Presenting the Class of 2019

On Tuesday, June 11, our entire community came together to celebrate the achievements of Lake Washington Girls Middle School's Class of 2019.

Photo by Dan DeLong P’19.

Photo by Dan DeLong P’19.

Señora Charito delivers the faculty address to the graduates and guests.

The Knowing of You

At this moment, there is a deep divide and a rumbling awakening happening in the world. The opportunity for change is palpable. Over and over again, you have heard the call to action...and you have leaned in to that call.

I have seen in you a passionate questioning of images defining beauty and success in the media.

I have seen in you an unshakable knowing that the ability to freely love and identify in a way that feels like home to you, is a human right.

I have seen in you a justified raging at the injustice and violence disproportionately impacting religious minorities and people of color.

I have seen in you a courageous journeying to better understand your individual privilege and your place within the systems making the rules.

I have seen in you a defiant understanding of your intellect and your rightful place within all institutions.

I have seen in you a desire to stand up, to use your voice, and to act. And have continuously been in awe of the way you grapple with concepts that require a level of introspection and vulnerability most people do not dare expose.

So here is my call to action for you, my deepest wish for you all: Be brave. Be brave enough and radical enough to be present for your own life experience in the same way you are present for others. You see, your power is in the knowing of YOU.

Your power is in the ability to love every freckle, a strand of hair, square inch of skin, and curve, of YOU. It is only then that you can identify the pressures and fabricated standards imposed by others.

Your power is in valuing yourself enough to know that you are deserving of being treated equitably. It is only then that you will able to identify the inequities around you.

Your power is in unapologetically being able to recognize and savor joyful moments in the same way you pause for sorrow. It is only then that you are able to truly connect with the human experience and recognize the full scope of humanity in others.

Your power is in knowing your worth so deeply that you are not defined by, but rather lifted by, both praise and criticism. It is only then that you will be able to celebrate the triumphs and contributions of others equally to yours.

Your power is in recognizing that being still and taking time to breathe and notice the richness of your senses and the business of your mind allows you to engage in your life more intentionally. It is only then that you can notice the offerings of nature, notice the discomfort of facing a personal bias, and notice the smallest gesture of love.

Your power is in focusing on what truly reflects your values and beliefs, not on what or who is in the spotlight. It is only when you do NOT equate importance with who or what gets more attention by others, or who or what is the loudest in the room, or who or what is the latest trend, that you are able to build authentic relationships, recognize the value of what you and others bring to the table, and act in a way that aligns with your truth.

Your power is in owning every single one of your strengths with pride and your challenges without judgement. It is only when you own all of you that you can partner with others in a way that makes everyone better.

Your power is in freely and frequently expressing GRATITUDE, so much gratitude, and in persistently and consistently practicing SELF-COMPASSION. It is only by appreciating the multitude of gifts that life gives you (tiny and big ) that you are not held hostage by jealousy and feeling less than, and it is only by treating yourself with kindness and care that you can practice true compassion towards others--because then you know what it feels like.

Working on understanding, loving, and accepting YOU is not selfish it is powerful. I believe with all of me that every single one of you has just what is needed to make those around you feel connected and included. You have what is needed to notice injustices and speak uncomfortable truths. You have what is needed to embrace joy and express gratitude. You have what is needed to bridge the deep divides and fuel the rumbling awakening of the time.

So my call to action is not a small request: Be courageous, be daring, and be radical enough to invest in the knowing of YOU.

Photo by Dan DeLong P’19.

