flexibility in the face of complications. The lessons we've learned during our time at ASP have given us a better understanding of poverty through service.”

Coach Spisak Looks to Model her Motto, "Champions Work!"

Whether it's in her role as Middle School physical education teacher, Stone Ridge varsity soccer coach, Bethesda Soccer Club's Director of Goalkeeping, Washington Spirit Reserve team head coach, or the Washington Spirit Pro Team Assistant Coach, KJ Spisak works hard. Many of the creeds she lives by such as "champions work," or "champions adjust" reflect her commitment and pursuit to excellence. 

Last season the Washington Spirit Reserves played the Colorado Pride in the finals in Quebec, Canada, and became the W-League Champions for the first time in franchise history under the leadership of Coach KJ. According to Stone Ridge Director of Athletics Jason McGhee, "KJ's playing and coaching experiences at the highest levels of high school, college, and professional are hard to match in the ISL or anywhere, and she is a true role model for our students. Further, she represents to our SR students that they can dream big and make it happen with hard work."

Spisak began coaching after an extensive and successful playing career. She attended Texas A&M University where she was a three-year team captain and All-American player. After college, she was a member of the U.S. Women's National Team from 2004-2007.  

For Stone Ridge, the varsity program is coming off one of its highest finishes in recent years and looks to carry momentum into the 2016-2017 season and beyond. You can catch Coach KJ and the Reserve team playing this summer on the Stone Ridge campus June 29 (5:00 pm), July 2 (12:00 noon), July 15 (5:00 pm), or July 17 (12:00 noon). For more information about the Washington Spirit Reserve Team please click here. Additionally, if you are interested in becoming a ball kid for one of the final remaining games, please email reserves@washingtonspirit.com


Fifth grader Codi Johnson was among 5 girls chosen by ivivva, from different schools in the area, to be a community service mentor. Ivivva is athletic wear made for active girls and created by lululemon. Codi was asked to choose a service organization that benefits a cause she is passionate about. Codi believes reading helps children develop their vocabulary, comprehension skills, and expand your imagination. She said “since I love reading and language arts, I chose the organization Reach Out and Read.”

Reach Out and Read is a nonprofit organization that gives young children a foundation for success by incorporating books into pediatric care and encouraging families to read aloud together. Reach Out and Read serves nearly 4.5 million children and their families annually.

Codi hosted a book drive at Stone Ridge and with her lacrosse team. Codi collected a total of 375 books and donated them to Walter Reed Medical Center on May 31. Codi is a great example of living out Goal III, a social awareness which impels to action.

Christina Papagjika ’98 has produced several theater productions and films which include the 2013 blockbuster Lee Daniels’ The Butler and her acclaimed new feature The Family Fang, starring Jason Bateman, Nicole Kidman, and Christopher Walken (in theaters, May 2016).

Christina’s Tony Award-winning musical Kinky Boots continues to delight audiences on Broadway and beyond. She is excited to bring the U.S. touring company home to DC this summer where the show will play from June 14 to July 10. For tickets: www.kennedy-center.org.

To see the creative team, visit http://kinkybootsthemusical.com/creative.php

9101 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, MD 20814

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