Social Action Discusses Human Rights

The Upper School Social Action assembly today focused on Human Rights. We welcomed Maeve McKean, Executive Director of the Georgetown University Global Health Initiative. Ms. McKean is a public health and human rights lawyer and her work focuses on the intersection of global health and human rights. Ms. McKean's mother is Stone Ridge graduate, and former Lt. Governor of Maryland, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend '69. We were honored to have Ms. McKean speak on her experience working with human rights initiatives worldwide.

Katie White, Director of Social Action said, "Ms. McKean helped our students make connections between unjust systems and standards of care and access. McKean has been a Peace Corps volunteer and studied human rights issues all over the world, yet she insisted that we do not have to go far to do good work. She encouraged the audience to investigate the ways in which the U.S. could become more equitable for all, echoing the sentiment of Sr. Barbara Dawson, RSCJ who encouraged the Stone Ridge community to start right here with acts of service and community building."  #Goal3

Maeve McKean


Zoe Sheppard ’16 Offers Compelling Student Discussion on her Experiences in Ghana

Fourth academics taking “Voices of the African Diaspora” were treated to an intriguing classroom visit last week from alumna Zoe Sheppard '16, who discussed her experience in a program in Ghana earlier this year. A student at St. John's University in Queens, NY, Zoe presented takeaways from her service trip at Trashy Bags, a social enterprise based in Accra that makes recycled eco-friendly bags and gifts from plastic trash. She also shared pictures of her visit to the Cape Coast Castle, a 1642 European-built fortress, which students in the class will learn about later in the semester. Seniors asked many questions and were thrilled to host her. It is always wonderful to have alumnae visit, and even more special when they engage with, and give back to, the students at Stone Ridge. Thank you again for your visit, Zoe!

Parent Talk

Join us on Wednesday, October 9, 7:00 pm, in the Athletics Center for a Parent Talk with co-author Ned Johnson about his recent book The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives. Learn more at

Caroline Bailey ‘23 Completes Buddy Bench for Lonely Kids

Hard work and a kind heart drove Caroline Bailey ‘23 to recently complete her Girl Scout Silver Award project—a “buddy bench” for Jamestown Elementary School in Arlington, Virginia. Caroline’s project, which creates a welcoming seat for kids who are feeling lonely and need a friend, was featured in this “Inside Nova” news article. Congratulations, Caroline!

SR’s Christopher Murray Published Author
Teaching about Relgion in the Social Studies Classroom

Kudos to Upper School History Teacher Christopher Murray for his insightful contribution to the recently released Teaching About Religion in the Social Studies Classroom published by the National Council of Social Studies (NCSS). Murray contributed a full chapter entitled “Navigating Media Sources to Study World Religions.”
The book, as described by its publishers, offers advice to educators on religious instruction in the modern classroom: “The U.S. Supreme Court has made clear that teaching about religion is constitutional in public schools, as long as the approach is academic, not devotional. The contributors to this book offer guidelines for classroom instruction that is both constitutionally and academically sound. They clarify the First Amendment issues that impact teachers and schools, and emphasize that the study of religion in schools is an essential part of a good education.”
Coinciding with the book’s release, the NCSS and the Newseum’s Religious Freedom Center held a panel discussion titled “Religious Literacy in Public Schools: What to Teach and How” at which Murray was a panelist.
Prior to teaching at Stone Ridge, Murray taught world history and world religions in Montgomery County Public Schools for 13 years and created one of the first religious literacy professional development courses for educators at the district level.

Congratulations to our Cum Laude Society Members

The Cum Laude Society is a national organization that recognizes academic achievement. The Society was founded in 1906 to recognize scholastic achievement of seniors in secondary schools, and its motto is Areté, Diké, Timé - Excellence, Justice, Honor. Mr. Malcolm McCluskey, Head of School, reflected, "When I look out at this group of students, I cannot think of three better words to describe them. These 19 young ladies strive for excellence in all that they do. Their achievements both in and out of the classroom are due to hard work, effort and persistence."

Congratulations to:

Clare Barloon
Margaret Barnidge
Cecilia Brooks
Isabela Cuervo
Charlotte Gidley
Catherine Harwood
Makenzie Higgins
Ciara Jacobs
Meaghan Kilner
Kayla Kinkead
Anna Looney
Lindsey Lutz
Catherine Muscatello
Katherine Pane
Talia Sader
Piper Suk
Sophia Trone
Caroline Vining
Kendall Wienecke

Cum Laude Society

Missing from photo Catherine Harwood

Meaghan Kilner ‘20 Wins Lily McKee High School Fellow

Congratulations to Meaghan Kilner ‘20 for her acceptance into the Folger Shakespeare Library’s Lily McKee High School Fellows Program! In her acceptance letter, representatives from Folger deemed Meaghan’s application as “outstanding” and they were impressed by her energy and “burn to learn.”
The Lily McKee High School Fellows Program is a rigorous four month curriculum in which students explore a range of approaches to Shakespeare and the humanities, with “deep dives” into Shakespeare’s language and, for this year, the Folger Edition of Henry IV. As explained in their program material, the program is a collaborative and exceedingly educational experience. “Working with scholars, actors, directors, teachers, editors, conservators, curators, and digital humanists, McKee Fellows form a community of learners gathered around knowledge and materials found only at the Folger.”
The program brings together exceptional high school students from around the DC area for a challenging and fulfilling experience. Meaghan will be an essential member of a group that hails from 15 different schools in DC, Maryland and Virginia.
Way to go Meaghan!