Ella
Cleveland High School

Marcellas
Garfield High School

Viviana
The Northwest School

Lola
Garfield High School

Amritha
Garfield High School

Kaitlin
Cleveland High School

Stella
Ingraham High School

Ella
Seattle Academy

Gretchen
The Bush School

Annabelle
The Northwest School

Kate
Lakeside School

Seneca
Garfield High School

Simon
Franklin High School 

Alex
Ballard High School 

Hi’ilei
Bishop Blanchet High School

Jacqueline
Daegu International School

Else
Franklin High School

Rosie
The Northwest School

Zoe
Ingraham High School 

Olivia
The Bush School

Imogen
Roosevelt High School

Grey
University Preparatory School

Nina
Bishop Blanchet High School

Zoë
The Downtown School

Ava
Franklin High School

LaMaya
Franklin High School

Beatriz
Cleveland High School 

Sofia
Garfield High School

Romi
Franklin High School

Clara
Garfield High School

Julia
Holy Names Academy

Kaylee
Franklin High School

Eva
Roosevelt High School

Syd
Franklin High School

Sadie

West Seattle High School

Ali
Lakeside School

Kohana
Garfield High School

Thank you to Dan DeLong P’19 for taking pictures of the event! Head on over to Smugmug to see them all.

One Act Festival 2019

When we begin rehearsals for the eighth grade One Act Festival, we don’t know what themes will emerge as most salient. During the explorations of character, fits of giggles, script interpretation, loud and raucous singing, moments of joy, and moments of frustration, the eighth grade gets to experience one last “group project” while enjoying being silly and playing over-the-top characters, remembering the Shakespeare they actually know, and being together both on-stage and back-stage. Being their directors give us the chance to share in the delights of giggling as well as the satisfaction of seeing our students finding their light.

This year, the eighth grade produced three one-acts in which characters dealt with the unexpected and worked through problems with determination, humor, and grit. In Six Very Busy Days, a troupe of actors don’t find out their parts until they draw them out of hat. Those actors learn the perennial lesson in all shows that there are, indeed, no such thing as small parts. In The Misadventures of Romeo and Juliet, a director must deal with a cast made up of Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz and Batman, as well as a crew determined to add explosives and a revolving stage to the production. Resilience is the key to this madcap production as the story of Romeo and Juliet becomes a race against an alien, vampire-werewolf. In Drop Dead, Juliet, Juliet herself takes over Shakespeare’s story of Romeo and Juliet, creating more parts for women and challenging the misogyny of Shakespeare’s time. Although Shakespeare might have been reluctant to admit it, Juliet actually is a strong character.

And just like the characters they played, the eighth graders got to learn about determination, humor, and grit. Not every cast or crew member got what they wanted in this show: Not enough songs. Too many songs. Not enough lines. Too many lines. Too much dancing. Oh, no -- that dress! I can’t wear that dress! Please don’t make me wear a mustache! And yet, in the end, it’s telling the story--and more importantly, the camaraderie built while creating the show--that matters. What fun it has been telling this story with the talented and creative Class of 2019! They collaborated to design and produce a beautiful show, from characters to props to sets to costumes to lighting to sound to choreography, and more.

Thank you to you all,
Patti Hearn, Jenny Zavatsky, and B Ervin

See all the photos on Smugmug.

Gala Thanks!

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Thank you to everyone who attended and contributed to last week’s Gala! It was so wonderful to spend an evening with people who believe in the power of our small but mighty school, in the superpowers our teachers possess, and in the superheroes we send out into the world. All of you ensured that our Financial Aid program is fully funded next year!

There are many individuals to thank for making sure our event was super fun and a financial success! I look forward to thanking all of you in person! Sending a special shout out to all those who contributed desserts for the dash, and wine for the grab, parties and adventures for community fun, a place to stay for our Heads or Tails winner, and incredible tickets to see Hamilton for a last minute surprise live item!

Thank you to our Gala Class Reps – Diankha Linear P’21, Christy Gardiner P’20, and Martha Jacobs P’19. Thank you to the FFA for rallying desserts, wine, and RSVPs! And a special thank you to sixth grade parent Marta Falkowska for helping us streamline and coordinate all things Gala.

To our Board Advancement Chair Jen Winter, for securing a photo booth for the event and for getting on stage to update all of you on our new digs! And thank you to our sponsors, Windermere Mount Baker, Brighton Jones, Lenati, Dreaming Tree Wine, and Roslyn Brewery!

Ms. Mutschler was our faculty speaker…and her speech was epic!

Lindsey Mutschler, Dean of Teaching and Learning

I can think of three times in my life when someone besides my mother has told me that I’m making a mistake. When this happens, I’ve learned to listen. My call to action as an educator happened 13 years ago when Patti called to tell me that I was making a mistake. I was 24 years old, I wore pigtails every day, and had showed up to my interview in a polka dot dress. As Patti told you, when she called to offer me the job, I turned it down. Although I had the necessary training and passion, I worried that I wasn’t the right person or that I couldn’t live up to the expectations. I felt like an imposter.

I was young, inexperienced, and completely intimidated. I told Patti I was going to work an administrative job in an office instead. Patti asked me to reconsider. She told me that I could choose that path, and I would be fine, but I would not be challenged. My skills as a teacher would go to waste. Hearing that someone saw something in me, and inviting me to take a leap of faith was just what I needed. I reconsidered.

So began my training as a teacher at L-Dub. As it turns out, college only prepares you for so much. The real training happens in the classroom with real students, real challenges, and real problem-solving. In my first few years of teaching I faced many obstacles, and I made many mistakes. Yet, with clear mentorship and investment in my powers, my confidence grew.

After ten years of teaching Art and then Humanities, my interest in teaching began to shift. Like Patti had it done with me, I wanted to invest in other teachers and support the work they were doing to meet the challenges they face. I got my Masters, and today I support our teachers as the Dean of Teaching and Learning.

I admit that standing up here, talking about my self-doubt and vulnerability, is not a comfortable experience. But I share my story with you because this is the same lack of confidence, this feeling of being an imposter, that we know girls face today.

I’m going to take a leap back into this idea of a superhero.

So, why does the world need superheroes?

Superheroes are everyday people possessing superhuman powers. They are dedicated to protecting the public and battling supervillains.

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Superheroes exist as a literary archetype because universal themes of good and evil speak to all of us. The origins of telling stories about ordinary humans with superhuman qualities can be traced all the way back to 2000 BCE in ancient Mesopotamia with The Epic of Gilgamesh. You might not know that comics were popularized in the United States in the 1940s by Jewish artists who were writing about the horrors of the Holocaust and Nazi genocide.

Early comics told stories of Wonder Woman, Batman, the X-men, and Captain America fighting the ultimate evil: racism and supremacy. A superhero always fights against evil, and the sense of “good” and “bad” is always clear.

I’d like to tell you how the  teachers – and especially those at L-Dub – are modern day superheroes. Follow me through this analogy: teachers fight the “evils” of society today. But, our teachers aren’t fighting Lex Luthor’s immeasurable ego and criminal mastermind or Dr. Doom’s thirst for world domination. Our teachers are working to empower students to obliterate  the obstacles they – and girls and women in general – face in society today as they take their place at the table and fight to be cast in leading roles.

1. Being Treated Equally  2. Building A Sisterhood  3. Generating Revenue  4. Being Confident  6. Building Alliances With Decision-Makers  7. Becoming A Member Of The C-Suite  8. Asking For Money  9. Standing In Their Success  10. Tackling Imposter Syndrome  11. Overcoming Perfectionism  12. Trusting Their Own Voice  13. Shifting Their Word Choice  14. Dealing With Negative Thoughts  15. Re-Entering The Paid Workforce

Just last year, Forbes magazine polled women who are top business and career coaches. They identified 15 challenges women leaders face today. While aspiring to be CEO isn’t the career path of every woman, we know that equity in leadership lends itself to better problem solving, collaboration, and negotiation. Yet, movement in the upward trend of women securing top leadership roles is slow. Forbes found that women in leadership today face a range of challenges:

Take a look at this list with me. What stands out to you? What stands out to me is that whether in the C-Suites of Fortune 500 companies or hallways lined with red-lockers in a Seattle middle school, our students face these same challenges. The 24 year old version of me faced these same challenges. #10: tackling imposter syndrome? I know that one too well.

So what are L-Dub teachers doing to prepare students for these barriers, or better yet, to eliminate them for this generation? Every day, our teachers help students recognize the strength of their voices. Every day they use their powers to foster the L-Dub sisterhood where students celebrate each other’s successes rather than tear each other down. Teachers create an environment for students to stand in their success when they finally solve that algebraic equation, defend their claim in Socratic seminar, or take a bow on stage. They teach our students that “fail smart, often, and hard” will make you strong. Our teachers instill in our students the superpower of resilience. Of curiosity. Of kindness. Of discovery. Our teachers are sending their students out into the world to see to it that  everyone – not just those with the loudest voices or the most power – is treated equally.

We know our students deserve a place at the table. We know their voices matter; but most importantly, we teach them that this means nothing unless they believe this is true for themselves. Confident, kind, happy, and strong in mind, body, and voice, we invest in our students’ powers. We call them to action. L-Dub teachers in this room tonight remind us that resilient, compassionate, brave, confident girls and women are dangerous...to oppressive structures. They should be feared. At L-Dub, our teachers are causing some good trouble.

Had I spent three years at L-Dub, I know my 24 year old self would have said “I ACCEPT!” when Patti offered me the job.


Vivian Sohn ‘18 was our student speaker, and she spoke to the superheroes she encountered at L-Dub, and the superhero she became…

Vivian Sohn, L-Dub Class of 2018

Hello Everyone. I’m Vivian Sohn, L-Dub Class of 2018, and currently one of the founding freshman of The Downtown School. L-Dub has been an incredible part of my family’s life since 2011 when my sister, Emmy, started 6th grade here. My dad coached the volleyball team and my mom was on the board for several years. My entire family loves L-Dub. But I want to talk to you about what it has meant to me.

I have always wanted to be a superhero.

However I became truly obsessed at the age of nine when I saw The Avengers for the first time. I was fascinated by the different powers that could make all their problems disappear.

I wanted to deflect bullets with bracelets and rescue kids from burning buildings. I wanted to always know the right thing to do. I wanted to be invincible.

I began to dream in comic book strips, spending all my time fighting alongside my favorite heroes, Captain America, Loki, Black Widow. What would Percy Jackson do became what would Peggy Carter do. When I could choose between our scary, overwhelming world and one where billionaires have iron suits and raccoons could talk, I always chose the latter.   

Then I came to L-Dub, and boy did all that change.

Suddenly my heroes were in the next classroom instead of a world away.

On a sixth grade backpacking trip, I sprained my ankle halfway between camp and the bathroom. In the safety of daylight we had naively decided that the best place for the restroom would be through an obstacle course of uneven ground and decomposing logs. So, at four in the morning, I sat there crying, convinced my ankle was broken. My campmate Amelia woke Ms Jenny up and together they came to rescue me. Step by step they led me back, half carrying, half dragging. We got to camp and Ms Jenny wrapped up my ankle, making me laugh through the pain, and I felt safe. A superhero had saved me.

My heroes stayed up late answering emails and grading work. My heroes drove busses full of screaming girls. My heroes told us to project and to protest, to refuse to be timid. My heroes told me that they were proud of me and told the rest of the world the same. My heroes were my teachers, my mentors, my L-Dub community.

In eighth grade, I spent months preparing to break my board. As the date of my belt test inched closer and closer, I worried more and more, so I sought out the advice of one of my superheroes. The one who started an all girls school in a church basement, teaching every class, including martial arts. She told me that every one person has the strength to break a board. Choosing to believe in that strength, in yourself, even when it seems impossible, that’s what allows you to succeed. I broke the board on my first try.

After I graduated, I found myself in a new world – one that sometimes feels scary and overwhelming. But I know what to do.  

I attend the Downtown School, the first “micro school” in this state; a small no-frills offshoot of Lakeside, where it is up to us – the inaugural students – to make it what we want it to be. Here, I channel my L-Dub heroes and take action: Now I’m the one staying up late writing emails, starting clubs, managing the chaos of putting on a school play, helping people when they need a hand, and speaking out about the injustices I see. It’s a lot like L-Dub. I’m still learning through mistakes, developing critical thinking, and adapting to changing circumstances. But I have the powers to handle it.

I want to thank my L-Dub teachers for being the mentors everyone needs. Thank you for the pep talks and applause. Thank you for the advice on every subject imaginable. Thank you for the hard truths and soft hugs. Thank you for a new definition of superhero. because, now I know I am a superhero, too.

And it’s not just me. Every girl who has walked through the halls of signature red lockers is a superhero. Because of L-Dub, we know we have strength within us. We ripple through this world, ready to change people’s minds, teach them to protest, and we refuse to be timid. Because of the people in this room tonight, we can make a difference, even when the situation seems impossible.

So teachers in the room, please stand! Thank you for being our superheroes!


And finally, the video…our L-Dub Superheroes!

Farewell Shikata ga nai

Last Friday, our students were treated to a performance of Farewell Shikata ga nai, an ode to creator Gabrielle Kazuko Nomura Gainor’s Japanese family and community’s persecution in American concentration camps during WWII. The work combines dance, Asian American theater, and live taiko drumming from Seattle Kokon Taiko – a group with which LWGMS founding parent Stan Shikuma P’01 performs – and deals with Nomura’s feelings about what happened to her jichan (grandfather) and her great-grandparents, along with 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II.

The piece was powerful and beautiful, and we were honored to be given access to it. Thank you to Ms. Christine for connecting us with Gabrielle Kazuko, and for the group of dancers and performers who touched us so deeply.

Social Justice Film Festival 2019

The Sixth Annual Lake Washington Girls Middle School Film Festival brings you fourteen social justice films made by the Class of 2019. As filmmakers and storytellers, the eighth graders worked together to make films that inspire us to act, to think, and to discuss ideas that raise issues about our criminal justice system, hate speech, treatment of women, racism, immigration, and gun violence. With their classmates, the eighth graders select a topic, generate a thesis, create a storyboard, integrate interviews, videos, and still photos, and edit a five-minute film that showcase their skills in using technology and creativity. Using film as a means of social change, students have worked hard to create passionate and creative films that inspire us all to see things differently, to challenge old ideas, and to take action.

Thank you to all the teachers who offered help to the eighth grade, whether it was technical or creative. Thanks to Ms. Ali for her connections to the Majestic Bay and the opportunity to have the filmmakers see their work in a real movie theater. Thanks to Mr. E for solving technical problems, Ms. Blaisdell for making the festival run smoothly, and filmmaker Eli Kimaro for bringing four other filmmakers to L-Dub to offer invaluable feedback for the student filmmakers.

–Ms. Jenny

BEST OVERALL FILM

Can You See White Privilege? by Gretchen, Seneca, and Kate. The best overall film tells the most compelling story with all the elements of an effective 4-minute movie.

BEST CALL TO ACTION

Let’s Make a Deal by Clara and Grey The best call to action is for the film that inspires you to act.

BEST THESIS

Arming America With the Truth by Ava, Simon, and Imogen The best thesis award is for the film that has the strongest argument, with a clear claim and supporting evidence.

MOST ORIGINAL IDEA

“So, like...What Are You?” by Maia and Nina The most original idea goes to the film with the most creative way to make its point.

L-Dub D&D In The News

Mr. E and D&D In The News!
Kudos to Mr. E and D&D for the press they're garnering...but more importantly, for the fun they're having!

Article on LWGMS D&D in The Stranger
You may have seen coverage of Mr. E and the D&D Club in The Stranger (if not, pick up a copy and check it out)! The article is available here online (photos are from last year, but coverage is current).

Podcast Covering LWGMS D&D Club/Class
The Behold Her podcast did an episode on Mr. E and the D&D Club that was just released. It's older audio from last year but was just published.

The ESJ Community Bulletin, March 2019

13th-infographic.

13th-infographic.

In January, the Fuerza Family Association (FFA) Equity and Social Justice Committee hosted a rich discussion group about the documentary 13TH by Director Ava DuVernay. 13TH powerfully chronicles the intersection of race, justice, and mass incarceration in our country. DuVernay masterfully weaves a brilliant collection of interviews with activists, intellectuals, and politicians who analyze the criminalization of African Americans and the US prison boom, and persuasively traces a bright line between slavery and our current system of mass incarceration. 13TH brought L-Dub parents together in a thoughtful dialogue about the film and the ways we are challenged to live out equity and justice daily.

ESJ is starting a regular piece for all of us to share ways that our families are working on social justiceWe encourage you to share your stories and examples, too!

A political cartoon from 1882, showing a Chinese man being barred entry to the "Golden Gate of Liberty". The caption reads, "We must draw the line somewhere ...”

A political cartoon from 1882, showing a Chinese man being barred entry to the "Golden Gate of Liberty". The caption reads, "We must draw the line somewhere ...”

Submitted by Helen P ‘20:

13TH encouraged our family to dig deeper into our own story of inequity and struggle and to continue to understand the inequity in our community. 13TH compelled us to grieve, pray, gather and be part of making justice and peace with others. 

We continue to understand our own refugee and immigrant story as first, second, and third generation Chinese Americans. We continue to reflect on the trauma that the Chinese community faced during the first U.S. exclusion law passed by the 47th Congress, (Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 was the first significant law restricting immigration into the United States. In the spring of 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act was passed by Congress and signed by President Chester A. Arthur.) This act provided an absolute 10-year moratorium on Chinese labor immigration. implemented to prevent members of a specific ethnic group from immigrating to the United States. Knowing the history gives us a way to understand and grieve the generational pain and impact. We sit and wrestle with it all.

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Our family is finding ways to live out justice daily. At times we struggle to make the time, but when we do, we’re inspired by individuals in our neighborhood who move us to connect and act. A few things we are doing right now:

  • We are connecting with a community that we don’t know very well. The Cambodian community is thriving and finding ways to build their community strength. So we’re finding ways to create and connect with them.

  • We’ve connected with a King County organization, Choose 180, that transforms the lives of youth and young adults by partnering with institutional leaders, connecting them with community, empowering them with choice, and teaching them the skills necessary to avoid engagement with the criminal justice system.

  • Also, we’ve joined a project through Solitary Gardens, connecting those who are incarcerated and in solitary confinement to pen pals.

The Odyssey

Homer’s Odyssey is the classic story of the hero cycle. Odysseus faces the archetypal quest to get home as his journey requires him to meet challenges and overcome obstacles. From the one-eyed Polyphemus to the sorceress Circe, through Scylla and Charybdis and the temptations on Calypso’s island, Odysseus uses his quick wit to finally return to Ithaca. Like all heroes, and like any of us navigating a complex world, Odysseus cannot do it alone; it is with the help of friends and family that we make our way through life’s hero cycle. Although the epic poem is almost 3,000 years old, Homer’s story is still relevant today as we all face monsters, obstacles, and tough choices with a hero’s grace, wit, and reliance on our friends. This play had the help of many to make it shine like Hermes winged feet! The sixth graders had the tough job of multiple parts, lots of dance moves, and so many costume changes! They brought ideas (like fake mustaches) and energy to every scene. The seventh grade made the play come to life when they created unique characters and brought a sense of fun to every rehearsal. The eighth grade crew did it all: painted, sewed, glued, built, filmed, played, strummed, and choreographed. 

If this play is a hero, it had the help of some really magical advisors to lead it along its journey. We could not have done this show without the magical skills of our Artistic Director, Ms. B who spends her time organizing a thousand pairs of shoes while creating a headpiece for every god on Mount Olympus. Ms. Meredith lead the choreography, and Lindsay Somberg came from the University of Washington every Tuesday and Thursday to run lines and block scenes. Theater week comes together because Ms. Colleen and Ms. Eva coordinate the many moving parts, while Ms. Mutchler and Sra. Jacquie make sure the actors are where they should be and are saying what they’re supposed to say (with volume and enunciation). Thanks to all the faculty and staff who ran to Stumptown for coffee, drove buses and cars to and from the theater, and came to see the show (often more than once!). And lastly, thanks to parents, families, and friends who are the real heroes in a middle schooler’s life.

Here’s to finding our way home, no matter what obstacles get in our way! 

Head to Smugmug to see all the photos.



In Support of All Communities

Dear Friends,

It is too often that we find ourselves waking to news of suffering in communities around the world, and today, we are saddened and angered by a hate crime at two mosques in New Zealand. For adults, it can be a challenge to process and filter this flood of information in a functional way; for youth, it is even more difficult as they can be especially vulnerable to the messaging they may receive via media. This event, in particular, has a significant social media presence that is grisly and disturbing. It is my strong suggestion that you filter your student’s access to online images and video that are related to this violence.

At school, we hope to find a balance of acknowledging how students might be feeling with providing a predictable routine -- although today’s Pi/Spy Day celebrations bring us an unusual schedule. In addition, we want to provide a space for students to process their experience, ask questions, and feel connected to others who feel impacted. In an all school meeting that kicked off the day today, we let students know that this hate crime took place, with just brief and factual information. We also let them know that there would be space and resources in the day for students to process their experience, if they want to do so.

In addition to processing and understanding events as they occur in real time, we try to provide ways, in our established curriculum, to teach and learn about human rights and attacks on them as well as the power of activism and compassion. If you would like to know more about the school’s dialogue and investigation of inequities, genocides, and revolutions in history and how we address these topics in class, please feel free to reach out to your students’ teachers. You are also welcome to peruse some of the resources we use regularly, including the Pyramid of Hate and the Universe of Obligation framework.

I am sorry to say that most of you already have the following list of resources, as this is not the first time this year I have needed to share it:

Please let us know if you or your student need any further support. We know that our community's strength lies in in our connections with each other. LWGMS remains steadfast in our commitment that all of our students are cared for, safe, and respected as members of our school community. We remain steadfast in our belief that education and learning about the experiences of others will make a difference in the world. And we remain steadfast in our mission to empower our students, so that they may stand up for those who need it.

Patti Hearn Head of School Lake Washington Girls Middle School
 

Patti Hearn
Head of School

Future Ready Luncheon

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Thank you to those of you who attended Lake Washington Girls Middle School’s Sisterhood Luncheon yesterday. We missed those who couldn’t make it due to the snowpocalypse date change, and appreciate everyone’s flexibility and good humor!

We hope our students, our program, and Kajal Deepak inspired you and that you left feeling part of a community committed to preparing girls to make an impact in the world they want to live in. I appreciated these words from Kajal: "Big things happen because people do their small parts."  We are thrilled to have you on this journey with us and hope you’ll stay engaged!

New Home Beam Signing!

Today was an exciting day in our construction project! Members of the Classes of 2019, 2020, and 2021 spent some time at our new campus to sign the last structural steel beam to be installed in the new building. In construction custom, they signed their names in permanent ink – red, of course – to make their own personal marks on the project, and indeed, on the future of LWGMS. Joel Palmer and Brandon Elley, Exxel Pacific Project Manager and Sr. