Grade 7 Field Trip to the National Museum of the American Indian
The National Museum of the American Indian offered a program called Telling the American Story. The American story has been profoundly shaped by American Indians, yet the stories told about Indians are often false and almost always incomplete. What do we gain by telling stories that may not be true? What do we lose? In this program, students examinee three key events in American history—the first Thanksgiving, the life of Pocahontas, and the Battle of Little Bighorn—to uncover the hidden stories behind them.
Grade 7 students engaged in an interactive discussion and presentation about uncovering the hidden stories of the American past and explored how Native Americans have shaped American history and culture. Teacher, Dr. Riley said "The virtual field trip was a great success and connected perfectly to the Grade 7 curriculum."
Great Need, Great Giving!
Stone Ridge families gave so generously for our Thanksgiving food drive, dropping off multiple items, bags, or even a trunkful of items on campus to send to our community partners. Donations benefited St. Mark’s Food Pantry, Linkages to Learning at Sargent Shriver Elementary School, Crossways Community, and Interfaith Works. Our student volunteers organized and transported items to their destinations.
By the numbers, our families:
Donated 270 bags/boxes worth of goods!
12 car loads of items!
In a time when there is great, great need, our Stone Ridge families GAVE in a BIG way! Goal III of Sacred Heart education, a social awareness that impels to action, was on full display to help those who are struggling during this time.
photos by Olivia Ernst '21
Stone Ridge Girls Participate in MOAS
Several of our Stone Ridge girls participated in the 39th Model Organization of American States (MOAS) simulation. The event was held virtually from November 4-6, 2020. The MOAS is a simulation exercise of the main political bodies of the Organization of American States: the Permanent Council and the General Assembly. Through their participation in the MOAS, students represent the policies and interests of the 34 active OAS Member States and gain valuable experience on the role of diplomacy, politics and leadership.
The Stone Ridge delegates conducted general research about their assigned country, learning about the political system, location, economy, main industries and the role of their country in their region/economic block. Resolutions were drafted by the students and presented during the Model. They were also prepared to debate their findings.
Te Stone Ridge delegates were:
Victoria Hafey '21: General Committee, Chief of Delegation
Sofia Kenary '22: General Committee, Alternate Delegate
Caroline Baltazar '23: Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs, Head Delegate
Iliana Bassin '23: Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs, Alternate Delegate
Alex Boyd '22: Committee on Hemispheric Security, Head Delegate
Jackie Klein '22: Committee on Hemispheric Security, Alternate Delegate
Camila Mansilla '22: General Committee, Chief of Delegation
Kylie Donohoe '22: General Committee, Alternate Delegate
Kennedy Carroll '22: Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs, Head Delegate
Gisele Sonnier '23: Committee on Juridical and Political Affairs, Alternate Delegate
Clara Caffrey '23: Committee on Hemispheric Security, Head Delegate
Natalie Yang '23: Committee on Hemispheric Security, Alternate Delegate
Peru (joint delegation with Prep)
Olivia Seitz '21: Committee on Hemispheric Security, Head Delegate
Ava Brooks '22: Committee on Hemispheric Security, Alternate Delegate
Costa Rica (joint delegation with Prep)
Sofia Morra '21: Committee on Hemispheric Security, Head Delegate
Jules Ciatto '22: Committee on Hemispheric Security, Alternate Delegate
Lourdes Russell '21 and Olivia Yang '21 participated in MOAS through as senior leaders and helped to facilitate the process for the participating delegates. Lourdes reflected "Organizing Model OAS this year was surely a challenge because of the new virtual format, yet it was still such a rewarding and exciting experience. Not only was I able to make connections with other students, but I also learned the in's and out's of administering a model like this and how I can pursue this field in the future."
As a delegate, Camila Mansilla '22 said "Even though the COVID-19 pandemic posed a crucial change in how the MOAS Conference would happen, the MOAS coordinators and faculty allowed all of the participants, including myself, to have an interesting and equally engaging experience during the 39th Annual MOAS Conference."
Sofía Morra '21 also shared "This year’s MOAS was a very enriching experience! I learned a lot about Costa Rica and helped draft a resolution regarding hemispheric security. I participated in very interesting debates about policy and fostered friendships with students from all over the hemisphere!"
Our Owls Make the News
Stone Ridge has 80 Owls throughout our classrooms to help connect the students who are in school to those who are home. The Meeting Owl Pro “Owl” technology is a 360 degree smart conferencing camera. The “Owl” camera swivels to focus on the person talking to provide a high resolution picture and premium sound.
Stone Ridge students now interact very naturally with their friends at home, and the students at home feel more connected.
There are few Stone Ridge students who have a published book before graduation! Congratulations to Preeti Kulkarni '23, who has written and published a book of poetry titled, Flower Storms on the Riverbank. Preeti Kulkarni has been writing from a very young age. She has used writing as a safe space to express her deepest feelings, then ultimately deciding to embark on publishing her debut book of poetry. Flower Storms on the Riverbank was inspired by Rupi Kaur and other young Asian authors.
Anne Taranto, PhD, Upper School English Teacher, said "Ms. Kulkarni's work pulses with lyricism and honesty, and she has the rare talent of being equally at ease writing prose or poetry. She takes an unflinching look at her world and renders judgment without being either sentimental or cynical. Rarely do we hear a voice so young and so wise."
We imagine there will be more books in the future for this bright author. Congratulations, Preeti!
Marielle Shortell '99 Featured on the Today Show
Marielle Shortell is the founder of Silver Lining Design Group and Hestia Harlow, both based in Bethesda, MD. Silver Lining Design Group is an international event design and production company. Hestia Harlow is Marielle's new venture, using the concept of an “event in a box” to entertain at home. Marielle and her company were featured on the Today Show on October 29.
The events industry has been one of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Micro-events are now a way to stay connected. Hestia Harlo has taken the planning out of party planning with its effortless rental service that delivers all the details directly to its customer's doors.
Hestia Harlow offers settings of four or more, complete with table runners, chargers, plates, flatware, glassware, linens, and candles. Customers can select from the wide range of tablescapes which run from neutral accents to perfectly mismatched plates and napkins; with customers able to add as many details as they wish, including custom routed place cards, designer florals, cocktail kits, and gifts their guests may keep.
On Saturday October 24, Julie was selected to be a presenter as part of a Spark and Tell session. She presented on "Brain Breaks: Bringing Focus Back to the Task at Hand." Along with two other presenters, the group was able to demonstrate how giving students small breaks in a lesson allows them to better absorb and process material that is being taught.
Corinne Fogg, Director of Curriculum and Professional Development, praised Anderson's work, saying: "We are lucky to have Ms. Anderson in our Stone Ridge Middle School. Her presentation represents tremendous preparation and work. Ms. Anderson embodies Goals II and V, modelling professional practice and the thoughtful sharing of ideas. We thank her for bringing the charism to life every day at Stone Ridge."
Julie looks forward to using the information she learned to improve her teaching techniques.
Caroline Huffstetler ’06 Brings nutty life to DMV
Congratulations to Caroline Huffstetler ’06 and her company nutty life! They just launched in 10 MOM's Organic Market locations in MD, DC, and VA. nutty life is a plant-based milk company in Woodstock, Vermont, specializing in organic oatmilk and organic cashewmilk, sweetened naturally with organic medjool dates and made with NO gums or additives.
Lourdes Russell '21 Founding Member of the National Black Student Alliance
Lourdes Russell '21 is the co-creator of the National Black Student Alliance (NBSA). NBSA serves to provide Black students and allies a community, brave space, and the opportunity to create change. NBSA is working towards a future of diversity, equity and inclusion in education.
Three students, Skye Jackson, Lourdes Russell '21, Amy John-Terry, helped spur the “Black At” Instagram movement at their high schools and then sought to create a national forum where Black students and allies could share stories, learn from national Black leaders, and create positive change for Black students on school campuses across the U.S.
Lourdes said, “I want to help bring light to the experiences of Black students at predominantly white institutions and to show the world that we are banding together to make change in our communities that is long overdue.”
Lourdes recently was on the Lunch Duty podcast with Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Michelle Black, about explaining her role as one of charter organizers.
Lourdes is a Stone Ridge girl embracing Goal V, a personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom, and Goal III, a social awareness which impels to action.
Alice Felker '16 Panelist at GEBG Conference
Alice Felker '16 participated in a Young Alumni Panel Discussion at the Global Educators Conference sponsored by Global Education Benchmark Group (GEBG), of which Stone Ridge is a member school, on October 8, 2020. The topic was Global Citizens in Action.
GEBG prepares students academically and experientially for a culturally rich and diverse world. As GEBG works to better understand and assess the global competencies our educational programming hopes to develop in our students, they look to young alumni to share how they are using these competencies in their lives. Alice shared her experience at Stone Ridge and how it has impacted her decisions and development after graduation. The panel discussed how they are taking action on issues of global significance in today’s complex world and how they are navigating the complex ethical challenges of our times.
Alice said, "I was so proud to share Stone Ridge's commitment to global education as a part of this panel. Stone Ridge's Social Action Program expanded my worldview and allowed me to discover my passion for disability rights, both in the U.S. and abroad! It was an honor to learn from the other panelists about their experiences and to share my appreciation for Stone Ridge's commitment to social justice and global citizenship."
Alice graduated from the University of Notre Dame in May 2020 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Applied & Computational Math and Statistics.
Photo: Alice is in the top row in the middle.
School is in!
It's been seven months since we closed our doors for in-person instruction and sent our beloved students home with their backpacks and textbooks to begin our new world together. The greatest sign of hope in these days of challenge has been the unwavering strength of our mission and the bedrock foundation of our Sacred Heart community. As we welcome students back to this beautiful campus, we stand on a piece of land that has welcomed generations of students through many periods of national challenge and change. Stone Ridge and the Society of the Sacred Heart have supported countless young people over the span of more than 200 years.
Stone Ridge is an exceptional place because we have the magic combination of a remarkable mission and a remarkable community. Our students can't see our smiles under our masks or feel the hug we might typically offer, but they will see the smiles in our eyes, the joy in our voices, and the happiness we will express in welcoming them home again.
- Catherine Ronan Karrels '86, Head of School
Engineering Class Visits Construction Site on Campus
Mrs. Joanna Caudle took her Explorations of Engineering class on a field trip right on campus.
Stone Ridge is well into transforming our heart of campus. We have built a new Loop Road, closed a road and made a Campus Quad, and now are watching the Student Life Center materialize.
Gilbane Building Company are our Project General Contractors. Project Manager, Rose Spangler
And General Superintendent, Greg Gurewitz, along with a few other Gilbane employees meet with the SR students to discuss their backgrounds and explain the progress on the Student Life Center. The students took a hard hat tour of the building. They especially appreciated all of the planning and preparation that goes into a major construction project.
One take-away a student responded was that "there needs to be extensive planning before a large scale project, and even with proper plans things will need to be changed throughout the building process."
Stone Ridge recognized this anniversary with an Upper School Assembly as part of our ongoing work in collaboration with the Conference of Sacred Heart Education "to examine the history of enslaved persons and Religious of the Sacred Heart, to learn the truth of this past, and to respond to the call of the Goals and Criteria to be persons and communities working to help transform on-going racist attitudes and behaviors within ourselves and within our communities."
Learn more about the Religious of the Sacred Heart's Committee on Slavery, Accountability, and Reconciliation.
Brenda Pellicane '98, MD, FAAD Opens New Dermatology Practice
Congratulations to Brenda Bartlett Pellicane ’98 who opened a Dermatology practice in North Bethesda. Brenda attended Stone Ridge from junior kindergarten through high school. She received a full scholarship to The University of Maryland. Brenda then went on to receive her Doctor of Medicine from the University of Maryland School of Medicine and completed her Dermatology residency at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan where she served as chief resident and received multiple awards for academic excellence.
In early December 2019, Brenda Pellicane ’98, Beth Emerson ’92, and Deirdre White ’84 participated in an Alumnae Career Panel with the Fourth Academic students. During the hour-long discussion, the alumnae talked about how their experiences at Stone Ridge influenced their college choices and eventually, their career paths. Students asked thoughtful questions about the SR Job Shadow Program, other internships and how best to navigate the working world as a young professional.
We are thankful for our alumnae staying connected to Stone Ridge.
Brenda Bartlett Pellicane ’98, Beth Emerson ’92 and Deidre White ’84
SR Performing Arts Department Chair appointed President of the American String Teachers Association MD/DC chapter
Elizabeth Cunha, All-School Performing Arts Department Chair, Strings/Orchestra, Middle and Upper School, is the newly appointed President of the American String Teachers Association (ASTA) MD/DC chapter. The American String Teachers Association (ASTA) is a national organization with over 10,000 members. There are 48 state chapters, and affiliates in many other countries around the globe. ASTA serves as a united voice, bringing together and supporting string instruments teachers.
The Maryland/Washington, DC chapter members are teachers and performers of string instruments, including violin, viola, cello, bass, harp, and guitar. The members are studio teachers, private and public school teachers, university professors, performers, composers, arrangers and conductors. The members include professionals, retirees, amateurs, students, and string enthusiasts. The corporate members include libraries, luthiers and other businesses that serve the string profession.
As President, Ms. Cunha will strive to offer the American String Teachers Association MD/DC chapter outstanding opportunities, such as workshops, webinars, masterclasses, and many other special events promoting string teaching excellence.
History Teacher elected to the Governing Council of the American Historical Association
Stone Ridge History teacher, Dr. Katharina Matro was elected to a three-year term on the Governing Council of the American Historical Association. She will be the Councilor working for the Teaching Division of the Association. It's very rare that a teacher from a small independent school would be elected to that position. Dr. Matro's term starts in January 2021.
The American Historical Association (AHA) is the largest organization of professional historians in the world (comprising well over 12,000 members) and was founded in 1884 (incorporated by Congress in 1889) to promote the scholarly study of history. Today, the Association promotes the protection of academic freedom, the development of professional standards, scholarship and innovative teaching and it makes sure that historians are heard as a critical voice commenting on the challenges of the present.
Dr. Matro said "In my work for the Teaching Division I plan to work towards making scholarly work by academic historians more accessible for teachers working in K-12 classrooms, especially the work of those scholars whose research sheds lights on the issues that today's students care about. This is such an important time for history teachers, and I am so excited about being able to play a larger role in getting "good history" lessons in front of all students."
Summer Virtual Exchange Program
Upper School students Sofía Morra '21, Victoria Hafey '21, Lourdes Russell '21 and Camila Mansilla '22 and educators Ms. Falatko and Dr. Vanover participated in the Sustainable Development Virtual Exchange, implemented by the Global Education Benchmark Group and funded by the Stevens Initiative Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic. Two cohorts of students and educators from the US and Morocco met over the course of two weeks in July and August to investigate and discuss three of the UN Sustainable Development Goals: Health, Education and Climate Change. Through both synchronous and asynchronous sessions, students explored the ways in which their perspective and experiences shape their understanding of the world and they developed strategies with which their communities could collaborate and act to effect change and improve the world.
Lourdes said "The GEBG Virtual Exchange gave me fantastic insight into the lives and experiences of students from across the world that I couldn't have possibly gotten in a traditional classroom setting, all while teaching me how to advocate for a more sustainable society." Lourdes and her team's final project focused on Education, Check out their website.
Camilla reflected "I was able to learn and discuss with students about the nuances of healthcare systems all over the U.S. and Morocco through the GEBG Virtual Exchange program, and listen to presentations about education and climate action, led by students involved in the program, which made for an engaging experience."
Vicky said "My GEBG experience allowed me to interact with a unique group of kids and challenge myself to think of resolutions to provide quality education to those who need our attention most."
Sofia shared "My favorite part of this virtual exchange was working with my peers from all over the US and Morocco to develop a website with resources for people to get involved in helping to achieve the United Nations SDG 4: quality education."
Dr. Vanover shared "As an educator participant, I observed that the intercultural conversations were tremendously rich- respectful, funny and truly seeking understanding of the other's viewpoint and lived experience. And young people definitely want to change the world!"
The Stevens Initiative is an international effort to build global competence and career readiness skills for young people in the United States and the Middle East and North Africa by growing and enhancing the field of virtual exchange.
The Global Education Benchmark Group (GEBG) is a leading organization of K-12 schools that researches and establishes best practices in the field of global education and prepares students to thrive in increasingly interconnected world systems.
Gators Volunteer and Bring Joy & Encouragement to a Child with Cancer
Madeline Fontana '21 and Isabelle Fontana '24 recently had the pleasure of delivering a Pot of Gold to 3 year old Zhyla, a DC hero battling eye cancer.
This Pot of Gold delivery with special gifts brought a day filled with surprises and joy to Zhyla who wished for a driveable car and Frozen dress-up items and blanket with a celebration amongst her family and cousins.
With Fox 5 DC coverage the delivery brought awareness of the need for support, volunteers and donations to enable reaching every child fighting cancer through the Pot of Gold program in the National Capital Region.
Madeline and Isabelle have been volunteers with the Gold Rush Cure Foundation for the past year. As Stone Ridge students they are advocates for bringing joy and encouragement, increased treatment research and better cure rates for children fighting cancer.
Gold Rush Cure Foundation is proudly 100% volunteer driven and the mission is to spread joy to children battling cancer and provide support to their families through the Pot of Gold gift giving program and advocate for better awareness and treatment for childhood cancer on the legislative level. Together through community support the Gold Rush Cure Foundation is working to reach every child fighting cancer.
Teacher Emily Stewart and Reimagining Possibilities for Blended Hybrids and Distance Learning Models
Stone Ridge Kindergarten Teacher, Emily Stewart was recently on a panel discussing how to Reimagining Possibilities for Blended Hybrids and Distance Learning Models. The panel shared their expertise answering the following questions:
What will learning opportunities for our children look like in the fall?
If distance learning is the choice, how do we partner with communities to ensure there is internet access for all and that the opportunities provided involve children in inquiry and active learning to support the mathematical practices?
If blended learning onsite is the option, how do we move beyond the constraints of social distancing with children 6 feet apart in rows, to reimagine classroom structures and learning formats without walls, but with open access and equity?
The panelists had a spirited conversation as they creatively brainstorm new structures and formats that may break barriers and facilitate the radical transformations teachers need to make.
Cathy Fosnot, Moderator, CEO New Perspectives on Learning
Robert Berry, University of Virginia, Past President of NCTM
Mike Flynn, Mt Holyoke College
Dina Williams, retired teacher/Coordinator in LAUSD, CMC Re-Imagining Math Instruction Committee
Jo Boaler, Stanford University
Walter Wakeman, Program Director of Elementary Mathematics, Fairfield Public Schools, CT
Christina Moore, Assistant Principal, LAUSD, Equity, Access, and Empowerment Chairperson CMCS Emily Stewart, kindergarten teacher Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart, Associate at New Perspectives on Learning
David Woods, Senior Director of Curriculum and Reporting, DreamBox Learning
Paige Kenny '22 Participates in Juvenile Justice Service Project
Paige Kenny '22 participated in a week-long service project on the Juvenile Justice System. The speakers presenting focused on Restorative Justice, which focused on human dignity and welcoming people back into society. Over the week, the group met Tamela Meehan from the Juvenile Court/Probation Department, Betsy Clarke from the Juvenile Justice Initiative, Ethan Viets-VanLear and Emily Cortina from Kolbe House, Hector Avitia from the Precious Blood Ministry of Reconciliation, and Carmen Casas from Juvenile Probation/Juvenile Community Court. Paige was also able to interact with other participants from all over the country.
Paige said, "The Juvenile Justice service project truly solidified my interest in criminal justice reform. I'd say my biggest takeaway has to do with Restorative Justice. In the criminal justice system, it's so important to see the person first, rather than allowing their situation to dehumanize them. Through Restorative Justice, young people are lifted up and supported by their community. They recognize their mistakes and apologize to those whom they've hurt. They are given education opportunities, job support, and mentors to help them get back on their feet. This is how we create justice. I plan to integrate what I've learned from this service project into my leadership work at Stone Ridge by continuing my research around juvenile justice."
Page completed the week with a project. She worked with two other Sacred Heart students. Their project, Roots of Systemic Racism, was designed to read like a magazine spread or newspaper, and the writings focused on Systemic Racism.
This project was sponsored by Network of Sacred heart Schools, and hosted by the Sacred Heart Schools Chicago.
What Is Dalcroze Education?
Lower School Music Teacher, Emily Leaf, is completing 60 hours of professional development training in Dalcroze education this summer. This method of music education focuses on knowing music through the body. It is based on the philosophies of the Swiss pianist, composer, and educator Émile Jaques-Dalcroze. The Dalcroze approach explores musical concepts through 3 interactive methods:
Eurhythmics classes use rhythmic movement and active listening to nurture the imagination and inspire creativity
Solfège (Dalcroze's unique approach to music theory) trains the eyes and ears to respond to musical notation
Improvisation engages the spirit of play to facilitate joyful music-making according to the student's own ideas: in movement, with the voice, or with an instrument
In a typical Dalcroze class, the teacher combines the elements above using rhythm games, songs, and movement as the key teaching strategies so that the joy of music is experienced and understood. Emily looks forward to incorporating these ideas into her teaching in the year ahead, whether students are actively moving at home, outside, or in the classroom! Learn more.
Lower School Music Specialist attends Limon Dance Class
In early July, Lucia da Costa Lima, Lower School Music Specialist, attended a virtual course with the Limon Dance School in New York, finding it a very rewarding experience both as a teacher and as a dancer. This teacher track intensive course provided Lucia with 75 minutes of dance technique and 105 minutes of lecture and practicum per day in the Limon movement principles. Attendees included other teachers from the United States, Spain, Paraguay, Brazil, Canada, and the UK.
Lucia shared, “We learned a great deal from the instructors and also from each other. Even though this workshop was not geared specifically to children, many of the teachers there taught children of different ages, and the discussions naturally leaned towards questions of how to present the movement principles to young students. Personally, I found the concept of weight that predominates in the Limon technique very suited to a younger audience especially because it inspires the students to experiment with gravity through the lifting and lowering of oneself and of objects away from and towards the ground. The technique also promotes body awareness as we use isolations of different body parts and discover and experience the different parts of the spine. Breathing is also a primary aspect of this work. It invites the student to discover how the body reacts to the ‘inhale’ and the ‘exhale’ and how we can make our breath longer or shorter.”
Lucia is eager to apply the Limon principles to her teaching of movement and dance in the Lower School. She continued by sharing that, “using props, such as feathers, can help children visualize their breath. One of the most interesting parts of the course was the assignment of creating a warm-up combination. Each teacher presented their warm-up to the class, and the other participants could comment and make suggestions.” In this process, Lucia was able to test different approaches of using Zoom to communicate with students. “We realized the importance of repetition and clarity when demonstrating a movement idea as well as utilizing engaging language to inspire students to try out new and exciting movement challenges. The use of imagery / metaphor as a teaching tool when teaching virtually was an important discovery for me. Considering we have less visual clarity as we teach from a screen, using dynamic and colorful language seems an appropriate and effective teaching tool. I also realized how important it is to make full use of the different aspects of the Orff technique, allowing speech, in the form of rhymes and chants to generate movement sequences,” Lucia shared. Undoubtedly, both the techniques of movement and virtual learning will support her teaching this fall.
Lucia concluded by sharing, “In these unusual times, in which we are all isolated to a larger or lesser degree, it was wonderful to be in the same space, even if virtually with these 30 teachers. We learned and shared teaching strategies; but, most importantly, I left with a sense of belief in the future, and that even if teaching needs to be on a screen for now, we will keep the flame of art alive for our students and for ourselves. I am so grateful for this opportunity that the Stone Ridge Professional Development Program afforded me this summer.”
Photo: Kristen Foote, one of the instructors from Teacher Track 2
Counseling Team and Summer Professional Development
During the week of June 29, Denise Key, Director of Counseling and Student Support, Nikola Edgar, Upper School Psychologist, and Chantell Prestcott, Lower School Counselor and Student Support Advisor, engaged in the four-day "ASCA@Home" conference, the annual conference sponsored by the American School Counselor Association. Originally scheduled to take place in Seattle, this year the conference was virtual. Our Stone Ridge team attended remotely and will have access to recorded sessions that will be available through October. Denise Key shared, “My condo in DC pales in comparison to the dynamic and beautiful city of Seattle and yet I'd like to suggest that the conference was better in many ways because it was virtual.”
Johnetta Cole, accomplished educator, author, social justice advocate, and current National Chair and Seventh President of the National Council of Negro Women opened the conference with an amazing keynote titled "Why Diversity, Equity, Accessibilty and Inclusion are More Important Now than Ever." Cole began with a note of heartfelt gratitude and ended with a passionate plea and a call to action stating that "There's no more credit for predicting the rain. It is time to build the Arc."
Inspired by her words, Denise Key devoured four sessions a day on topics such as racism, bias and equity, COVID-19 and school re-entry, social and emotional health, trauma, and more. John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist and professor of bioengineering at the University of Washington School of Medicine, ended the conference with his keynote entitled "Safety and the Brain," where he shared how brain scientists look at stress and empathy and how doing the right kind of mindfulness improves empathy and promotes safety. As we plan for welcoming back our students to campus, the Stone Ridge counseling team will be revisiting all that was learned at the conference.
Denise Key shared, “I'm grateful that the Stone Ridge Professional Development Program supported our attendance at this event so that we can bring the ideas and knowledge gained to our community as we move forward during these turbulent times. We now have the opportunity to put into practice the Goals of Sacred Heart education in new and meaningful ways, and I am excited to be a part of this journey.”
Administrative Assistant to the College Office Receives Master's Degree
Carly Authement, Administrative Assistant to the College Office, recently graduated with a Master's Degree in Education and Human Development with a concentration in School Counseling from the George Washington University. While obtaining her degree, Carly had the good fortune of working with both Nikola Edgar in the Upper School. Chantell Prestcott in the Lower School for her practicum and in two local MCPS schools for her internship. The counseling program explored developmentally appropriate approaches that provide socio-emotional, academic, and behavioral counseling to students. Carly also had the opportunity to counsel clients in the GW Community Counseling Center. Her research covered a variety of topics from feminist theory, multi-cultural identity formation, play therapy, and cognitive behavioral and solution-focused interventions.
Carly said "my experiences at Stone Ridge led me to pursue this degree in counseling. I enjoyed so much of my work as a XC/Track & Field coach and assistant to the College Office, I wanted to gain an education that could compliment those titles and support our students' social and emotional health. In my time at GW, I learned a lot about goal setting, prioritizing self-care, normalizing asking for help, and providing scaffolded support for students attempting new projects and/or roles in the school community. I definitely see myself bringing my new skillset to our community and look forward to partnering with the counseling department to develop exciting, researched-based programming at SR."
Eleanor Alvarez '72, McKnight's Women of Distinction
Congratulations to Eleanor Alvarez, BA, MAT, MAgS '72 who has been selected as a 2020 Women of Distinction Honoree by McKnight's Long-Term Care News and McKnight's Senior Living. Eleanor is being recognized as a women leader in the seniors housing and care fields who inspires others and has a powerful effects on the lives of the individuals they serve.
Eleanor is the founder and president of The Ganzhorn Suites — a specialized memory care assisted living community — and LeaderStat, a firm specializing in supporting post-acute and senior living facilities with interim and executive leadership solutions designed to stabilize buildings and provide quality care.
The launch of The Ganzhorn Suites is Alvarez’s most impactful accomplishment. Named for her grandmother, The Ganzhorn Suites promotes a resident-centered, evidence-based approach to caring for individuals with dementia. The first center opened in 2016 in Powell, OH — in suburban Columbus — and a second center is under development in Avon, OH — in suburban Cleveland. The Ganzhorn Suites sets a new standard for memory care. Their specialized evidence-based memory care programming is combined with luxurious, purpose-built residential living and truly compassionate, personalized and respectful care.
Under Eleanor’s guidance, LeaderStat has grown from a small start-up into one of the top healthcare recruiting and consulting firms in the country. LeaderStat’s placement division helps providers find talented leaders for critical positions ranging from C-Suite execs to nurse managers. The firm fills both full-time and interim vacancies with top level leaders who drive improved outcomes and results, improving life for residents across the industry.
Eleanor has more than 30 years of management experience in the post-acute and senior living fields as a provider and a consultant.
84 Pints of Blood
Stone Ridge and Suburban Hospital hosted a blood drive on June 18 and June 19 in the Stone Ridge gym. The blood drive filled all slots and donors arrived to give a total of 84 pints of blood. These donations have the potential to help up to 250 patients in need.
The American Red Cross said "On behalf of the American Red Cross, we would like to thank you for hosting the two day blood drive. We are really grateful for your help and support during the critical summer months. We really appreciated the donor and volunteers for their time and help."
Every two seconds someone in the U.S. needs blood. It is essential for surgeries, cancer treatment, chronic illnesses, and traumatic injuries. Whether a patient receives whole blood, red cells, platelets or plasma, this lifesaving care starts with one person making a generous donation. The Red Cross provides about 40% of our nation’s blood and blood components, all from generous volunteer donors. But supply can’t always meet demand because only about 3% of age-eligible people donate blood yearly. Each new donor helps us meet patient needs.
If you missed the Blood Drive at Stone Ridge, the Red Cross would be happy to see you at other locations.
Gators take on National Speech and Debate National Tournament.
Madeline Fontana '21 has been a dedicated member of the Stone Ridge Speech and Debate team since freshman year. With her increased dedication to the Speech team this year, Madeline received 4th at the Chesapeake County tournament, qualifying her for the 2020 National Speech and Debate National Tournament in U.S. Extemporaneous Speaking. This is an incredible accomplishment. Madeline is competing at the National tournament as a representative of Stone Ridge this week! We wish Madeline luck in embarking in this academic experience. #GatorsSpeechandDebate
Passing of Carrol McKenzie SAGE Dining
The Stone Ridge community is terribly heartbroken to share the news that Carrol McKenzie passed away on June 2 from complications of COVID-19.
Carrol was a member of our SAGE Dining Services staff for 19 years and was a treasured member of our Stone Ridge community. The greater Stone Ridge community has been praying for Carrol over the past two months as she has struggled with this illness. We know that the ongoing prayers of our community have given Carrol and her family great strength. Yet God has called her home.
There has been a Go Fund Me page set up by Carrol's friends and colleagues. Donations can be made to assist her family with the many financial burdens associated with her healthcare.
Stone Ridge alumna Elizabeth Anderson ‘83 shared "I worked with Carrol for many years at Stone Ridge Summer Camp and she was always full of love and life. Her patience with the kids was legendary and she always had a smile watching the crazy camp shenanigans! Nothing ever seemed to ruffle her feathers and she had an answer for whatever new challenge we might face - from lack of electricity to a busted water pipe, to the sudden need for thirty new lunches or snacks. Her serenity and her smile were always at the ready. My prayers are with you all and I know that she radiates her love to you from above. Peace be with you all."
Current student, Charlotte Cox ‘21 said, "I am so sorry for your loss and I cannot begin to imagine what your family is going through right now. Carrol was such a warm and comforting presence for me and the Stone Ridge community, and I hope that we can be that for you now. Our prayers are with you."
Upper School Science teacher Joanna Caudle reflected, "During this pandemic, I have missed seeing Carrol's warm smile when collecting my lunch from Good Hall in the Upper School. We would often have a quick chat or share a laugh as I waited in the lunch line. Carrol's warmth touched so many lives at Stone Ridge. It is said that a good life leaves behind seeds that keep on growing. Carrol's caring heart will live on in her Stone Ridge family for many years to come."
May perpetual light shine upon our friend and colleague, Carrol. May she rest in peace.
Sisterhood and support helped Stone Ridge girl during high school years
The Catholic Standard profiled one of our many talented seniors, Meaghan Kilner '20. “One of the things that I love so much about Stone Ridge is the sisterhood that we build,” she said, noting the various Sacred Heart school traditions, and the strong sense of community she found there. Read more from the article.
Laudato Si’ Anniversary
Middle School students at Stone Ridge are no strangers to Laudato Si, and in fact, have something to celebrate at this Fifth Anniversary of Pope Francis’ encyclical urging us all to “Care for Our Common Home.” The Grade 6 religion curriculum is devoted to the study of God’s saving love as it is revealed in Sacred Scripture, particularly the Old Testament. Early in the academic year, students delve into the Book of Genesis and are introduced to the Creation stories. After a bit of exegesis, they arrive at the conclusion that we humans have a moral responsibility to be stewards of God’s creation. As curious and motivated students, this leads them to ask, “What can we do?” Laudato Si’ offers many suggestions for young people to get involved in protecting the Earth. An exploration of the encyclical reveals five simple directives for getting started. They are, “live in harmony, listen to one another, care for nature, get involved in society and politics, and listen to the cry of the Earth and the cry of the poor.”
In a similar way, the Goals of Sacred Heart education offer timeless principles and challenge our students to make the world a better place. In particular, the criteria for Goal III, A Social Awareness which Impels to Action, align with the directives in Laudato Si”.
With these understandings, the Grade 6 students have, for the past three years, worked in small groups to embark on Laudato Si’ projects. The objective of their work was to design and implement an action plan that links Laudato Si’ and Goal III at Stone Ridge. In response to Pope Francis’ declaration, “young people demand change,” our students have risen to the challenge. Some of the campaigns our Grade 6 students have initiated over the past three years include increasing awareness to reduce, reuse and recycle water, electrical and paper resources, increasing awareness of the plastic crisis in our oceans, eliminating plastic straws from the Middle School, eliminating single use plastic bottles from the Middle School, petitioning Maryland Representatives to eliminate commercial plastic bags in Montgomery County, raising money at a bake sale for donation to the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, sponsoring a gently-used winter clothing drive for donation to A Wider Circle, collecting toys for donation to A Wider Circle, volunteering time at A Wider Circle, sponsoring a gently-used school supply drive for donation to students in Costa Rica, increasing awareness of renewable energy alternatives, decreasing food waste at lunch, and bringing attention to the effects of cyber bullying.
Congratulations to our young students who have made an effort to build a better future, to take seriously the environmental crisis and suffering of the poor, and to live wisely, think deeply and love generously. Pope Francis would be pleased. Stone Ridge celebrates you!
Article by Lauren Winkler, Middle School Religion Teacher
Student helping at A Wider Circle
Alumnae Virtually Visit Upper School Class
Dr. Matro’s Economics classes invited 10 Stone Ridge alumnae who are in college to speak to current students about their experiences in economics and business classes in college. The alumnae shared that the knowledge they are receiving from the Stone Ridge economics class applies to so much in daily life and is a valuable life skill. If any SR student plans to major in business, they will absolutely be prepared due to their SR education.
Thank you to our alumnae who virtual connected with our students:
Carlota Andres ’17
Ines Andres ’19
Cece Gadina ’19
Genevieve Klein ’18
Annie O'Connor ’16
Ceci Connolly ’17
Jillian Perry ’19
Cameron Rickenbach ’19
Sophia Spina ’16
Cynthia Yuwono ’19
An Adoption, a Pandemic and an Evacuation
Middle School English teacher, Meg Mosier and her husband Seth were recently featured in The New York Times about their adoption during a pandemic. Read the full story.
Founders of Smarthistory Visit Art History Class
On Friday, May 8, the Stone Ridge AP Art History class was joined by Dr. Beth Harris and Dr. Steven Zucker, the founders of Smarthistory.org for a Q & A via Google Meet. The students were so incredibly excited to welcome Dr. Harris and Dr. Zucker to their class! Teacher, Mrs. Fitzpatrick, reached out to Dr. Harris and Dr. Zucker to see if they would be willing to come and talk with her class before the AP exam, particularly because the students love the Smarthistory resources so much and develop a great affection for "Beth and Steven" over the course of the year as they listen to/watch their short, engaging instructional videos. It was a great honor to have them visit and give us an hour of their time.
Drs. Harris and Zucker are big names in the world of art history education. Learn more from this recent Washington Post article. Smarthistory is the official provider of art history content to Khan Academy and is the most-visited art history resource in the world. Many art history teachers at the college and high school level have used their resources for years, and during the pandemic their free online essays and videos have been absolutely invaluable to teachers continuing to deliver content. I am attaching a couple of screenshots from class.
Taking care of our Earth - SR in the News
The National Catholic Report highlights five schools that teach their students about climate change. They featured Stone Ridge and its 2019 climate change symposium. The daylong event was the culmination of the school's "climate change interdisciplinary project," created by science teachers Joanna Caudle and Heidi Johnson. The project had teachers from all disciplines find ways to incorporate climate change into what their students were learning in classes. The goal was to help students understand the interconnectedness of the issue.
To honor Earth Day, the Catholic Standard wrote an article about how Stone Ridge continues its efforts to encourage the unity of the school’s Catholic identity and stewardship for creation. At Stone Ridge, the Goals of Sacred Heart education call on us to be increasingly aware, increasingly knowledgeable of social issues, so that we might be moved to act,” said Margaret Russell, Stone Ridge’s Lower and Middle School campus minister.
Happy Blue Hyacinth Day
Each year on May 6, the Sacred Heart community celebrates Blue Hyacinth Day. It was on this day in 1882 that Janet Erskine Stuart, the 5th Superior General of the Society of the Sacred Heart, had a “life-changing experience of God amidst a garden of blue hyacinths. In a flash of insight she knew and embraced the vocation to which God was inviting her. Every year thereafter, on May 6, she quietly celebrated that event in the garden and renewed her sense of vocation and purpose.” We now celebrate May 6 as a day to reflect on our own sense of vocation and purpose, as well as to learn more about Janet Erskine Stuart, who is considered one of our “Founding Mothers.”
Today, at Stone Ridge we shared optional activities for our students and faculty to celebrate Blue Hyacinth Day.
Spend some time in Espacio and reflection. Use a breathing meditation to quiet your mind and body to prepare for prayer. Listen to a version of Janet Erskine Stuart’s poem, “Spirit Seeking Light and Beauty” that can be found on the Stuart Center’s Website and pray the “Prayer of Discernment” based on the words of Janet Erskine Stuart.
Learn More About JES
Watch a short video to learn more about Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ.
View this more comprehensive video by Kathleen Hughes, RSCJ speaking about Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ.
The Quotable Janet Erskine Stuart
Read some quotes from Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ. Pick your favorite one and make an inspirational poster for your home office or use it to inspire some journal writing.
Shortbread and Stuart!
Join the "president" of Stone Ridge’s Janet Erskine Stuart Fan Club, Upper School Dean of Students, Ms. Fontanone, for a conversation of all things Stuart - including artifacts from the RSCJ archives in Roehampton - and baking shortbread to honor this great English stalwart in Sacred Heart history.
A Sense of Purpose
Meet Sr. Juliet Mousseau, RSCJ who professed her vows this year. Learn about how she developed a sense of purpose and her advice for you!
Letter Writing & Reading
Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ wrote many letters in her life. Take time today to send a note to a friend or family member.
Nature and Art
Take a walk outside and see what new signs of spring you notice.
Paint or draw a picture of a Blue Hyacinth or another flower.
Write a poem inspired by nature and prayer.
Middle School invites guests to their Virtual Classroom
Stone Ridge Grade 8 students recently invited two accomplished guests to their Virtual Classrooms. The students in Drama and Science classes had virtual visitors to expand their understanding of their current curriculum.
The Grade 8 Drama students embarked on a unit in playwriting. They had a virtual visit from Madeline Hendricks. Ms. Hendricks is a playwright and TV writer. Her TV credits include Freeform’s Good Trouble and the CW's Jane The Virgin. Ms. Hendricks's work has been published by Samuel French, and her plays have been produced in NY through the Fidelity FutureStage Playwriting Competition and the Samuel French Off-Off Broadway Short Play Festival. She’s also the co-creator of See What Sticks, a monthly workshop with an audience where LA artists of all disciplines come together to present works in progress. The students are now tasked with writing a short play.
Over the past couple of months Grade 8 students have been working through several meteorology units. Students have been learning about the different layers of the atmosphere and its composition. They have gained an understanding of the atmosphere and surface of the Earth, which are heated by the sun and in turn this drives the factors that influence our weather. These weather factors include heat, winds, humidity, and precipitation. The students most recently began to understand how these factors create different types of air masses and how these different types of air masses move and create fronts. They are in the early stages of understanding how these patterns change to create different weather conditions. NBC Washington Chief Meteorologistr, Mr. Doug Kammerer virtual visited the class and provided background about how he became interested in meteorology and the course of study he took through high school and college as well as his early career that led to him becoming the Chief Meteorologist at NBC 4. Mr. Kammerer also discussed the weather patterns that are presently taking place and driving our unseasonably chilly and wet spring. He was able to show the students his workstation at home and how he analyzes different weather models to help develop his short and long term forecasts. He was able to display the European model and show the students the upcoming storm systems that will impact our region later this week. Mr. Kammerer also answered questions from students and faculty. This was a valuable lesson as the girls will continue to work through the weather patterns unit to gain an understanding of how meteorologists use weather maps and data to predict changing weather conditions.
Thank you Ms. Hendricks and Mr. Kammerer!
Stone Ridge congratulates National Merit Scholarship Winners
Congratulations to Charlotte Gidley '20 and Meaghan Kilner '20 who have been selected as winners of the National Merit $2500 Scholarship.
About 1.5 million students were entered into the National Merit Scholarship competition by taking the 2018 PSAT as juniors. The 16,000 semifinalists were the highest-scoring entrants in their states, representing less than 1 percent of seniors.
Approximately 15,000 of the semifinalists qualified as finalists. In order to be considered as finalists, semifinalists completed a scholarship application with an essay and information about extracurricular activities, awards, and leadership positions. Semifinalists also had to demonstrate an outstanding academic record, earn SAT or ACT scores confirming their PSAT performance, and get a recommendation from a high school official. By the conclusion of the 2020 competition, about 7,600 Finalists will have been selected to receive National Merit Scholarships totaling over $30 million.
Scholarship winners were the finalists determined to "have the strongest combination of academic skills and achievements, extracurricular accomplishments, and potential for success in rigorous college studies," according to the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.
What a wonderful accomplishment! Congratulations to these Stone Ridge seniors! #allgirlseducation
Celeste Cubbage Breaks into Elimination Rounds in Tournament of Champions
Celeste Cubbage ‘20 recently competed for Stone Ridge in the most competitive and prestigious Speech and Debate tournaments in the nation. The Tournament of Champions (TOC) is hosted each year at the University of Kentucky bringing together the top qualifiers from around the country. Just qualifying for the TOC is a great accomplishment.
With the quarantine in place, this year’s tournament was moved to an online format - the first of its kind. Students from across the nation set up webcams in their homes and either competed in live events or pre-recorded versions of their speech (view some highlights). Celeste did both. Celeste competed in both extemporaneous speaking by drawing topics in a virtual prep room and preparing an extemporaneous speech on topic areas covering Europe/Russia, Asia, Central and South America, U.S. Science and Technology and U.S. Politics. She then delivered that speech to a live judge via a virtual zoom platform in her makeshift studio in her home.
Celeste also competed in Original Oratory. This event was pre-recorded onto the Tournament website platform and viewed by judges and participants in real time during each round. Celeste broke to the top 20 in the nation from a field of over 100 participants with her Original Oratory on the over sexualization and discrimination against female bodies inherent in school dress codes. Drawing on the groundbreaking study conducted last year by the National Women’s Law Center into how biased dress codes discriminate against black girls in DC charter schools, Celeste chose this topic to highlight the long lasting educational and societal implications when schools label girls’ bodies as distractions.
Celeste will now compete in the National Speech and Debate Tournament this June with this same original oratory in a similar online format. It is generally the highlight of the Speech and Debate season, bringing together the most talented competition from across the nation one last time. This year’s online event will attempt to celebrate these qualifiers in a virtual tournament atmosphere.
Celeste qualified for Nationals by winning the Chesapeake District Tournament in February just before stay at home orders disrupted the season. At that tournament, Celeste also won the extemporaneous speaking event and was awarded the District’s Student of the Year Award presented to an outstanding graduating senior each year. Nominees must demonstrate strong academic credentials and a commitment to the speech and debate community. Celeste will now be automatically nominated for the William Woods Tate Jr., National Student of the Year award presented at the National Tournament in June.
Lauren Woodard '16 Receives Psychology award from the University of Vermont
Lauren Woodard '16 is the recipient of this year's Donald G. Forgays Outstanding Senior Award at the University of Vermont. This award is given annually to a senior psychology major who has demonstrated outstanding scholarship in all courses in Art and Sciences as well as achievement in independent research and scholarship. This awardee has among the highest grade point averages of psychology majors and has completed notable scholarly projects in or out of the classroom. The award is named for Donald G. Forgays, who was Professor of Psychology at UVM from 1964 until his death in 1993. Department Chair Forgays guided the expansion of the department and the establishment of its doctoral program, which is now internationally known. Lauren credits much of her success and love for studying psychology from her time at Stone Ridge, where it all started with Mrs. Marlen McKinney in AP Psychology. Congratulations, Lauren!
SR Father Takes Music to the Streets
Stone Ridge father Jim Mazzara (Michelle '23) is a bagpipe player and Washington DC firefighter, making a difference during this time of pandemic by touching the emotions of our community. He walks the sidewalks of the DC area to play his bagpipe at churches, hospitals and monuments. The music evokes such strong feelings of joy and peace for so many during a challenging time of distancing and isolation. Mr. Mazzara also volunteers his time @WorldCentralKitchen, overseen by SR father José Andrés (Lucia '22). Our gratitude to Mr. Mazzara for his actions of spreading love and joy and for living the Sacred Heart mission. See the story on NBC4. #LoveisOurMission #Goal3 #Goal4
The Coronavirus Time Capsule Video
The Coronavirus Time Capsule is a worldwide project - a response to the global COVID-19 pandemic. The Time Capsule was created by Company Three - a theatre company of young people led by a team of professional theatre-makers, based London. Their mission is to give teenagers the space to tell their own stories and create their own change. Company Three supplied the blueprint for the Upper School’s recent production Brainstorm. In response to the pandemic, they have created The Coronavirus Time Capsule, an expression of what it is like to be a teenager during the pandemic. They have invited schools all over the world to join them in creating their own productions using the blueprint created by Company Three.
Each week, Company Three will send a prompt to the cast of Stone Ridge’s company of The Coronavirus Time Capsule. The SR Upper School company will create short film clips in response to the prompt, and each week the new content will be posted.
Taylor Douglas '09 is a 3rd year resident physician in a combined Emergency Medicine/Internal Medicine program at Kings County Hospital & SUNY Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. She works in the emergency department as well as on the inpatient wards and intensive care units. New York City has been the epicenter. Taylor said "all they've said about NYC and more is true, but it's the only place I could see myself working. I am proud to work alongside amazing coworkers to serve the vulnerable, underinsured population of central Brooklyn." #LoveisourMission #Closeapart
Two SR Girls win Augmented Reality Award
This year’s inaugural Upper School Augmented Reality (AR) / Virtual Reality (VR) class has completed a range of projects that have helped each student master the necessary foundation level skills. The first semester final project for the class was to create a short video on an issue that was important to them.
While all student projects were very good, two of the projects were exemplary. Reade Hauge '20 and Anna Looney '20 completed projects on Women in STEM and The Importance of a Stone Ridge Education respectively. Their skills in storyboarding, filming and editing were of such high caliber, that they were entered into a professional AR/VR regional competition.
The student’s final projects were entered into the DC Web Fest Competition and won. Reade’s and Anna’s pieces were chosen as official selections in the Social Impact and Student Award categories. They were up against other competitors who are national leaders in this industry. Check out these terrific videos that are hosted on the festival submission platform. Please note, that when viewed from a desktop computer, you can change the viewer direction using the online controls. When viewed on a tablet or smartphone through the Vimeo app, you can experience some of the full immersive aspects of their video by moving your device manually (left, right, up or down). When wearing a VR headset, you are able to virtually experience everything that is going on in and around you by simply turning your head.
Our community participated in an egg decorating contest this Easter. Many thanks to our Visual Arts Department, in particular, Mrs. Fallon Hitchens, Middle School Art Teacher, and Mr. Tom Doyle, Upper School 3D Design Teacher, who used some of his stop motion skills which he had been learning to teach claymation in Upper School Ceramics 1.
Grace Bullard, Second Academic (Grade 10)
Lucy Iandoli, Grade 6
Sarah Narita, Kindergarten
Caroline Vining ’20 was awarded a Scholastic Gold Key for her science fiction/fantasy short story about a world after climate change. The story, entitled When the Skies Burn, was recognized as one of the very best works submitted in the region. As a Gold Key recipient, Caroline is automatically considered for national-level recognition. Additionally, Caroline submitted her college essay, If I had an extra hour, to the Bethesda Magazine Short Story and Essay Competition. She received the second place prize. The winning essays will be posted on the Bethesda Magazine and Bethesda Urban Partnership websites
Congratulations Caroline on your wonderful achievements!
COVID-19 Impels Alumnae into Action
In the midst of the pandemic, we would like to recognize two of our dedicated alumnae, Meg MacWhirter McNeill ‘01 and Sarah O’Herron ‘90, for their commitment to Goal III, a social awareness which impels to action. Meg and her husband, Dan, own MISCellaneous Distillery in Mt. Airy, Maryland. They transformed their operations in order to produce hand sanitizer onsite. The finished product will benefit @mealsonwheeelsmd, which delivers food to home-bound seniors in our community. Additionally, the distillery entered a partnership with Montgomery County to provide bulk spirit on a weekly basis for use in making sanitizer for first responders, hospitals, and other emergency needs in the county. If you would like to donate to cover the costs of supplies, bottles, etc, please visit their website: https://miscdistillery.square.site.
Meg and Dan McNeill shared their hand sanitizer project idea with Sarah O’Herron ‘90, who owns and operates Black Ankle Vineyards with her husband, Ed Boyce. Black Ankle does not have the necessary distillation equipment for onsite production, however they did have a stock of 70 gallons of nearly pure alcohol used to produce their Terra Dulce, a Port-style fortified wine. Meg and Dan put them in touch with their contacts in Montgomery County, who are working with a pharmaceutical compounder able to blend the alcohol into a usable form of sanitizer.
The alumnae network is alive and well! We applaud the creative ways in which our alumnae are working to flatten the curve.
Meg MacWhirter McNeill ‘01
Sarah O’Herron ‘90
Alex Gangitano ‘10, A Lobbying Reporter at The Hill
Alex Gangitano ‘10 is a journalist working for The Hill, a non-partisan website-based newspaper focusing on politics, business, and international relations. Alex writes about lobbying, campaign financing, and the intersection of business and politics. Recently, she has focused on trade policy and the 2020 presidential campaign. She also appears as a pundit on television and radio. Her day-to-day routine usually involves running around Washington, reporting from inside the Capitol or in her downtown office.
Alex graduated from Villanova with a degree in Political Science and English. In 2014, she founded the Kerri Holbrook Foundation after her college friend passed away due to pancreatic cancer. The foundation offers grants to young people with cancer in order to fund their education, health care costs, or life passion.
Alex also co-chairs the Enzler Society with fellow alumna, Margaret Crilley ‘10. The Enzler Society is the young professionals arm of Catholic Charities DC. Each month, they serve at the Youth Transitional Program, a transitional shelter for college-aged men. They work on professional development and financial literacy, invite in guest speakers, and take the clients on trips to museums or sports games. The Enzler Society holds networking events quarterly for young Catholic professionals.
Gators Beat Blood Cancer Raise Big Money for Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Students of the Year Campaign
The seventh annual Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) Students of the Year Campaign celebrated a record breaking year, raising over $2,707,533 for the LLS mission, a world without blood cancers. The seven-week competition engaged 35 high school teams including Stone Ridge's own Gators Beat Blood Cancer (GBBC), which raised a total of $197,000 and secured the first runner up spot this year.
In addition, GBBC team member Sophia Trone '20 was honored with the Relentless for a Cure Team Member Award. The award was given to a team member who was relentless in her efforts to raise as much funds and awareness for the mission of LLS. Sophia was described as a relentless supporter of the team for the last four years! Sophia is not always the most visible member of the team, but she is always working hard in the background and achieving great things for LLS, whether it is through her personal fundraising, her event organizing, or her spreading of the word.
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. Since 2017, when Meaghan was diagnosed, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a remarkable 53 therapies just to treat patients with blood cancers, and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) has helped advance 46 of these treatments. Meaghan was the beneficiary of one of these treatments when she relapsed and was the first pediatric patient at Johns Hopkins, in a clinical trial, to receive one of these less toxic therapies to get her into remission and then, post transplant, to hopefully stay in remission. Meaghan is still in remission two years later and will be graduating with her class this June.
The GBBC team was honored to attend the LLS Gala on March 7 to celebrate their fundraising efforts. Stone Ridge commends the GBBC team, listed below, for their efforts in raising awareness and funds for this endeavor:
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, 2020. #GatorStrong #KilnerStrong
Dr. Lisa Damour
Stone Ridge welcomed back psychologist, Dr. Lisa Damour, to campus on February 11, to speak about stress and anxiety in the academic setting. She presented from her second book, Under Pressure: Confronting the Epidemic of Stress and Anxiety in Girls. First, Dr. Damour had the opportunity to address the parents and alumnae of our community. She also spoke with the Lower, Middle, and Upper School students, tailoring her speech in an age-appropriate manner. Finally, she worked with faculty during their professional development day on February 13.
To each audience, Dr. Damour emphasized that stress is an okay and necessary part of school. We require stress to learn and grow. Additionally, anxiety, or the feeling of fear and panic, can serve as an important alarm system telling our brains that we feel threatened. It is evolutionarily protective to listen to that signal and assess whether we are in danger. Of course, there are times when stress and anxiety becomes overwhelming and all-consuming. For these moments, Dr. Damour taught parents and students about using “square breathing” in order to down-regulate anxiety. The breathing technique consists of inhaling for three seconds, holding for three seconds, exhaling for three seconds, holding for three seconds, and then repeating.
We are grateful for all the clinical knowledge shared with us by Dr. Damour and look forward to hearing about her future research.
Mrs. Johnson to attend Climate Change, Conservation and Economic Development Summer Symposium
This summer, Mrs. Heidi Johnson, Upper School Science Teacher, will participate in the Summer Symposium from the Global Education Benchmark Group (GEBG) in Panama. The focus of this work will be climate change, conservation, and economic development. This opportunity is supported by the Thomas and Barbara Hoy Fund for Faculty Development.
The Thomas and Barbara Hoy Fund for Faculty Development is an endowed fund established by Christine Hoy Gosnell ’79 (mother of Charlotte ’14) and Elizabeth Hoy Shiverick ’78 (mother of Liza Reetz ’11—91st Street) in honor of their parents. Thomas and Barbara greatly value the role that a Sacred Heart education played in their lives, and continues to play in the lives of their granddaughters. Income from the Fund supports the ongoing growth of the faculty at Stone Ridge.
Mrs. Johnson said, "I am choosing this particular professional development opportunity because it provides a unique chance to learn how to use environmental issues as a framework for helping students to develop a global mindset. Its multidisciplinary focus allows me to study my passions in climate change and conservation issues, while also stretching myself to learn more about economic development... it will be especially inspiring as we endeavor to continue the work we started last year of helping Stone Ridge students to understand that climate change is not just a science issue." Heidi continued, "climate change will have impacts widely felt throughout the world and there are ways to stop the worst of the predicted effects from manifesting. I want to bring hope to the girls that we can do something about these global issues."
This program pairs with the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute; as such, it will also allow Mrs. Johnson to work with researchers who are actively doing science, research, and education to promote conservation and lessen the effects of climate change.
Three Amazing STEAM Guests Visit with Grade 6
On February 19, 2020 our Grade 6 students participated in an outstanding day of STEAM activities with a dynamic presentation facilitated by Ed Metz, a current Stone Ridge parent. Mr. Metz invited three outstanding women to talk about their careers with the students. The guest speakers included Cara Lesser, Founder and Executive Director of KID Museum; Shannon Bishop, Director of Content at PBS KIDS Digital; and Dr. Susan Persky, head of the Immersive Virtual Environment Testing Unit at NIH.
Cara Lesser talked to the girls about the founding of the KID Museum whose mission is to empower kids to become the creative problem-solvers of tomorrow. The KID Museum is an innovative learning space that provides hand-on learning that incorporates STEM, art, and culture with 21st century skills, such as creativity and critical thinking. Currently housed at the Davis Library, the KID Museum welcomes 55,000 visitors annually and hosts school group visits, after school programs, weekend workshops, and more. The students were particularly interested in the Invent the Future Challenge that the KID Museum hosts every year.
Shannon Bishop has been at PBS Kids for 9 years. As the Director of Content at PBS KIDS Digital, she oversees development and launches for leading PBS KIDS series digital portfolios, most recently focusing on designing science inquiry experiences for children 2 to 8. Ms. Bishop looks to continually evolve PBS KIDS digital approach to play, gaming, and education and guide strategic experimentation around new platforms. Ms. Bishop showed a graphic of all the people on the team. The girls found it fascinating that there were so many jobs to make one game. There are show creators, game designers, illustrators, sound designers, coders, and engineers. They even have kid testers on the team.
Dr. Susan Persky talked about how she found her career as a virtual environment tester. She built the Immersive Virtual Environment Testing Area (IVETA), an immersive VR-based experimental research lab. Dr. Persky showed the girls a virtual clinic and virtual food buffet. Her team uses virtual worlds to collect data and to study human behavior. Learn more about her work.
It was a wonderful day of learning for our Grade 6 Gators.
Lavinia Bonvini '25 Performs at the Kennedy Center
Lavinia Bonvini '25 was one of the solo piano performers at the Young Artists Concert of the Asian American Music Society that took place on February 9, 2020 at The REACH, Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Lavinia was the winner of the 2019 International Competition of the Asian American Music Society in the Piano Junior Division. This earned her the opportunity to play on The REACH Stage at the Kennedy Center.
Lavinia said “Playing piano has been my favorite thing to do since I was 4 years old. Participating at this event was an amazing experience and a great opportunity to share my love of music with others.”
Middle School Leaders attend PCW Event
On Tuesday, February 18, 2020, two Grade 7 students, Addie Anders '25 and Claire Keyes '25, attended a Middle School Leadership Breakfast sponsored by the Parents Council of Washington, DC (PCW). The Leadership Breakfast allows today’s youngest teens to join together and discuss issues of importance to them. The conversations explored issues such as social status, self-image, stress, technology, social media, and communication with family and teachers. The other schools represented included Landon, Holy Child, Field, Flint Hill, Maret, Potomac School, Congressional School, and Langley School.
Claire reflected about the experience, "I felt very lucky to hear that Stone Ridge has more opportunities for students than other schools. An example being that we are given study hall and kids at other schools have to choose between a study hall or music. I also learned that students can make a change in their schools. We did not only share our problems but we also shared our solutions."
Addie said "I had a great time at the leadership breakfast, I am very happy I was able to go. It was nice to see how alike and different the 7th graders are in the DMV. I really hope we can take the solutions we learned [at the breakfast] back to Stone Ridge and make the school even better than it is."
At Stone Ridge, we take great pride in empowering our young leaders. #wearesacredheart #IamaStoneRidgeGirl
An Irish Dancing Gator
Madeline Fontana ‘21 began Irish dancing 13 years ago. Recently after almost 2 years of not competing in Irish dance, Madeline prepared for and competed at the Southern Region Oireachtas (her 6th regional competition) this past December and placed 19th out of approximately 125 dancers qualifying her a spot at the National Irish Dancing Championships in Nashville, Tennessee in July. Madeline accomplished this while balancing being on the Varsity Cross Country team, Varsity Ice Hockey season and keeping up with her academics. At the upcoming National competition, Madeline is striving to qualify for World Championship hosted in Killarney, Ireland in 2021.
Throughout her years of Irish dancing, Madeline competed at the regional level six times, the national level four times, and world level two times (Dublin, Ireland 2017 and Glasgow, Scotland 2018). Only 1% of Irish dancers qualify for world competition. Currently, Madeline dances with the McGrath Morgan School of Irish Dance.
Ainsley Coleman '29 participated in the Jack and Jill of America Montgomery County, Maryland Chapter 11th Annual Spelling Bee at Montgomery College. She made it to the final round against stiff competition! Ainsley medaled in 3rd place.
Congratulations to our super Grade 3 Gator speller!
Model UN Gators
On February 6, 2020, 33 Stone Ridge Upper School students traveled to Baltimore to compete in the 23rd annual Johns Hopkins Model United Nations (MUN) conference. In MUN, each school receives a country assignment for the delegation of students. The students are tasked with researching their country’s political positions and economic interests in order to act as a diplomat of the nation. At the conference, students attend committee sessions modeled after the United Nations, such as the General Assembly or the World Health Organization.
Our Stone Ridge delegation attended committee sessions for over 18 hours during the course of the weekend--networking, gathering information, researching, and presenting--in order to reach a resolution by Sunday morning. MUN requires patience, diligence, and diplomacy. Our Stone Ridge Gators showed up in full force, ready to tackle the challenge.
Lauren Duvall '22 shared, “I very much enjoyed my trip to MUN. Because it was my first year attending MUN, I was overwhelmed, at first, by the new language and procedures. However, it was interesting to form "blocs" with other countries, allowing me to learn about their views and better understand current events. I am very proud of myself for speaking during the conference because it was so new and intimidating. It was such an amazing experience and I honestly can't wait for next year's conference.”
We are proud of the excitement and passion our students showed for the topics and procedures. From navigating press leaks to creating resolutions inspired by their literature classes to evading termination from their committee position, the Stone Ridge students had a very successful weekend!
Debater Celeste Cubbage '20 Wins at the U. of Penn Tournament
Congratulations to Stone Ridge Speech Captain Celeste Cubbage '20 who continued her winning streak this past weekend at the 45th Annual University of Pennsylvania Speech and Debate tournament. Celeste finished in first place in original oratory. This traditional Ivy League tournament was very competitive with a large field of entries from around the nation, some as far away as Texas. This win comes on the heels of her first place victory last weekend in original oratory at the Pennsbury Falcon Invitational.
Celeste also finished fifth in Extemporaneous Speaking at the U Penn tournament. She was the only female in the finals of that event. You Go Gator! She also met several Sacred Heart sisters earlier in the event from the Convent School of the Sacred Heart in NYC. Extemporaneous Speaking (extemp) is a limited-preparation speech event based on research and original analysis. Students draw topics on various subjects like currents events, foreign policy, domestic and international economics and politics. Extemp provides 30 minutes of preparation time, followed by a seven-minute memorized speech. In the finals there is also a three-minute cross examination period where students defend their arguments.
Celeste’s outstanding finish at U. Penn secured her coveted Tournament of Champions bids in both Original Oratory and Extemp. The Tournament of Champions (TOC) is THE preeminent national high school debate tournament held at the University of Kentucky every year on the last weekend in April. The TOC is considered to be the national championship of the “National Circuit.” It is one of the most prestigious and competitive American high school Speech and debate tournaments.
On February 15-17, Celeste is competing in the 46th Annual Harvard National Forensic Tournament where she’s hoping to make another great showing on behalf of Stone Ridge Speech and Debate Team. Chomp, chomp—Go get ‘em Celeste!
Servant Leadership as a Family
Hello from the Stone Ridge Parent Association (SRPA) Community Service Committee!
On the afternoon of December 7, 2019, a group of 50 Stone Ridge students and parents shared in the Christmas spirit by volunteering for those in need at A Wider Circle, in Silver Spring, Maryland. A Wider Circle is a metro area organization that supports individuals and families to rise out of poverty. Through the Neighbor-to-Neighbor program, A Wider Circle provides furniture, kitchen items, baby supplies, and many other essential home goods to families transitioning out of shelters, escaping domestic violence, or otherwise living without basic need items. Families simply come to the showroom and select the items they need, free of charge. Each year, A Wider Circle furnishes the homes of more than 4,000 families, helping to create the stability and dignity that everyone deserves.
The SR Day of Service began with a discussion on the prevalence and causes of poverty in our area in order to connect our work to the question “what can we do to end poverty, individually and collectively.” Our group then participated in roles including carrying items off the trucks donated by local families; staging children’s toys and books in the Children’s Corner and furniture items in the showroom; and carrying items to trucks for delivery after families selected their items. To end the service, our group gathered in a backroom of the warehouse for a Mass, to reflect and pray about the experience.
Our next Stone Ridge family service will be Tuesday mornings during Lent for Cup Of Joe by Catholic Charities. Students in Grades 2 to 12, parents, and faculty/staff will prepare “on-the-go-bags” for the Cup Of Joe program. Each year the Cup of Joe provides a healthy breakfast for tens of thousands of children and families in emergency and transitional Catholic Charities operated shelters in our area. Our Stone Ridge community will package 1,750 bags during our service activity. We will also discuss and reflect on the causes and responses to poverty and food insecurity.
Stone Ridge families are committed to Goal III, A Social Awareness which Impels to Action. Learn more about our Mission.
Speech and Debate Competition Success
The Stone Ridge Speech and Debate team was out in force on February 1, 2020. With students competing at the local WACFL V tournament and others debating at a national tournament at the Pennsbury Falcon Invitational in Philadelphia.
Hallie Stallings '22 and Abby Jacobs '22, debated at the Washington Area Catholic Forensic League (WACFL) V tournament at Alice Deal Middle School in DC. They debated Resolved: States ought to eliminate their nuclear arsenals. Both Abby and Hallie had competed well enough during the year, that this final tournament could have qualified them to debate at WACFL Metrofinals to be held in March (generally reserved for juniors and seniors). This was their first time competing on this tournament topic, and the competition was keen as the stakes were high. They are both very competitive debaters and while the competition did not go as they had hoped, they will be back next year.
At the Pennsbury Falcon Invitational Tournament, a national tournament that Stone Ridge first competed in last year, our Varsity team also debated the topic Resolved: States ought to eliminate their nuclear arsenals. Anna Stallings '20 had a winning record of 3-2 defeating two opponents from Dallastown High School, PA and one from local powerhouse, Broad Run. Charlotte Gidley '20 had a record of 2-3 with speaker points that were high enough to put her into the top half of the tournament for speaker points. Charlotte received a rare, perfect score of 30 in her final debate. While there were 280 opportunities for a perfect score this tournament, only 5 30’s were awarded at the tournament. Sophia Trone '20 scored consistently round after round some of her highest speaker points ever, with a personal best of 28.7 on the 30 point scale. She achieved a 1-4 record despite the fact she debated arguably the 1st and 3rd best debaters at the tournament.
Celeste Cubbage '20 rocked the Pennsbury Falcon Invitational finishing First Place in Original Oratory and Third Place in Extemporaneous Speaking. She walked away with trophies in both events and a standing ovation for her overwhelming first place performance in Original Oratory. Celeste’s performance this weekend earned her a bid in each event towards qualifying for the elite Tournament of Champions (the Super Bowl of Speech and Debate) which is held in April.
Madeline Fontana '21 and Caroline Vining '20 made a great showing in Original Oratory as well. Both students delivered impactful speeches that challenged the listeners to view the world in a different way and address serious issues facing women, children and our future on this planet. Madeline also competed in Extemporaneous Speaking and gained great experience for WACFL Metro Finals coming up in February, which she qualified in at WACFL 4.
Finally, Madeline teamed up with a student from Collegiate High School of NYC for the supplemental event of Improvisational Duo. They were the only team to have members from two different schools compete. In all, 45 teams competed in this event and the Collegiate High School/Stone Ridge team of Sam Friedman and Madeline made it to finals and finished 2nd Place in Improvisational Duo.
Congratulations to our Stone Ridge Debaters!
Amelia Lawlor '22 selected to the 2020 Maryland All State Senior Chorus
Amelia Lawlor '22 has been selected to sing with the 2020 Maryland All State Senior Chorus. According to Neil Weston, Stone Ridge Chorus Director, "This is an extraordinary achievement for a singer. All State Chorus is extremely competitive, with over 4,000 students from public and private schools auditioning from all over the State of Maryland, for a Chorus that only accepts 200 members. Amelia is the only soprano in the Chorus from a private school in the entire state. The All State Senior Chorus truly is the best of the best in terms of choral musicians in our state."
The All State Senior Chorus will perform Sunday, March 15 at Morgan State University in Baltimore.
Many congratulations to Amelia on her extraordinary achievement!
Photo: Amelia on the left
Meg Frazier Named 34th Head of School at Sacred Heart Greenwich
Congratulations to former Stone Ridge Head of Upper School Meg Frazier who will become the 34th Head of School at Sacred Heart Greenwich (SHG) in Connecticut, our sister school in the Network of Sacred Heart schools.
In a letter to community members, SHG's Board Chair wrote "On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the Head of School Search Committee, I am pleased to announce that the Board has voted to appoint Margaret Frazier as the 34th Head of School at SHG. Meg, who currently serves as Headmistress of Marymount International in London, U.K., will begin her term on July 1, 2020."
Before Marymount International, Meg served as Head of Upper School at Stone Ridge from 2015-2017 and worked at Georgetown Preparatory School for 15 years. Serving at SHG is a homecoming of sorts as Meg grew up in Connecticut. Congratulations and welcome back to the Network, Meg!
“I feel so privileged to be selected as the next Head of School at such an outstanding all-girls Catholic school, with a well-known history of preparing young women for lives of leadership and service to others,” Meg writes. “Now in the third decade of the 21st century, the School’s mission is just as important today as it has been in the past and our care for each girl’s needs will drive our brave work together. I have every faith that active partnerships with students, faculty, staff, parents, and alumnae will allow me to guide Sacred Heart Greenwich forward in gratitude and grace."
Stone Ridge & the Best of Bethesda
The January/February Bethesda Magazine was the popular Best of Bethesda issue. Under the category of Kids & Schools, Readers' Picks, Stone Ridge was "A Top Vote Getter" in several categories:
Private School (Lower School)
Private School (Upper School)
Private School (with a Religious Affiliation)
We are proud to be a part of a 200-year tradition of Sacred Heart education with a global network in 41 countries and 150 schools. Stone Ridge makes a consistent commitment to educating the mind and the heart of our students so that they may grow in wisdom, faith, and grace and with purpose and integrity.
Delia Friel '16 Receives Schwarzman Scholarship
Delia Friel '16 is a senior at Dartmouth College. She was recently awarded a Schwarzman Scholar. The Schwarzman Scholars is a highly selective, one-year master’s program at Tsinghua University in Beijing that is designed to prepare the next generation of global leaders for the challenges of the future. Delia is was selected from more than 4,700 applicants from students from 41 countries.
Delia is majoring in biomedical engineering with a minor in Spanish. As a Darmouth James O. Freedman Presidential Scholar, Delia worked as a research assistant studying the mechanics of morphogenesis in embryonic brain and heart development at Thayer School of Engineering and was a learning fellow for a scientific computing class at Thayer, serving as a teaching assistant. She served as a counselor for the U.S. State Department's Women in Science Program in Kosovo and was an intern for the Ways and Means committee in the U.S. House of Representatives. She was also a player on Dartmouth's national championship women's rugby team in 2018.
"I am absolutely overjoyed and honored to be a Schwarzman Scholar," Delia says. "This is an absolute dream come true, and I am excited to continue learning about the intersection of global affairs and science."
Delia says she looks forward to learning more about China and thinking about how the global community can work to pursue innovation and improve healthcare delivery.
Karen Farrell '05 wins big on Jeopardy!
Karen Farrell '05 experienced an impressive eight-day winning streak on "Jeopardy!", winning $159,603. The shows aired December 26, 2019-January 8, 2020. Her numerous victories qualified her for the annual “Jeopardy!” Tournament of Champions, which brings back the year’s top champions to compete against one another.
In a video posted on the “Jeopardy!” Karen said, "[H]onestly, it felt like it was always something I was meant to do. Being part of the whole world of Jeopardy!, something that I've been watching my whole life."
Karen came to Stone Ridge in Grade 7 and graduated with the Class of 2005. While in the Upper School, it is not surprising that Karen was on the It's Academic Team. Karen received her undergraduate degree from Princeton University, and holds two degrees in foreign affairs from The University of Virginia, a master’s earned in 2011 and a Ph.D. earned in 2015. She is currently a political consultant.
Stone Ridge congratulates Karen and is proud to have played a part in her education!
Alumnae is 2019 Washingtonian of the Year
Congratulations to Corinne Cannon '96 for being selected as a Washingtonian of the Year 2019. Corine is one of 11 locals who help make Washington a better place for everyone. Her nonprofit nonprofit, Greater DC Diaper Bank, works with more than 50 area organizations to provide 11,000 families with items such as baby food, car seats, and 2 million diapers a year. Corinne founded the diaper bank in 2010 out of her home and now operates a Silver Spring warehouse stuffed floor to ceiling with family products. #Goal3
The Stone Ridge Singing Club visits Hillhaven Senior Living
After Feast Wishes on Friday, December 20, the Stone Ridge Singing Club, a student-led club, went to visit Hillhaven Senior Living. The Singing Club decided to spend their free time right before Christmas bringing joy to the elderly who appreciated their energy and voices. Goal III reminds us to be socially aware and to act!
3D Printed Christmas Ornament Winners
Stone Ridge hosted its 6th annual 3D Printed Christmas Ornament contest in the Middle and Upper School and had a record of 35 entries! Students learned how to use Tinkercad (a design tool) to design and create their 3D ornament renderings as well as had to ensure their design met specific criteria (size, color, file type, and originality). Students submitted their files to our Educational Technologists who printed the ornament using our many 3D printers. Mrs. Karrels selected her favorite ornaments. Congratulations to Upper School winner Alexandra Roberts '22 and Middle School winners Elisabeth Brown '26, Tayla Williams '24, Pai Mautone-Smith '26, and Emma Person '24!
Guest Speaker in Economics Class
On Tuesday, December 10, David Ehrhardt (father of Becca Ehrhardt '20) joined the Upper School Economics Class for a talk on the economics of infrastructure. David Ehrhardt, CEO of Castalia Advisors, explained to students how his firm applied fundamental economic principles to real infrastructure problems around the world. His talk walked the class through three case studies: Cape Town's water supply, the market for electricity in Victoria, Australia, and the express lanes on the Virginia part of the Beltway. Mr. Ehrhardt challenged students to use what they already knew about supply and demand, incentives, free markets and government policy to think about how market failures in these three different scenarios might be corrected. Students in the economics class are constantly challenged to apply theoretical concepts to the "real world" -- Mr. Ehrhardt's visit helped students do just that!
Engineering students Visit DC Solar Farm
Students in the Engineering class took a field trip to the largest solar farm in Washington, DC. The farm is built on the grounds of the Missionaries of Charity Convalescent Home. The girls had a tour and enjoyed a discussion with Rick Peters, President of Solar Saves, the architect-engineering firm that designed and managed the construction of the project.
This project was fully developed by Catholic organizations, particularly Catholic Charities, with the help of the nonprofit Catholic Energies. Learn more.
Expert Panel Presents on Vaping and Smoking
A one-hour program with a panel from Suburban Hospital and the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center in partnership with Stone Ridge and the American Lung Association was recently hosted on campus. Stone Ridge Middle and Upper School student leaders and administrative representatives from about eight area private schools attended the event. Others were invited to view the presentation on Suburban Hospital’s Facebook page.
Dr. Philip Corcoran, a surgeon at the cardiothoracic and vascular clinic at Johns Hopkins Medicine at Suburban Hospital and Stone Ridge father, said "All the nicotine and chemicals inhaled while vaping are harmful to your lungs. It is clear this is not a safe undertaking.”
Enriching Voices from the African Diaspora at National Museum of African American History and Culture
On November 26, students from the Voices from the African Diaspora took a field trip to the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). The African Diapora half year class examines the rich literary traditions of the African diaspora--the dispersion of people of African descent away from their ancestral homeland and throughout the world. The students explore the scattering of people from the continent and the consciousness of shared origin and struggle. The trip to the NMAAHC made a great impact on the students as you will note from these wonderful comments from Lily, Aileen and Ally.
Student Lily Montemarano '20 commented "The museum trip was a fantastic way to remind us of and further elaborate everything we had learned in American Lit and African Diaspora. It was my favorite field trip at Stone Ridge. It was extremely thorough and engaging. A highlight was learning more about the Civil Rights era. I feel like it is so difficult to cover the majority of that unit and it was interesting to learn more about the big events and be informed of smaller ones and less recognized contributors.
It was a completely different experience to face artifacts, pictures, and personal stories rather than learning in a classroom with no one in the room who had experienced that type of racial discrimination. I feel like every person should visit this museum in order to truly understand the history of African American and the struggles they face to this day. It reminded me that racism is still very present."
Eileen Hannah '20 said "I really loved this museum. It was one of my favorite experiences in the Smithsonian museums, and I learned so much. Not only did the lessons coincide with the curriculum of our class, but I also felt like I was walking through many lessons from my AP US History class. I was amazed and so moved by everything in the museum and the physical proof of our past. I was impacted by the segregated train, the exhibit on Emmitt Till, and all of the documents that showed the dispute on slavery. All of the historical events from the past have some connection to slavery, which is really shown in this museum. I was amazed by everything and honestly could have spent so much more time than one day in the museum. I would go back to this museum and spend even more time. I loved everything about this field trip and learned that while as a country we've moved past a lot of racism, but still have some improvements to make."
Ally Kabo '20 reflected "I loved the museum!!! I have been trying to go for the longest time however, I never have time. It was extremely interesting to see the different levels and see the transition for slavery to current-day. My highlight was the Emmitt Till exhibit because I had done some personal research on his case. I liked that the museum had many videos and audios to listen to that came from the family and friends of Emmitt Till. I will definitely be visiting the museum again because there is so much to learn and I would really like to get a chance to cover most, if not all the exhibits."
Stone Ridge values the access of our extended classroom of the incredible offerings of our Greater DC area. These excursions enrich a deeper curriculum and broaden our students' curiosity and imagination.
SR Campaign video wins Telly Award
In case you missed it: the Stone Ridge Cor Unum • One Heart Campaign video is award-winning! The video recently received a Telly Award! Stone Ridge partnered with the team at Copper Hound Pictures, who then nominated our video for a Telly Award. The Telly Awards honor excellence in video and television across all screens. Stone Ridge and Copper Hound Pictures won a Silver Award in the category "General Online Commercials". Thank you to those Stone Ridge family members who support the Cor Unum • One Heart Campaign, which is investing in the next generation of women leaders. #corunum #wearesacredheart #transformingcampus #StoneRigeCentennial www.stoneridgeschool.org/campaign
Teacher Giovanna Basney Earns PhD
Middle School math teacher Giovanna Basney, recently earned a degree of Doctor of Philosophy: Education Leadership, Research, and Policy from the University of Colorado. Dr. Basney's dissertation was titled: An exploration of racial climate, retention, and job satisfaction among teachers of Color at K-12 independent schools in the United States. As an undergraduate, Dr. Basney double majored in Mathematics and Spanish at the University of Toronto. She received her Masters of Arts in Education from the Notre Dame College of Maryland and her MBA from Santa Maria La Antigua.
Dr. Basney teaches Middle School Pre-Algebra and Geometry. She also coaches the Middle School Cross Country and Softball teams and is passionate about Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) work. Dr. Basney is the proud mom of two young daughters at Stone Ridge.
Congratulations, Dr. Basney!
Cailley Slaten ’20 Attends the 2019 American Portrait Gala
Cailley Slaten ’20 is Stone Ridge’s first-ever representative on the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery Teen Museum Council (TMC). The Council serves to give youth a voice in programming at the museum and to build community with the teen population from DC, MD, and VA.
On November 17, the National Portrait Gallery hosted its biannual American Portrait Gala, honoring American achievement and celebrating several new commissions.
honoring American achievement and celebrating several new commissions. Cailley was fortunate to join Clive Davis on stage as he honored award-winning American band Earth, Wind & Fire.
The red carpet event was attended by national cultural icons, celebrities and artists from across the country, and raised more than $2 million in support of the museum’s endowment for exhibitions. The event honored Frances Arnold, scientist, engineer and Nobel Laureate; Jeffrey P. Bezos, tech entrepreneur and philanthropist; Earth, Wind & Fire (Maurice White [posthumously], Philip Bailey, Verdine White, Ralph Johnson), award-winning American band; Lin-Manuel Miranda, composer, lyricist and actor; Indra Nooyi, business executive; and Anna Wintour, editor- in-chief of Vogue, U.S. artistic director and global content advisor of Condé Nast.
Throughout the 2019-2020 academic year, Cailley and her TMC members have the opportunity to work on a variety of activities such as creating teen-centered events, participating in workshops and training sessions with museum professionals, and gain experience at the museum while developing creative and critical thinking skills. TMC is a year-long commitment that meets once a week on Wednesdays during the school year.
Foundations of Studio Art Field Trip to Philidelphia
All the students who are taking Foundations of Studio Art, took a field trip to the Barnes Foundation in Philadelphia on Friday, November 8. Philadelphia art collector Albert C. Barnes chartered the Barnes Foundation in 1922 to teach people from all walks of life how to look at art. Over three decades, he collected some of the world’s most important impressionist, post-impressionist, and modern paintings, including works by Renoir, Cézanne, Matisse, and Picasso. He displayed them alongside African masks, native American jewelry, Greek antiquities, and decorative metalwork.
The Stone Ridge artists were also fortunate to see the 30 Americans special exhibit. 30 Americans presents works by 30 important and influential contemporary African American artists.
After lunch, the SR artists walked up Franklin Parkway toward the Philadelphia Museum of Art. As they walked, they were to create art "on the go" by video-making, sketching, painting, sculpture studies, or photography.
Getting out of the classroom and into a museum increases our students’ ability to think critically about art, as well as their ability to appreciate and understand what life was like for people from other time periods. Each work of art is a window onto new worlds for students. #StoneRidgearts
Emma Holland Denvir '06 Launches Design Exhibition Series
Stone Ridge Alumna Emma Holland Denvir ’06 is making quite a name for herself in the design world. Currently head of US business development at Hem, a modern design furniture store, Emma also sells and features her own handmade jewelry, furniture, sculpture and accessories, which interweave gorgeous artistry with function, online at www.emmahollanddenvir.com. Emma, who lives in Los Angeles, recently teamed up with fellow designer Leah Ring to create an exhibition series entitled “Object Permanence” which highlights artistry that reimagines household objects. Details on their exhibitions, which are one-night-only, were featured in the most recent issue of Surface Magazine.
Middle School Honors Veterans
Veteran’s Day is a time when Americans have a chance to say “thank you” to those veterans who have served and those who are currently serving in our Armed Forces. To honor Veteran's Day, the Stone Ridge Middle School students recently engaged in a day of service. Our students took part in a panel discussion which included military veterans from across the Stone Ridge community, including alumnae, spouses, and parents who are members of the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Coast Guard as well as those who work with service members and their families. Students wrote over 250 letters of gratitude, which were delivered to retired veterans in the Washington DC area and service members currently deployed overseas. Additionally, students crafted more than 20 hand-made blankets which were given to wounded veterans receiving care at Walter Reed National Medical Center. The thoughtful sentiment behind each heartfelt note and cozy blanket is a beautiful testament to the five Goals of Sacred Heart education in action as our students remember and acknowledge the service members in our wider Stone Ridge community.
SR Hosts Diversity Discussion: It Starts at Home
On September 20, Dr. Marcia Chatelain spoke to parents, faculty, and staff about where and how students are receiving explicit and implicit messages about race, gender, social class, sexuality, ability, and religion. In thinking about these messages, she helped the group understand the tremendous power they have in shaping not only how our children see the world, but also about their ability to demonstrate courage, integrity, and care for others who are different than them. The presentation also addressed the anxiety and fear we all feel when dealing with difficult topics in our families and communities.
Dr. Chatelain is the Provost’s Distinguished Associate Professor of History & African American Studies at Georgetown University. We were honored to have her visit with us at Stone Ridge.
SR Teachers Earn Well Deserved Teacher of the Year Awards
Congratulations to the 2019 High School Principals Association (HSPA) Teachers of the Year from Stone Ridge, Ms. Marisela Montiel-Bodelle (Veteran Teacher) and Dr. Katharina Matro (Novice Teacher). These awards were established to recognize the devotion of veteran and novice Catholic secondary school teachers in the Archdiocese of Washington. They speak to the value we place on faithful service, excellence, best practices, and innovations in Catholic secondary school teaching.
Marisela Montiel-Bodelle - Veteran Teacher of the Year
spring. She majored in history at the University of Guadalajara, where she also taught Spanish linguistics as a second language for ten years. Then, Marisela taught both subjects at the middle and high school levels in her hometown at the Colegio Quinet and Colegio Tlaquepaque.
Marisela taught Spanish at the Centro de Estudios para Extranjeros at the University of Guadalajara in the division dedicated to foreign students who came to study the language. She also served as head of the Spanish program for one year and taught Jesuits who came from Syracuse, NY, at the Colegio Jesuita.
She and her husband, who she met in Guadalajara, moved to Washington, DC in 1998, and a year later found a teaching home at Stone Ridge. After teaching for seven years in the Middle School, she moved to the Upper School.
Marisela's passion for teaching Spanish at Stone Ridge resides in being in front of a group of eager minds. Not only are the students interested in learning the language, but they have a desire to open their own borders and learn about other places, cultures, and people. This drives a dynamic interaction that is mutually rewarding.
Dr. Katharina Matro - New Teacher of the Year
Katharina Matro teaches World History and Economics at Stone Ridge. She holds a PhD in Eastern European History from Stanford University, an MA in International Economics from Johns Hopkins University, and a BA in History from Amherst College.
At SR, Katharina has found a position that lets her combine her training in international economics and her graduate work in history. Both disciplines, she finds, allow students to examine today's world and its challenges with valuable analytical tools. A parent to two small daughters (who are both at Stone Ridge), she is especially excited to work with young women and to accompany them on their way to becoming passionate life-long learners, critical thinkers, talented writers, and empathetic students of the past and present.
Social Action Discusses Migration
The Social Action Day on October 30 began with an Upper School assembly on the topic of Migration. We were joined by Fr. Jacek Orzechowski, a Franciscan Friar of the Holy Name Province who serves as a minister for Catholic Charities in parish community organizing and advocacy. Fr. Jacek spoke with the Upper School girls about the connections between migration and climate change. His engaging presentation weaved personal anecdotes of his time in Mexico and Peru and first person accounts of migration due to climate change with a discussion about population statistics and Pope Francis's call for us to care for our common home in the Laudato Si.
Follow Fr. Jacek on Twitter @JacekOGM
Parenting and Education Speaker Series Hosts Author of The Driven Child
On October 9, 2019, Stone Ridge hosted Ned Johnson to launch our parenting and education speaker series for the year. The founder of PrepMatters, an educational company providing academic tutoring, educational planning, and standardized test preparation, Johnson has spent more than 40,000 one-on-one hours helping students conquer an alphabet of standardized tests and honing his insightful interpersonal skills. With Dr. William Stixrud, Ned co-authored The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives, and this text was the focus for his talk with parents and staff in early October.
In his remarks, Johnson focused on “parent as consultant” rather than manager. Exploring this dynamic, Johnson encouraged parents to give advice to children, but not to force change, allowing space for children to understand that parents trust them to make decisions about their lives. Johnson highlighted autonomy as key to developing motivation in young people; “a low sense of control,” he argued, “is enormously stressful.” Emphasizing the key partnership between parents and schools, Johnson highlighted a need for discussions around homework and collaboration, to help students be more self driven and to learn best how their own minds work.
Our task is to celebrate the dynamic, flexible growth of our children. Failure, boredom, and downtime for reflection all foster creativity, self-actualization, and growth. Johnson urged us to practice these skills with our children. In keeping with our own Sacred Heart mission, we are reminded that “education is transformational because students are engaged in learning for the purpose of coming to self-understanding, intentional formation in critical thinking, a life-time long love of learning, and a sense of hope.”
New Playground Opens at SR
Joy, Laughter, and Fun! A memorable moment at Stone Ridge and a milestone in our Cor Unum • One Heart Campaign as we opened our new playgrounds in the heart of what will be our Campus Quad. Our Little Hearts and Lower School students were met by Head of School Catherine Ronan Karrels '86, administrators, Trustees, donors and members of Gilbane Building Company, Hord Coplan Macht and all those team members intimately involved in the planning and building of these glorious spaces! Middle School students got to play around later in the day.
“Let us respect childhood; let us honor the soul of that small creature of God..." St. Madeleine Sophie
Meaghan Kilner ’20 Featured in Fox 5 News Podcast and Story
Meaghan Kilner ’20 and her family’s ongoing concerted efforts to raise money and awareness for blood cancer research are never ceasing. On October 11, Meaghan, a Hodgkin lymphoma survivor, was the featured guest on the Fox 5 News “Mission Moments” podcast. In the podcast, Meaghan discusses the mission of, and her involvement in, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society; her own personal fight with Hodgkin lymphoma; the support she received from Stone Ridge classmates during her illness, and the promising advancements being made in the fight against blood cancers. Listen to the podcast.
October 12 marked the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Light the Night Rockville event, supporting cancer research. Fox News was at the event to capture its activities and mission and featured interviews with Meaghan and her mother Maura.
We are so proud of Meaghan, who brings so much light to our community!
Skyping with the Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering
Thanks to Lydia Otero '31 who told her dad, Carlos Otero, that her class was studying the properties of the sun in STEAM class, Mr. Otero put Grade 1 teacher Miss Kate Bigler in contact with Justin Kasper. The Grade 1 students skyped with Justin Kasper from the Department of Climate and Space Sciences and Engineering to learn more about the Parker Solar Probe. The Mission of NASA's Parker Solar Probe is to revolutionize our understanding of the sun. The Parker Solar Probe was launched in 2018 and has swooped to within 4 million miles of the sun's surface, facing heat and radiation like no spacecraft before it.
The class had several questions ready for Mr. Kasper, and they were given some wonderful answers.
What a great educational opportunity. #SRSTEAM
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
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!
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 www.stoneridgeschool.org/the-self-driven-child
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
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."
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.
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.
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
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."
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.
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.
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.
Mr. Woodard's dwelling for most of his 21 days on the trail.
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.
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 www.kennedy-center.org/video/upcoming
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.
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.
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.
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.
Amalia Marmolejos '19 Named Extraordinary Teen
Every year, Bethesda Magazine holds their Annual Extraordinary Teen Awards, which recognizes 12 teens from the area that are "making their marks in and out of the classroom." Our own Stone Ridge girl, Amalia Marmolejos '19, was one of the students selected this year and is featured in the March/April issue, available now.
Amalia is the sixth Stone Ridge girl to be recognized as an extraordinary teen since Bethesda Magazine started the feature in 2010. Amalia's work with Amigas, Stone Ridge's Hispanic affinity group, and her help in revamping the school's Multicultural and Diversity Festival, among other accomplishments are highlighted in the magazine feature.
Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart inspires young women to lead and serve, through lives of purpose that integrate faith, intellect, community, social action, and personal growth in an atmosphere of wise freedom. We are thrilled Bethesda Magazine recognizes some of our best.
Photo by Edgar Artiga
Past Top Teens were:
Nayantara Mukerji '17 March/April 2017 issue
Alice Felker '16 March /April 2016 issue
Hallie Martin '14 March /April 2014 issue
Katherine Kiernan '12 March /April 2012 issue
Cynthia Betubiza '10 March /April 2010 issue
Better Together is our new Parent Diversity Group
Better Together is the Stone Ridge parent diversity group for adults within the Stone Ridge community who want to help create a diverse and inclusive educational environment for their children by elevating issues regarding culture, identity, and equity in ways that unify the broader Stone Ridge community. The program launched in January 2019, and will hosted several meetings every school year with guest speakers and engaging conversations
No Place for Hate Pledge
2019 was Stone Ridge's fourth year as an Anti-Defamation League (ADL) No Place For Hate school. ADL's No Place For Hate initiative provides schools with a framework for combating bias, bullying, and hatred, which leads to long-term solutions to foster and maintain a positive climate. Through the Stone Ridge office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion and relationships with programs like ADL, SR sends a clear, unified message that all students, faculty, staff, administrators, and family members have a place and belong within our community. Learn more.
An Alumna Living out Goal III
For a recent Social Action assembly, Stone Ridge Upper School students and faculty enthusiastically welcomed back LaToya Thomas '01, who gave an engaging presentation into the importance of protecting human dignity in order to build a healthier, more inclusive community.
LaToya is the founder of Brick and Story, an urban consultancy practice that seeks to tell stories of the environment and the people within it. LaToya attributes her success with the organization to her time living in Northeast DC and her time here as a Stone Ridge girl, where she learned and experienced the value of living the Goals of Sacred Heart education, specifically Goal III, "a social awareness which impels to action."
LaToya's speech served as an excellent pathway to the theme of "igniting the flame of advocacy; sparking the fire of kinship" which is rooted in Catholic Social teaching. She inspired the students to start somewhere where you have passion and see where it lets your life take you.
Students left the assembly with a new-found confidence in their ability to address problems and were eager to begin their Social Action day. Of the presentation Talia Scott '18 said, "It was truly a pleasure to see an alumna living out the Goals of Sacred Heart in her everyday life and she inspired us to make change in the world one step at a time."
Goal III in Action on MLK Day of Service
On Martin Luther King National Day of Service, Stone Ridge students exemplified how the community works to achieve Goal III of Sacred Heart education--a social awareness which impels to action. Here, we highlight just two examples of caring students in action.
Jillian Perry Given Alpha Phi Alpha Community Services Award
For her dedication to serving others in the community, Stone Ridge junior Jillian Perry '19 was awarded the Alpha Phi Alpha Community Services Award at Monday's Alpha Phi Alpha Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast.
Jillian is a committed volunteer for numerous non-profit organizations in the Washington DC area, including A Wider Circle, where she helps organize donations and readies them for distribution to county residents in need; Food and Friends, Inc., preparing and delivering meals to people who are homebound or terminally ill; and, the Q?rius Lab at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, where she demonstrates and informs young museum visitors.
In her award acceptance speech, Jillian reflected on the importance of service, "On this Martin Luther King Day National Day of Service I am reminded of my Ethics class at Stone Ridge from a few years ago where we read Dr. King's Drum Major sermon where he states, 'Everyone can be great because everyone can serve. You don't have to know Einstein's Theory on Relativity to serve. You need only a heart full of grace, and a soul generated by love.' That's a great lesson for us all."
Jillian is a Board Member on Stone Ridge's Social Action Advisory Board, guiding students and faculty on ways to integrate social action themes into programs and school-wide activities. In addition, she serves as a Social Action Reflection Leader, conducting group discussions on social program achievements and how they can be improved to provide greater impact on the lives of others.
Jillian highlighted the role of others in her life who encourage her volunteer spirit. "I am fortunate enough to have many community servant role models all around me pushing me toward that type of greatness, including my parents, my sister Carmen who volunteers at Washington Animal Rescue League, and my Stone Ridge classmates who through our Social Action program really live Goal III of Sacred Heart education: "A social awareness which impels to action."
SR Students and Staff Volunteer at Coat of Many Colors
Ten Stone Ridge girls spent the day volunteering for Catholic Charities' Coat of Many Colors coat closet. The girls sorted through bags and boxes of coats, organizing them by size; put coats on racks from which clients could shop; assisted incoming clients with their shopping experiences by helping them find coats for themselves and family members; and assisted in checking clients out.
In the weeks prior to the day, SR held a coat donation drive, asking community members to consider the needs of others in this very cold winter by contributing gently used coats. Each winter, Catholic Charities collects and distributes over 1,000 winter coats to people in need of a little extra warmth. Hundreds of these coats are sold (for $2 or for free with a referral) at the Coat Closet.
When asked to reflect on her experience t Coat of Many Colors, Wanyana Njuki '19 stated, "Interacting and being with the clients helps them to be seen and recognized because they are often invisible and ignored by the public."
Kudos to these kind-hearted, hard-working servant leaders--Stone Ridge girls!