Grade 5 Explores Egypt at National Geographic Museum

On Thursday, September 12, Grade 5 students visited the Queens of Egypt exhibition at the National Geographic Museum in Washington, DC. As they traveled through approximately 1,400 years of history, students became acquainted with some of Egypt’s most powerful royal women and female deities, explored features of everyday life along the Nile, and stepped inside a 3D rendition of Queen Nefertari’s stunning burial tomb. While on the National Geographic campus, the Stone Ridge girls enjoyed a private screening of Mummies: Secrets of the Pharaohs in 3D, an hour-long tour of the exhibition, and a challenging scavenger hunt through the exhibition’s three-hundred plus artifacts. Ms. Hibbard, Grade 5 Social Studies teacher, organized the trip to enhance the girls’ understanding of ancient civilizations, specifically the roles of women in Ancient Egypt.

Ella and Eleanor play Senet, a board game from ancient Egypt that represents the journey to the afterlife.

Ella and Eleanor play Senet, a board game from ancient Egypt that represents the journey to the afterlife.

Egypt field trip

Izzy samples perfumes from Ancient Egypt; myrrh was her favorite.

Celeste Cubbage ‘20 Qualifies and Competes in two National Speech and Debate Tournaments

Hearty congratulations to Celeste Cubbage ‘20 who qualified and competed at the two biggest US national tournaments for speech and debate this summer—the Catholic Grand National Tournament and the National Speech and Debate Association National Tournament.

At the Catholic Grand National Tournament, held in Milwaukee, Wisconsin over Memorial Day weekend, Celeste finished strong in the middle of the national pack, competing with students from around the country. To qualify for this tournament, Celeste placed third at the Washington Arlington Catholic Forensic League (WACFL) Metro Finals in Extemporaneous Speaking in March.

The Grand National Tournament incorporates a service project component. The project this year benefited a homeless shelter house called Pathfinders. Thanks to the generous donations collected from our Stone Ridge speech and debate team, Celeste was able to purchase feminine hygiene products for the shelter and donate them at the Mass held at the Milwaukee Theatre.  
Celeste’s second performance of the summer was at the National Speech and Debate Association (NSDA) Tournament in Dallas, Texas in June. She qualified for NSDA Nationals by placing Second in Original Oratory at the Chesapeake District Tournament in February. Celeste made it to the round with the top sixty speakers (breaking to eliminations rounds) in Original Oratory and finished in the top 45 out of over 250 of the best orators from across the United States. Top twenty percent in the US!  For Celeste’s first year competing in oratory this is a huge accomplishment.  

Celeste also competed in the supplemental event of Extemporaneous Debate and broke to the first elimination rounds, but her run was cut short by way too many topics about China and fierce competition. She made friends with a team from Idaho, and they worked together on evidence and arguments during the 30 minute prep periods with one of her Idaho colleagues placing 23 out of over 800 entries. 
To sum it up, in the first full year of Speech and Debate, Celeste did an amazing job representing Stone Ridge Speech and Debate in the national circuit.

Celeste - winner Debates


SR Announces National Merit Semifinalists

Officials of National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC) announced the names of approximately 16,000 Semifinalists in the 65th Annual National Merit Scholarship Program. “These academically talented high school seniors have an opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,600 National Merit Scholarships worth about $31 million that will be offered next spring,” according to a news release from the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

We congratulate our Stone Ridge National Merit Semifinalists Charlotte Gidley '20, Meaghan Kilner '20, and Anna Looney '20. We also have two commended scholars, Clare Barloon '20 and Anna Stallings '20.

About 1.5 million juniors in more than 21,000 high schools entered the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2018 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®), which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than one percent of U.S. high school seniors, includes the highest scoring entrants in each state.

To become a Finalist, the Semifinalist and his or her high school must submit a detailed scholarship application, in which they provide information about the Semifinalists academic record, participation in school and community activities, demonstrated leadership abilities, employment, and honors and awards received. A Semifinalist must have an outstanding academic record throughout high school, be endorsed and recommended by a high school official, write an essay, and earn SAT® scores that confirm the student’s earlier performance on the qualifying test.

From the approximately 16,000 Semifinalists, about 15,000 are expected to advance to the Finalist level, and in February they will be notified of this designation.

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring of 2020. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit® $2500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state-representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 220 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specified criteria. In addition, about 180 colleges and universities are expected to finance some 4,100 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

Community Mourns the loss of Cokie Boggs Roberts '60
Cokie Roberts - Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart

It is with a heavy heart we say goodbye today to our dear friend and esteemed alumna, Cokie Boggs Roberts '60. Her gift of friendship and her love for Sacred Heart will live on at Stone Ridge and throughout the Sacred Heart family. May she rest in peace and may perpetual light shine upon her.

And may her Philippine spirit continue to inspire us all, "Strength of character is certainly needed to face life in the world and to stand by right principles, especially in the age in which we live." ~St. Rose Philippine Duchesne

Please the many reflections from our community about Cokie Roberts '60 who was "true blue and pure gold."

Cokie Roberts at Stone Ridge graduation


Cokie Roberts visits Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart


Georgetown Professor Visit AP Literature

Ms. Fitzpatrick's AP Literature students were recently honored to welcome a special guest, Georgetown University Department of English professor Michael Collins--grandfather to Sophia '17, Francesca '20 and Julianna '22. Professor Collins is an expert on Shakespeare; British theatre since 1950; Anglo-Welsh poetry, articles on Shakespeare (with a focus on performance and pedagogy), Anglo-Welsh poetry, and American literature. He earned his Ph.D. and M.A. from New York University and his B.A. from Fordham College.

Professor Collins led students through an acting exercise on King Lear. With six students alternating roles as actors and the rest of the class "directing," Professor Collins showed the students that "there is no Lear until you make one," meaning that we must always read as actors and directors, working to understand characters' motivations and imagining and reimagining how they react and interact. The reason Shakespeare endures, he reminded the class, is that his stories revolve around quintessentially human relationships and connections.

