A Catholic, independent, college preparatory school for girls, Grades 1-12, with a co-educational Early Childhood Program, infant through Kindergarten age.


stone Ridge News

AP Photography Students See Venice Through their Lens

Venice - photo by Katya CavanaughQuality of light is arguably the most important aspect to creating a great photo. And, there is no better light than the light in Italy. Practically indescribable, the sun's rays and how it hits the water and land and buildings and people of Italy is the reason why photographers simply cannot put their camera down when they visit the Mediterranean country.

Over spring break, girls in AP Photography were fortunate to experience photographing in Italy's light by participating in a special study program entitled Venice Through A Lens. Their days there were packed with educational tours and photo tutorials which began immediately upon their arrival to the country. Lessons focused on: architectural photography, exploring buildings and other elements of the built environment using various points of view techniques; street photography of city life, oriented to people and their roles, circumstances, and interactions; Venice at night, in which they used their painting-with-light techniques; reflections photography, utilizing the water in Venice to dramatize and emphasize special ways of looking at beautiful things; and portrait projects, which allowed students to create evocative and expressive images of each other in the unique environment of Italy.

While honing their photographic skills the girls took in many sites and participated in once-in-a-lifetime activities in Venice, Murano, Florence, and Verona. A Venetian rowing lesson; meeting students and teachers from a local linguistics high school (liceo linguistico), listening to a chamber music concert in Teatro La Fenice di Venezia, riding city hop-on-hop-off bus tours in Florence and Verona, a Venice gondola ride, and learning about fashions and behavior in Eighteenth century Venice at Palazzo Mocenigo were just some of the activities of the week.

Katya Cavanaugh '19 found the trip to be life changing, "My experience in Venice will stay with me for the rest of my life. Not only were the people there pieces of art in and of themselves, but the history in the city was breathtaking. It was so nice to be able to look anywhere and see something beautiful, whether it was a beautiful reflection in the canal, or a cute gondolier, a window box with colorful flowers, or an intricately carved stone face of a cathedral."

While photography was the focus of the trip, the girls also tasted independence and adventure and were enlightened to other cultures in our world. "This experience gave me the ability to develop my sense of cultural awareness and independence," explained Katya. "From learning snippets of the language, to conversing with students from one of the local schools and creating new relationships, Venice allowed me to hone my artist's eye and let to say that I've touched just that much more of the world."

Josephine Roberts '18 enjoyed meeting new friends while exploring new photography techniques. "Going to Venice was an amazing experience; it was my second time there but I had a completely different perspective since I was there as a photographer. I was a bit nervous to be traveling with a large group of girls, most of whom I didn't know, but I made some amazing friends during that week. It was exciting to be able to explore depth of field, portraiture, and shutter speeds in a different country and environment!"

Venice - photo by Josephine Roberts

Venice - photo by Katya Balaban

AP Environmental Sciences Class Creates Unique Project on Ecological Impact of Countries

The amount of resources individuals and countries need and use varies greatly around the world. To better understand and visualize this disparity, students in AP Environmental Sciences were given a rather unique task – pick a country and create a shoe that represents the country and its use of resources.
Students used their creative skills to create the shoes from either repurposed or meaningful materials that related to their chosen country. The length of the shoes were carefully and thoughtfully designed and built to scale according to the ecological footprint of an average individual living in that nation.
The results of their projects were visually surprising. Because students chose countries ranging in footprints from poor nations to well-developed, they could see the vast difference between countries; the shoes ranged in size from less than 1 cm to over 60 cm.

The smallest shoe, created by Katie Long '18 represented Bhutan. She chose to represent Bhutan because of a fascinating Ted Talk she had seen which featured the country as carbon negative – Bhutan has so many trees that it actually converts more carbon dioxide into oxygen than it creates.

Katie's shoe is made of leaves. "We were challenged to choose a material that is meaningful to our particular country and preferably recyclable. I decided to try to make mine out of leaves. I also sewed the leaves together because part of the project was to use as little adhesives as possible. The size of the shoe was based on the ecological footprint per capita. My shoe for Bhutan was only about .8 cm."
Lessons gleaned from this activity were eye opening for Katie. "This project illuminated the enormous difference in size of ecological footprints between countries. Seeing the nearly over one million shoes representing the USA and United Arab Emirates next to a .8 cm shoe showed the issue in a way that was more powerful than for example a couple of sentences or graph."

Briana Thompson '18 chose to depict China. For her shoe she found boxes that said “MADE IN CHINA” as well as paint that was about to be thrown out. Both sides and the tongue of the shoe represent China’s contribution to climate change (i.e. the flaming earth), air pollution (i.e. the factory with smoke), and deforestation (i.e. the chopped trees). The top of the shoe has the flag of China itself to make it easier for people to see which country she was representing. The number 3.6 on the back of the shoe is the global hectare per capita for China. The size of the shoe was based on this number. This made the shoe about 10 inches.

Briana found the exercise to be enlightening. "China is usually depicted as the main contributor to climate change," Briana explained, "so seeing that their global hectare per capita was ranked #67 in the world was very surprising. Through my research, I discovered that the individual citizen did not contribute a lot to climate change. With the largest population in the world, however, the actions of the individual add up. In reality, it is the shear size of China that effects the environment."

AP Environmental Science is a college-level course that covers ecology, earth's systems, energy, biodiversity, population biology, natural resource use, pollution, climate change, and human impacts on the environment. The class includes discussions on the politics and economics of environmental issues and an emphasis on potential solutions to environmental problems. In addition, the course offers extensive fieldwork and laboratory investigations.

Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Training Earns PhD

Andrew MaguireAndrew Maguire, Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Training, recently completed his advanced studies of Educational Administration and Policy with the George Washington University's Graduate School of Education and Human Development. He now holds his Doctor of Education degree. His studies concluded with the defense of his dissertation, entitled: "High School Interscholastic Athletic Participation Influence on Student Educational Outcomes: A Retrospective Mixed-Methods Analysis of the High School Interscholastic Athletic Experiences of Undergraduate College Students."

In abstract, Andrew's research aimed to "identify and determine the influence of high school interscholastic athletic participation experiences on the educational outcomes of students, ... [a relationship] well documented from a quantitative approach in existing literature." Andrew sought to "explore this relationship qualitatively... [implementing] a mixed-methods approach through the use of concept mapping to elicit the voice of the study participants through the collection of participant generated, sorted, and rated data. Representing the first application of the concept mapping methodology to this area of research, [Andrew's research] captured the student voice and perspective, yielding notable findings in regard to (1) the development of a framework for the understanding of experiences associated with interscholastic athletics participation, (2) the homogeneity of perception of similar interscholastic athletic experiences of boys and girls, and (3) discrepancies in the frequency of occurrence and perceived influence of interscholastic athletic experiences by students."

Undoubtedly, Andrew's study will serve him well in his continued work at Stone Ridge. Congratulations, Dr. Maguire!

Link to full dissertation.

Journalism Class Tours USA Today Headquarters

A recent trip to the USA Today headquarters in McLean, VA had students in the Upper School Journalism class imagining what it would be like to have a career at a national newspaper. The girls were hosted by Jayne O'Donnell, a reporter, podcaster, author, TV contributor, and mom of Cathryn Willing '18. The girls met with editors and reporters, attended the morning news meeting, and were interviewed about teen mental health for a segment the publication is doing for Teen Health Week.

The Journalism course offers students the opportunity to hone journalistic skills as writers and editors. Students learn how to write news and feature stories, determine appropriate editorial topics, edit stories others have written, write headlines, and design newspaper pages for inclusion in the school paper. The course focuses on developing clear, concise and accurate writing skills.


Journalism Class

Middle School Leadership Students Visit St. Mark's Food Pantry

Hundreds of cans, boxes and bags of nutritious foods are coming in from our generous families in support of the Middle School's Lenten Food Drive to support St. Mark's Food Pantry in Hyattsville, MD. How is the pantry run? Who benefits from these donations? Are there certain foods that are more highly needed and beneficial to the pantry's clients? These questions and more were answered on Monday, March 19, as a group of earnest Middle School students in Student Council Leadership visited St. Mark's to get a first hand look at how the pantry is run.

The pantry, they learned, provides two bags of food to each family per month – there are 300 clients who can come once a month on a Tuesday to receive the food. The food is meant to supplement what the clients can purchase at a grocery store and includes such basics as cereal, rice, pasta and sauce, canned soup and vegetables. Things that we take for granted, like toilet paper, is even given out – a basic that is not cheap.

While helping to fill some of the bags and getting a tour of the shelved-lined pantry, the girls asked questions of the pantry's volunteers. They learned that many of the clients prefer bagged dry black beans, instead of canned. Also, no matter the number of people in each client's family, they get the same amount of food.

The pantry opens at 10:00 am but many people arrive by 8:00 am to be the first in line and have a chance at getting extras – things like toothpaste, soap, condiments – that vary each week and are in limited supply.

The visit to the pantry was enlightening to the girls. As Holly Keegan '22 stated, "Visiting the food pantry opened my eyes to both the need and kindness in our community." It also served as an example of the positive effects of social action, "It was a great experience to see social action in action," Gigi Crafton '22 stated.

The Middle School will collect donations for the Lenten Food Drive until April 4.

St Mark's Pantry


Fr. Jacek Orzechowski Speaks on Immigration

On Friday, March 9 students in our Upper School had the opportunity to hear an insightful talk on immigration from Fr. Jacek Orzechowski, OFM. Fr. Jacek, who has volunteered with Catholic Charities' Immigration Legal Services, spoke on the process of immigrants becoming citizens in the United States and the Catholic view on immigration and migrants.

In addition to explaining the long process of becoming a citizen, Fr. Jacek dispelled common myths regarding immigrants and highlighted their contributions, both economically and socially, to our society.

Fr. Jacek was born and grew up in Poland. After immigrating to the U.S. in 1988, he joined Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province and obtained a Master of Divinity degree from Washington Theological Union. He spent two summers in Latin America - in Mexico and Peru - learning the language and culture. After he was ordained in 2002, Fr. Jacek was assigned to minister at two very multicultural parishes: first in Durham, NC; then in Silver Spring, MD where for the last nine years he served at St. Camillus Church. Following his sabbatical in Morocco and in Spain, where for 25 days, he walked 400 miles on a pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of St. James in Santiago de Compostela. Currently, he serves at Catholic Charities, coordinating its Parish Community Organizing and Advocacy efforts. In addition, he works part-time as a chaplain at the Walter Reed hospital.

In his priestly and religious vocation, Fr. Jacek has been influenced by the teaching of Saint John Paul II, especially by his call to learn and put into practice Catholic Social teachings. Fr. Jacek preaches regularly on various justice issues including justice for immigrants, care for our common home, and respect for life. He is also an avid hiker.

Fr. Jacek was hosted by the Stone Ridge Social Action Student Advisory Board Infusion Team. The talk provided the Upper School with an opportunity to learn more about the immigration process and continue to educate themselves in light of the Goals of Sacred Heart Education.

Fr. Jacek


Bioethics, Genetic Testing, and God

As part of their recent study of genetic screening, Upper School Theology teacher Tony Lemon and his Fourth Academic Bioethics class welcomed guest speaker, Mr. Eric Cole, MS, FACHE. Mr. Cole spoke about the prenatal diagnosis his son received of Dandy-Walker Syndrome, a congenital brain defect. Mr. Cole shared the ethical decision his family had to make after being counseled that a termination was an option for his unborn child. He also spoke of how genetic testing raises important questions about the limits of science and challenges us as persons of faith to find God's hand at work in these situations.

Mr. Cole founded the non-profit Dandy-Walker Alliance, Inc. whose mission is to promote awareness, to provide a support network for families, to help set, support and fund national research activities, and to make information available to families affected by Dandy-Walker Syndrome in an organized and accessible way.

Today, Mr. Cole's son is a thriving middle school student and, like all baseball fans, is eagerly awaiting the start of the new season.

Bioethics Class

Gators Beat Blood Cancer Raises Big Dollars for LLS Campaign


The fifth annual Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) Students of the Year Campaign celebrated a record breaking year, raising over $2,250,000 for the LLS mission, a world without blood cancers. The seven-week competition engaged 32 high school teams including Stone Ridge's own Gators Beat Blood Cancer (GBBC), which raised a total of $155,000.

The GBBC team raised critical dollars in honor of fellow Stone Ridge classmate and friend, Meaghan Kilner '20, who was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma at age fifteen. After intensive treatment, months in a hospital and many prayers, Meaghan went into remission. Unfortunately, at the beginning of her sophomore year, she was re-diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Meaghan continues to fight and, as her classmates attest, is the "strongest Gator they know."

Being a leader on the GBBC team changed Francesca Ciatto's '20 life and infused her with extreme empathy toward those suffering with cancer. Of her experience on the team, Francesca had this to say, "During the campaign, I genuinely changed as a person. I learned that the small bumps in my life are nothing compared to the terrifying mountains that are in the lives of those living with cancer. Stepping back from myself and my needs, I was given the opportunity to serve others in ways I didn't know were possible. I met so many people who shared very personal stories about their own battles with cancer. Many of these people put themselves in very vulnerable positions by describing how frightened and hopeless they felt during this time in their lives. I will forever be grateful for the stories and memories they shared with me."

The GBBC team was honored to attend the LLS Gala on March 3 to celebrate their fundraising efforts. Stone Ridge commends the GBBC team, listed below, for their efforts in raising awareness and funds for this endeavor:

Inès Andrès '19
Fran Ciatto '20
Grace Yang '19
Olivia Yang '21
Alyssa Diess '20
Ellie Brewer '20
Meaghan Kilner '20
Madeleine Sateri '19

If you'd like to contribute to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, visit the Gators Beat Blood Cancer link, which will be active until June 30, 2018. #GatorStrong #KilnerStrong


LLS Gala


Successful Year for SR Swim & Dive

The Stone Ridge Swim & Dive program had a fantastic year on the local and national stage. As a team and as a program the future is bright with underclassmen and Middle School performances. Individual performances saw Stone Ridge girls crowned National Champion, Independent School League (ISL), Washington Metropolitan Prep School Swim Dive League (WMPSSDL), and/or Metro Champion.

Stone Ridge Swim & Dive established itself as the premier program for Catholic school girls in the DMV, dominating not only its ISL rivals Visitation and Holy Child multiple times, but also defeating traditional Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) schools such as Good Counsel, Holy Cross, and St. John's just to name a few. The roster of approximately 60 Upper School swimmers and divers earned their honors.

Stone Ridge competed for four straight weeks of championships. Kudos to our 11 seniors who have led the program with distinction as well as the entire coaching staff (Head Coach Bob Walker and Assistant Coaches Paul Boman, Sarah Morrissey and Adam Travelpiece) for their incredible vision. Congratulations to each of our swimmers, divers and their parents on a great season!  #GatorStrong


2nd Place:  National Catholic Champs

Female Swimmer of the Meet:  Phoebe Bacon '20

National Catholic Champions:  

  • 200 IM: Phoebe Bacon '20 (Meet Record)
  • Diving: Genevieve Thibodeau '20
  • 100 Fly: Phoebe Bacon '20 (Meet Record)
  • 200 Free Relay: LeFauve '20, Thomas '21, Chen '20, Bacon '20 (Meet Record)
  • 400 Free Relay: Chen '20, Higgins '20, Thomas '21, Bacon '20 (Meet Record)


2nd Place out of 16 ISL schools: ISL Championships

All-ISL Team: Phoebe Bacon '20, Erika Chen '20, Makenzie Higgins '20, Nicole Kronfli '19, Jolie LeFauve '20, Tia Thomas '21

ISL Champions:

  • 200 Medley Relay: Bacon '20, LeFauve '20, Thomas '21, Kronfli '19 (Meet Record)
  • 100 Fly: Phoebe Bacon '20 (Meet Record)
  • 100 Back: Phoebe Bacon '20 (Meet Record)
  • 400 Free Relay: Chen '20, Higgins '20, Thomas '21, Bacon '20 (Meet Record)


All-WMPSSDL Team: Genevieve Thibodeau '20

WMPSSDL Champions:

Diving: Genevieve Thibodeau '20
Female WMPSSDL Swimmer of the Year: Phoebe Bacon '20
Female WMPSSDL Diver of the Year: Genevieve Thibodeau '20


3rd Place out of 33 Public & Private Schools: Metro Championships

Swimmer of the Meet: Phoebe Bacon '20

Metro Champions:

  • 200 Free: Erika Chen '20
  • 100 Fly: Phoebe Bacon '20 (Meet Record)
  • 100 Breast: Phoebe Bacon '20
  • 400 Free Relay: Higgins '20, Chen '20, Thomas '21, Bacon '20 (Meet Record)

All American Consideration:

  • 200 Medley Relay: Bacon '20, LeFauve '20, Chen '20, Thomas '21
  • 200 Free: Erika Chen '20
  • 200 IM: Phoebe Bacon '20
  • 500 Free: Erika Chen '20
  • 200 Free Relay: LeFauve '20, Thomas '21, Chen '20, Bacon '20

Automatic All American:

  • 100 Fly: Phoebe Bacon '20
  • 100 Back: Phoebe Bacon '20
  • 100 Breast: Phoebe Bacon '20
  • 400 Free Relay: Higgins '20, Chen '20, Thomas '21, Bacon '20

Relay Team

Phoebe Bacon '20

College Dreams Fulfilled for SR Student-Athletes

Congratulations to three more Stone Ridge athletes on their recent decisions to play at the collegiate level: Ana Clara Borga '18, will play tennis for Christopher Newport University; Genevieve DiBari '18, will run cross country and track & field for Pomona College; and, Tatiana (Tati) Ortega '18, will play soccer for Northeastern University.

Each girl has an incredible list of individual accomplishments and successes that were highlighted at their college-signing ceremonies. What stood out most was the humility and gratitude they expressed to all those who supported them in fulfilling their goals. As well, when you listened to their classmates, coaches and parents recall stories or qualities about each girl, their impact on their teams, classmates, and teachers, was especially impressive.

At Ana Clara's ceremony, everyone who spoke on her behalf stated something along the lines of, "from the moment they saw Ana hit the ball they knew she was going to be a special player, but that she's an even better person and teammate." Also, being able to listen to those share what a great friend she had been, and how her disposition had positively impacted their lives was truly unique.

Genevieve's quiet yet relentless and tireless pursuit of excellence greatly helped propel the entire Cross Country team to its first championship in school history. During her ceremony, Genevieve's friends movingly spoke about her and the positive impact she had on their lives.

Tati will easily go down as one of the most impactful soccer players in Stone Ridge history. Her impact on others, especially her little sister Sabrina's Grade 2 class, was especially tangible at her ceremony. The little gators spent the morning of the ceremony making signs, and as the ceremony started, burst into Gym 3 and commenced to parading around chanting, "Tati, Tati, Tati, Tati!"

For 22 consecutive years, Stone Ridge has had at least one student-athlete move on to compete at the collegiate level. These three signings brings this year's total to eight student-athletes who have committed to play collegiately, including:

  • Tatiana Ortega '18, Soccer at Northeastern University
  • Ana Clara Borga '18, Tennis at Christopher Newport University
  • Genevieve DiBari '18, Cross Country and Track at Pomona College
  • Cameron Morra '18, Tennis at the University of North Carolina
  • Mollie Carr '18, Lacrosse at the University of Notre Dame
  • Maggie Bellaschi '18, Lacrosse at Stanford University
  • Casey McTague '18, Lacrosse at Denison University
  • Carter Leahy '18, Field Hockey at Colgate University

Congratulations to all of these student athletes and their families! #GatorStrong

National Signing