Professor Collins


A Teacher's Reflection on His 21-Day Journey on the Long Trail

Ken Woodard, Upper School history teacher and department chair, spent 21 days on a hiking trail this summer. Read all about his journey, as only Ken could tell it. And if you know Ken, you can hear his distinguished voice sharing this experience.

An outdoor adventure trip leader of many years experience at Keewaydin—an adventure camp in Vermont—most of my camping opportunities involved leading boys and other staff on week-long canoe and backpacking trips. Three years ago, I applied my accumulated experience to hiking the Long Trail with my college-age children, Luke and Lauren (Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart Class of 2016).

The Long Trail is America’s first extended walking path offering a 273 mile maintained and marked foot route from Massachusetts’s northwestern border, over the Green Mountains of Vermont, and ending at the Canadian border. Built between 1910 and 1930, the LT was the inspiration for the Appalachian trail and other similarly extensive pathways in America.

Luke, perhaps inspired by his and Lauren’s rapid acclimation to 22 days of life on Vermont’s trail, finished college in 2018 and immediately set out on a south-bound attempt at the Pacific Crest Trail, a route from Canada to Mexico through the highest mountains in the western coastal states. Five months and 2600 miles later, he arrived at the southern edge of California in freakishly good walking shape and uncharacteristically tan after months outside in mostly good weather.

I followed his progress and sent his resupply packages with some envy. Recalling the simplicity of life on the Long Trail (wake up, eat, walk, drink water, eat, walk some more, eat, sleep, repeat) and the psychologically cleansing effect of being outside 24 hours a day, every day while matching the rhythms of the sun, I found myself wishing I could go again.

My wife Terri, a hiker and backpacker of some experience herself, understood this and while she taught art at Horizons, a summer enrichment program for DC area youth, I returned to the Long Trail during July 2019. In contrast to my 2016 effort with two companions walking south to north, last summer I set out alone to head south from the Canadian border for a 21 day walk along the length of Vermont.

Solo backpacking evokes images of extended solitude, but on the well-travelled LT I met dozens of interesting people at campsites or on mountain peaks where walkers collect to enjoy views and eat snacks. Long Trail campsites, combinations of wooden shelters and tent sites, offer opportunities for quick temporary friendships wherein the usual East Coast rules of cautious familiarity give way to presumptions of common concerns about access to water, weather, pack weight, and the next simple meal. I did do all my walking alone and enjoyed the opportunity to think deeply or, more often, let my mind wander while progressing steadily, often two hours at an interval without stopping, to my next snack, water break, meal, or campsite after totaling 8 to 10 hours of walking during a typical day.

I cannot claim to have completely unplugged: I carried a phone that was almost always off to preserve its battery, but I turned it on to take pictures or, signal permitting, communicate quickly via text or Email to send pictures or arrange encounters with friends and family. I did cut way down on my use of electronics, a diminishment that seemed to go well with the profoundly healthy feeling of waking up at sunrise and going to bed at sunset.

Thru hiking, the term for uninterrupted navigation of an extended point A to point B trail, has a sub-culture of specialized vocabulary and a network of passionate enthusiasts who deeply understand the compulsion to take walking great distances to an unusual extreme. Participation in thru hiker culture is easy: plan a walk, research and buy adequate gear (light and functional), and set out. You’re in.

By the end of my second day, I met Granite Man (thru hikers take or are given trail names) at Tillotson Camp, woke up on day three, exchanged a customary fist bump as a parting gesture, and headed south with a mix of nervous excitement at the prospect of discomfort in the face of bugs, heat, exhaustion, hunger, physical adjustment to the rigors of the trail, and thirst, but confident that the rewards of deeply resonant natural forest beauty, expansive views earned one upward step at a time, connection to other people on similar journeys, incremental onset of walking fitness, and satisfaction of portable self-sufficiency in a well-assembled backpack would far outweigh (and be enhanced by) the challenges.

18 days later and many stories too long to summarize here, I crossed into Massachusetts and stepped into the family minivan with Lauren at the wheel to recount facing and even enjoying challenges while reasserting my thru hiker identity, an identity that Lauren will fully embrace when she sets out to hike the entire Appalachian Trail after she graduates from college this spring.

Northern Terminus 2019

Next to the obelisk that marks the northern terminus of the Long Trail. Mr. Woodard is standing on the border of Canada and the United States at Day 1.

Tent Living

Mr. Woodard's dwelling for most of his 21 days on the trail.

Main Junction

Big moment: this is where the Long Trail and the Appalachian Trail converge going south. Here Mr. Woodard about 85 miles from finishing at the southern end.

Teacher goes on Exchange In Taipei

Kimberly Falatko, Upper School Network Exchange Coordinator, Assistant Dean of Students, and English teacher, went on an exchange of her own in August to teach English at the Sacred Heart High School for Girls in Taipei, Taiwan. She worked with students in Grades 8-10 on their conversational English skills, experienced Yilan County with the school's Cultural Exchange Camp, and engaged with Sacred Heart faculty from Taiwan, the United States, and England. This formative experience has provided a new perspective on teaching and exchange and as Janet Erskine Stuart shared, "no one who has the good of children at heart, and the training of their characters, can leave the subject without some grave thoughts on the formation of their own character, which is the first order of importance, and in the order of time must go before, and accompany their work to the very end." This continued education of our faculty has fostered the relationship between the two schools and will allow for future opportunities for our students.

Sacred Heart in Taipei
Anya Pilgrim ‘23 makes the U.S. Gymnastics Junior National Team

Anya Pilgrim '23 joins the Class of 2023 this year on the heals of making the U.S. Gymnastics Junior National Team. Anya competed recently at the 2019 US Gymnastics Championships held in Kansas City, MO.

Anya has been a competitive gymnast for 10 years and trains at Hill’s Gymnastics in Gaithersburg, MD. She practices 32 hours/week. Anya comes to Stone Ridge from St. Elizabeth's Catholic School and tells us that she "chose Stone Ridge for high school due to its ability to nurture a student-athlete’s personal growth, and support the balance between challenging academics and a highly competitive sport."

Director of Athletics Andrew Maguire says, "We are so excited to have Anya join the Stone Ridge community. Her commitment to gymnastics and experience competing at such a high level is is admirable and will be a great example of dedication to all Gator student-athletes."

Congratulations, Anya!


Anya Pilgram


Taylor Kim '20 wins a Team Gold at Youth Archery Nationals

The 2019 Junior Olympic Archery Development (JOAD) Nationals were held in Raleigh, NC from July 11-14, 2019. As the largest and most premier youth archery event in the country, the event serves as the national championship, comprised of four intense days of competing. Archers from every state competed in front of supportive crowds of friends and family.

In her final year competing at the youth level, Taylor Kim '20 had a great individual showing early in the tournament, making it to the 1/16 Round. Competing later in the tournament as part of her team, Taylor contributed to her team's gold medal showing during the Team Round Eliminations - her best finish in 5 years of competing at the tournament! Taylor, your dedication and commitment are admirable - congratulations! #GatorStrong

A First for a Catholic School

Stone Ridge is the first Catholic school in Maryland to offer the opportunity to earn a Seal of Bilteracy. Ten members of the Class of 2019 earned the Seal of Biliteracy! This seal recognizes students who have achieved a high level of linguistic and cultural proficiency and demonstrate an international mindset and appreciation for a variety of perspectives. 

Piper Suk '20 to Perform at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall

As the winner of the 2019 National Symphony Orchestra Summer Music Institute (SMI) Concerto Competition, Piper Suk '20 will be playing the Schumann Cello Concerto in A minor, Op. 129, with the SMI Orchestra at the Kennedy Center Concert Hall.  

The concert will take place Sunday, July 28, 2019, at 6:00 pm. No tickets are required to attend the concert, which also will be live-streamed on the Kennedy Center website and archived at  

Piper began studying cello with Mark Evans of the NSO in 4th grade, and has been a National Symphony Orchestra Youth Fellow since 9th grade. She has performed at venues such as the Kennedy Center Millennium Stage, Strathmore Hall, and Carnegie Hall.  he has performed in masterclasses with Alban Gerhadt, David Teie, Johannes Moser, and Yo-Yo Ma, and has attended summer music festivals such as the Brevard Music Institute and Festival and Tanglewood Institute Cello Workshop.

The Kennedy Center/National Symphony Summer Music Institute is a 4-week tuition-free program for approximately 60 students (ages 15-20) from all over the United States and a number of other countries. The program consists of orchestral and chamber music coached by NSO musicians, conducting and master classes, private lessons with NSO musicians, two side-by-side rehearsals with the NSO; and enrichment sessions concentrating on music literature, health and wellness, entrepreneurship, and Citizen Artistry.

Congratulations, Piper!

Dr. Jeannie Downey-Vanover Presented For God and Youth Award

For her work as Director of Music Ministry for Youth at St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church, the Archdiocese of Washington Office of Youth Ministry presented the For God and Youth Award to Dr. Jeannie Downey-Vanover, Assistant Head of Upper School. The award recognizes adults in youth ministry who have faithfully lived out their call of service, exemplified Christian examples and dedicated service to the Church and is a positive role model to youth.

Of Dr. Vanover's service Sherry Moitoza, Director of Social Concerns at St. Rose of Lima says, "For many years Dr. Vanover has been a true example of paying attention to young people by inviting, instructing, and mentoring them to lead the parish in liturgical music. Children, teens, and parents learn by her example what it means to serve the Church. Jeanne models discipleship by selflessly sharing her love of the faith, her vocation to teach, and the gift of her time. Her gift of mentoring empowers them to sing more than notes on a page by starting first with prayer. They in turn inspire us to lift our hearts and our voices to God. Young people learn to take risks and lead, knowing that they are well prepared and supported by the entire community. The youth of Saint Rose of Lima move all of us, through song, to deepen our communion as the Body of Christ. We give thanks to God for Jeannie's gift of leadership that inspires all parishioners and visitors to recognize the Lord in our midst."

In addition to her role as Assistant Head of the Upper School, Dr. Vanover is the Chair of the World Language Department and teaches AP Spanish Literature.

Congratulations, Dr. Vanover.

A Gator On the Water

Madeline Fontana '21 has become Stone Ridge’s first ever competitive rower. Since her start of crew this spring, Madeline has represented Stone Ridge in several regattas as a member of the Montgomery Boat Club. Stone Ridge offers the opportunity for girls interested in rowing to practice and compete with the Montgomery Boat Club, with boats comprised of girls from several area schools. The regattas that Madeline competed in include the Baltimore City Championships, where her 4+ women’s boat finished first, resulting in Madeline’s first medal in her first season of crew for Stone Ridge. 

Madeline’s hard work also enabled her to qualify and be selected by the Coaches to compete with a limited squad, given the level of competition at the regional level at the Mid-Atlantics (a qualifier for Youth Nationals) in Princeton, New Jersey with her 4+ boat finishing an impressive fourth place racing at the highest level in our region the first day.

Crews are selected on the basis of rowers’ physical ability, technical ability and attitude, which includes effort and attendance.

Congratulations, Madeline! #GatorStrong


Students Participate in Social Entrepreneurship Summit

Upper School Science Teacher Kathleen Flood took Cecelia Gadina '19 and Madeline Fontana '21 to a Social Entrepreneurship Summit at Saint Stephens and Saint Agnes School in April. The event was an empowering one-day summit for high school students throughout the Washington D.C. metropolitan area who are interested in brainstorming, creating, or expanding a social impact business or nonprofit organization.

Students who attended the summit took part in an enriching experience that helped them: define their core values and passions for social change; develop personalized blueprints for sustainable leadership; receive direct mentoring from experienced social entrepreneurs, business coaches, and civic leaders; explore tangible strategies and build community networks for translating their social impact vision into sustainable practice.

Social Entreprenuership Summit

Sofia Rojas '19 Participates in Sustainability Panel Discussion

Kudos to Sofia Rojas '19 for her excellent and informative contribution to a panel discussion on sustainability, the environment and ways through which we can all contribute to making the world a better place. The discussion was preceded by a concert by Sandbox Percussion, a New York City based percussion quartet, and the New Orchestra of Washington featuring Viet Cuong's percussion concerto, "Re(new)al", which featured music celebrating nature and renewable energy.

Neil Weston, Cross Divisional Chorus Teacher at Stone Ridge, had this to say of Sofia's participation in the panel of local leaders, "Sofia inspired the audience at the  Re(new)al discussion. Her passion and eloquence on sustainability issues was apparent, and she represented Stone Ridge in a remarkable way. On a panel of heavy hitters, including Rabbi Warren Stone, a climate change leader for three decades, and Alan Yu, from the Center for American Progress, Sofia gave a unique perspective, which referenced her experience at Stone Ridge, and how Stone Ridge has helped her develop a passion for activism."

Special thanks to science teachers Joanna Caudle and Heidi Johnson for mentoring Sofia.

Annie Kelly '19 Earns Girl Scout Gold Award

Congratulations to Annie Kelly '19 on earning the prestigious Girl Scouts Gold Award. For her Gold Award project, Annie decided to serve the community of Darnestown, Maryland and those who are always looking beyond themselves to help others. 

Annie is a parishioner at Out Lady of the Visitation Parish. When she is on school breaks she tries to attend daily Mass at the small Thomas More Chapel, Parish Barn. Over the years during her visits to this chapel, she noticed the chapel was getting tired and needed an update. When Father Ray Fecteau mentioned renovating the chapel as a project, Annie knew it was the right thing to do.

The scope of the project included repairing drywall and patching up holes and cracks where necessary, completely repainting the room with new bright colors, and reupholstering the chairs. Annie and her team also replaced the ceiling tiles, polished the furniture, and cleaned the radiator heating. Annie invested far more time than the required 80 hours necessary. Of the project Annie said, "It has been my pleasure to serve the community by helping the church through my project. For those who attend daily Mass, their devotion was my motivation!" She hopes that everyone enjoys this renovated quiet place, tucked in a barn, amongst the cornfields of Darnestown to comfortably meditate in God's presence.

Annie would like to thank Debbie Waechter who was her Gold Award Project Advisor, Steve Waechter, Father Ray, Aileen, her parents and all her friends who were there to help.


Junior Chorus Performs with Trinity Chamber Orchestra

The Stone Ridge Junior Chorus represented Stone Ridge with a truly beautiful performance along side the Trinity Chamber Orchestra on Sunday, April 7.

They sang the premier performance of "Sancta Trinitas," composed for them by composer, Dr. Joseph Santo. Dr. Santo said the girls "sang like angels." After the concert, Dr. Santp also said "The girls did a marvelous job with the singing of the chant and verses--and all memorized!" 

Dr. Elaine Walter, Dean Emeritus of the  Catholic University School of Music wrote to Director Nancy Fazio, "I loved EVERY MINUTE of your concert. I'm so glad I came!"

Numerous Orchestra and audience members commended the Junior Chorus on the excellent tone, diction and feeling with which the girls sang, especially when singing the orchestrated version of "Over The Rainbow" in an arrangement that progressed into three higher keys where the chorus stunningly sang and sustained the high G, at the end of the song.   

Well done to our singers.

Winter Sport Gators Collect Post-Season Accolades

Congratulations are in order for numerous Gators who have been recently recognized for their achievements in winter sports.

Competing on the hardwood, Chetanna Nweke '20 and Kristin Lucas '21 were recognized as All-ISL team members by the head coaches of the ISL basketball teams. Nweke ranked second in the league in points per game, averaging 19.6, while Lucas was both an anchor on the defensive end and significant contributor on offense—with a team-leading 20 blocks on the season while averaging 11.4 points per game.

In the water, several Gators were acknowledged at the conclusion of the championship meets at the end of a historic season. Phoebe Bacon '20 and Genevieve Thibodeau '20 were each named to the All-ISL and All-Met teams for individual events, while Erika Chen '20 and Mackenzie Higgins '20 received honorable mention acknowledgement to the All-Met team for individual events. The 200 and 400 freestyle relay teams—comprised of Bacon, Chen, Higgins, and Tia Thomas '21—received All-ISL accolades, as well as All-Met recognition as the top 400 Freestyle Relay in the Washington Metropolitan Area. Lastly, Thibodeau and Bacon were named the Washington Metropolitan Private School League Diver and Swimmer of the Year, respectfully; and Bacon was also recognized as the Performer of the Meet at both the National Catholic High School Championships and the Metro Championships.

On the ice, both Katherine Khramtsov '22 and Charlotte Flannery '19 were named to All-Met teams, with Khramtsov garnering 1st Team accolades and Flannery receiving an honorable mention. Notably, the All-Met recognition for ice hockey is co-ed, recognizing the top players from all-boys and coed schools as well. Khramtsov and Flannery led all girls players in the DMV, averaging 5.0 and 2.0 goals per game, respectfully, and both significantly contributing to the Gators undefeated season run to the Mid-Atlantic Girls Hockey League (MAGHL) Championship crown. In the coming weeks, the All-MAGHL awards will also be announced.

These dedicated student-athletes will be be recognized in front of their peers later in the month, as well as at the end of year SR Celebration of Athletics banquet on May 21.

We are proud to call them Gators!

Ice Hockey


SR Student-Athletes Living Goal III in Running Equipment Drive

SR collects and donates more than $10,000 worth of used and new sports equipment to local DC organization.

Stone Ridge's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) recently completed its inaugural Sports Equipment Drive, collecting used and new sporting equipment to donate to Level the Playing Field (LPF). Level the Playing Field is a local non-profit organization that collects and donates used sports equipment to kids' programs in the the Washington, DC area to enable the opportunity for more children to participate in sports. In total, 458 donated items were accepted by LPF, with an estimated value of $10,663!

Lauren Cerretani '19 and Sophia Trone '20 were the leaders in coordinating the equipment drive with both the staff and administration at Stone Ridge and LPF. In commenting on the original purpose for SAAC's decision to run the equipment drive, Lauren stated, "Our goal was to partner with LPF to give kids in the DC area the best opportunity to participate in sports. Many of us at Stone Ridge have been fortunate to experience numerous growth opportunities through sport, and we were hopeful that by organizing the drive we could positively influence the lives of other kids." Looking forward to the future and realizing the potential for such drives at Stone Ridge, Sophia stated, "I think our first year of this drive was a tremendous success! The generosity of the student body was amazing, and the outcome is impressive in only our first year. Level the Playing Field is an amazing charity and these donations will truly help kids get off the sideline and play sports they love. I am excited to see what we can do in the future!"

Stone Ridge Athletics is proud of Lauren and Sophia and all of the other SAAC members and the Stone Ridge community that made the drive possible. Living Goal III! Go Gators!

LPF filling the van - volunteer

Making A Splash – With Barely A Splash!

Genevieve Thibodeau '20 Takes First in Diving at Metros
For the first time in Stone Ridge history, a Gator diver has won the diving competition at the Washington Metropolitan Interscholastic Swimming and Diving championships – the meet affectionately known as "Metros." Metros is the culminating swimming and diving championship meet for all public and private schools in the greater Washington, D.C. area, including schools from across D.C., Maryland, and Virginia. Metros represents the most competitive high school swimming meet of the season, and for Genevieve Thibodeau '20, the competition was not competition. Genevieve's cumulative 11-dive score bested more than 50 other divers at the meet!
The past four weeks have been busy for Genevieve, collecting a lot of hardware throughout a historic championship season for both herself and the swimming and diving program. At the National Catholic High School Championships in January, which the Gators won for the first time in program history, Genevieve placed second. Since then, motivated by the team victory, she has not looked back – winning both the Independent School League and Washington Metropolitan Private School League Championship meets preceding her victory at Metros. In doing so, Genevieve also became the first Stone Ridge diver to ever win three individual championships in one season.
Commenting on motivation to be the best she could be and already looking forward to next year's season, Genevieve stated, "The team dynamic makes going to meets lots of fun instead of feeling like an obligation. Everyone is so supportive and to have a team that is there pushing you to do your best makes all the difference. Personally, I am very excited to come back next year coming off so much of the team success and I know I'm not the only one. I think that having such a great season this year is really motivating because it shows us how much we can achieve together."
The Stone Ridge community is incredibly proud of Genevieve's accomplishments this season. Of being Genevieve's teammate, fellow diver Mary Fromm '20 stated, "Genevieve's humility with all of her success this season has been incredibly inspiring as she leads by example, laying a foundation for future Gators and a strong diving program for years to come."
Although she won't be competing for Stone Ridge until next winter, Genevieve is already busy training fo upcoming USA Diving competitions with regional, zone, and national competitions taking place between April-June. Stay tuned as she continues to compete across the country - we know that she will continue with great success!

Genevieve and Coach Travelpiece
Genevieve and diving coach Adam Travelpiece at Metros after Genevieve won!

SR Hockey Wins Championship

Freshman Katherine Khramtsov '22 scored seven goals to help lead Stone Ridge's hockey team to their first Mid-Atlantic Girls Hockey League championship. The Gators defeated Georgetown Visitation 9-5 on Friday, February 8, to cap an undefeated season. Coach Mary Carpenter's game plan of "hard work, taking it to the net, getting rebounds, and playing smart," paid off. The Gators had a great showing of fan support, packing the Gardens Ice House in Laure, MD. The SR ice hockey team only formed in 2013 and has been growing with the number of players and skill level every year. Way to go Gators! Read more from The Washington Post. #Gatorstrong

Katherine Khramtsov

SR Shines at MD Private School XC Championships

On November 12, 2018, the Stone Ridge cross country team finished their historic season with another strong performance at the Maryland Private School Championship at McDaniel College. The varsity squad finished in second place with a team score of 44 points,

XC Wins MoCo Private School Championships

The SR Varsity Cross Country team won their first Montgomery County Private School Championship on Wednesday, November 7 at Covenant Life School with an impressive team score of 21 points – the second best winning score in meet history!

Racing in muddy and slow conditions, the entire varsity squad earned All-County (top 15 honors), lead by Katherine Strong '22 with a 2nd place finish and personal best time of 20:36. Hannah Gutierrez '21 ran her fastest time of the season (23:34) to finish 10th overall and complete our scoring top five runners for the first time in her career. Emma Attar '20 ran a lifetime best of 24:54 to finish 21st overall to help lead a strong junior varsity pack.

Running in the same race as the varsity runners, the JV squad (runners #8 - #14) all finished in the top half of the field, ahead of many competitor school's varsity runners.

The team will look to complete the trifecta of championships at the Maryland Private School State Championship on Monday, November 12 at McDaniel College.

Way to go Gator runners! #GatorStrong

SR XC Gators Place Second at Landon Invitational

The Stone Ridge Varsity Cross-Country team placed second overall at the Landon Invitational with a strong team score of 45 points, just behind St. John's 62 points. The varsity squad was led by Katherine Strong's 3rd place overall finish (21:08). The Gator Varsity squad was 2nd out of 13 teams and JV team was 4th out of 8 teams. "I was incredibly proud of them," said Head Coach Peter Rook. "They ran super tough. Our top seven were all freshman and sophomores, and for a few of them this was their first ever invitational...I was almost in tears at the finish line I was so proud of them."

Stone Ridge had terrific fan support at the event thanks to the new Swamp Shines initiative by the SR Boosters who encourage Gator fans to attend meets/games/matches. Head of School Catherine Ronan Karrels '86 came out to cheer on the Gators. According to Andrew Maguire, Assistant Athletic Director for Athletic Training, "I don't think it would be a stretch to say we had the most support/spirit/best tent set up of the 10+ teams there!" Read more

Grit and Goals for Swimmer Phoebe Bacon '20

Phoebe Bacon '20 returned to Stone Ridge for the start of the school year coming directly off the trip of a lifetime. She competed for Team USA in Fiji at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships. Upon return, Phoebe sat down with the Athletic Department at Stone Ridge to describe her experiences, what the trip meant to her, and what she will be able to bring back to the Stone Ridge community from the experience.

In total, Phoebe came home from the championship meet with an individual gold medal, two relay gold medals, three meet records, and achieving several personal best times throughout the meet – all while serving as one of the Team USA captains for the meet. The Stone Ridge community could not be more proud of her.

SR Athletics: You have had an amazing summer in the pool - most recently representing, captaining, and medalling for Team USA at the Junior Pan Pacific Championships in Fiji last week. Can you briefly explain what the process was for obtaining a spot on the USA Team?

Phoebe: In short, I made the team by my finish at the USA Swimming National Championship in early August as that was the official selection meet for several USA Team rosters... but it was actually a pretty hard process! My summer was a culmination of a lot of hard work over the last few years and included a lot of meets and all of the training throughout the summer I had to do. Going into this summer, my goal was to hopefully make the Jr. Pan Pac team. Throughout the summer, I was preparing for USA Swimming Nationals – which included a lot of early mornings in the pool, then workouts during the day, and then pool practices also at night – not much free time! Heading into Nationals, I was really nervous because the progress I had made over the last two years set me up for my first real shot to be selected for a USA Championship Team.

I was nervous! The 100 backstroke was the event that I had the best chance of placing high enough to be selected to a USA Team. The event was on the 3rd or 4th day of competition at Nationals – which was later than usual. However, I had to swim a few other events first, which built my confidence headed into the day of the 100 backstroke. In the preliminary heats in the morning, I tried not to focus on making a USA team and simply focused on trying to finish in the top 8 swimmers in the morning so that I would be swimming in the championship final at night. Based on the seeding, I would have to go a best time. During the preliminary heat, I was swimming against a former Olympian and another girl that would go on to set the world-junior record later that night – and I won the heat – in a best time! This helped to calm my nerves, but I knew that I would have another swim that night, which would be the deciding factor in selection to a USA Team.

The heat of 8 swimmers that night was comprised of two former Olympians, and I was seeded 2nd from my time in the preliminary heats. At the end of the race, I finished 4th in a time that was just off my best time from that morning. The top two finishers in the race were selected for the Pan Pacific Championship team to represent the USA in Tokyo, Japan and I was selected for the Junior Pan Pacific Championship as a top finished under the age of 18. Despite just missing the top USA team that was selected, I WAS SO EXCITED TO MAKE THE JR. PAN PAC TEAM AND ACCOMPLISH MY GOAL!

SR Athletics: Can you tell us more about the team you were selected for? How many girls were selected for the team?

Phoebe: The Jr. Pan Pac team was a team of 20 girls and 20 boys, all under 18, and then a whole bunch of coaches and other staff members. Being one of the 20 girls that went, which is a not a big group, was very cool. Since our numbers were not as big as many college, club, or high school teams, we were able to bond and become really close.

SR Athletics: What was it like to travel, compete, and be part of a team with girls from across the country?

Phoebe: I knew a bulk of the people that were selected to the USA Team from seeing them at other club team meets over the past few years in the US. I had also met a few of them at swim camps that I had been selected for in the past. There were also a lot of new faces that I was excited to meet and spend time with. Being able to be there with all these people that I am friends with and representing Team USA and our home country was a really awesome experience and a lot of fun.

SR Athletics: What was the international aspect of the competition like?

Phoebe: It was a really fun experience! You could see that Canada was there, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and Fiji among a few others. The meet was open to all countries that border the Pacific Ocean. The venue had all of the flags of these countries flying, which was awesome to see. It was really fun to meet the Canadians and Australians. We hung out with them between sessions of the meet and at the meet. It was incredible to make these friendships with people all over the world that I don't think I will ever lose because of this shared experience. I am hoping we continue to see each other at meets in the future.

SR Athletics: What was most exciting part of the trip to Fiji, both in and out of the pool?

Phoebe: One of the best parts of the meet in competition was being selected to be on the mixed-medley relay, which was comprised of 2 boys and 2 girls, each doing 100 meters of one of the four different strokes. Mixed-medley relays are rarely an event a meets in the US and are mostly included as a fun and unique event in international competitions. Being able to swim with two of the fastest boys and another girl on the USA Team was such a unique experience I will never forget.

Out of swimming, we finally got to go to the beach on the last day! Being in Fiji - that is all I wanted to do! Before the trip I had looked up pictures and the beaches were so beautiful with white sand and crystal clear water. We went with the whole team and it was such a great way to end the trip.

SR Athletics: You have been fortunate to compete internationally on a few occasions. Are there any upcoming international meets that your Stone Ridge fans should mark on their calendars to follow and support you?

Phoebe: This past spring I went to Ireland to compete and I also got to go to Vancouver, Canada to compete as part of the USA Swimming National Junior Team, which I had been selected for last summer. From these experiences, I am hopeful that I will be selected for and have more opportunities to represent Team USA abroad in the future.

SR Athletics: What will you bring back to Stone Ridge from your experiences representing Team USA? Both to the school community and the swimming program.

Phoebe: I was elected as one of the team captains for the girls' team on this past trip to Fiji - it was a great honor. Being able to come back to Stone Ridge and show the underclassmen, or even the middle school and lower school girls that you can go somewhere and be a leader and act like a leader, without ever being on a trip or without ever doing something like that before or that you thought you could do. I was just myself!

This year I will be a junior on the Stone Ridge Swim team, I have learned how the season and everything goes, I am really excited to show the underclassmen how much fun it can be with all of the cheering and different meets we go to and how important it is to hang out and bond outside of just the swim practices and meets.

SR Athletics: Congratulations, Phoebe!

Zoe Barnette '19 Competes at Fencing Nationals Championships

Zoe Barnette '19 and her Senior Women's Foil Fencing Team won the gold medal at the 2018 National Championship on June 29, in St. Louis, MO. Zoe is the team captain of her team, the Dazzling Panda Stars

A foil is one of the three weapons used in the sport of fencing, all of which are metal. It is flexible, rectangular in cross section, and weighs under a pound. Points are only scored by contact with the tip. Way to go, Zoe! #GatorStrong

Zoe is the second from the right.

Zoe is on the left.

Katie Ledecky Named AP Female Athlete of the Year

The Associated Press named Stone Ridge alumna Katie Ledecky '15 its Female Athlete of the Year. Editors and news directors voted on the winner, giving Ledecky 351 points and second-place Serena Williams 343 points. She was the eighth female swimmer to earn the honor and the first since Amy Van Dyken in 1996. Katie is also the first Washington-area star ever to earn the women's award. Several of the AP's male athletes of the year have had Washington ties, including DC native Maury Wills (who won in 1962), Orioles star Cal Ripken (who won in 1995) and Baltimore's Michael Phelps (who won in 2008 and 2012).

The vote reflected Katie's dominance in the July 2017 world championships in Budapest, Hungary, where she earned five gold medals and one silver medal.

Katie attended Little Flower School and Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart. She is now a sophomore at Stanford University. Katie told the Catholic Standard that attending Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Washington helped make her the person she is today. "I received an excellent, faith-filled education at both schools. Having the opportunity to attend academically rigorous schools has facilitated my interest in the world and in serving others, and has enriched my life so that it is not solely focused on my swimming and athletics" she said.

Congratulations Katie!

Read more:

The Washington Post

The Catholic Standard

Catholic News Service


Katie Ledecky at Stone Ridge
Katie talks with Middle School students at Stone Ridge (August 2016)

SR Athletics Strengthening Sacred Heart Connections

Anyone who is part of the Stone Ridge community knows about the Sacred Heart Network – a vast group of Sacred Heart schools that spans the globe. As part of this Network, SR students go on exchange and/or attend leadership conferences at a "sister" school.

The Network connection includes athletics. Over the past couple of years, SR has competed in basketball, field hockey, and swimming with fellow Network schools Stuart Country Day School (SCD) from Princeton, NJ and Convent of the Sacred Heart/91st St. Convent (CSH) from New York, New York. Recently, SR played host to both schools. First up was CSH, who arrived for lunch and tours on Friday, November 17. The students were greeted at historic Hamilton House along with many coaches and swimming student-athletes. They enjoyed lunch in the large parlor and were led on tours by senior swim captains. After a brief practice on campus, they checked into their hotel and enjoyed an evening of sight seeing in Washington, DC. On Saturday, CSH came back to campus to compete in varsity basketball and swimming. (Last year, our SR varsity basketball and swim teams made a trip to New York City and made lasting memories connecting with their sister school. The SR girls toured the 9/11 Memorial museum, Times Square, and the CSH.)

Stuart Country Day (SCD) also arrived on Friday afternoon to compete in junior varsity and varsity basketball. The relationship with SCD has been growing over the past few years with competitions in field hockey and basketball. Both schools have made the trip, and the relationship continues to strengthen. While visiting SCD last year for a basketball tournament, the SR students were able to take in some laser tag, bowling, and team meals. The team also had the chance to watch a women's basketball practice at Princeton as well as tour their athletic facilities.

The Sacred Heart connections reach all areas of Stone Ridge. In October, the varsity cross country team competed in a race in New York and stayed in a hotel just blocks from 91st Convent. The Sacred Heart students always notice the familiar Five Goals banners, and pictures of St Philippine and/or Mater. It is very special to observe the girls excitement upon seeing familiar Sacred Heart traditions. SR Athletics plans to continue to provide Network opportunities for all sports. There's even talk of having a 3-4 team swim and basketball tournament next year as well as adding some spring competitions! #WeAreSacredHeart #GatorStrong

Photo includes Stone Ridge coaches and seniors and coaches from the Convent of the Sacred Heart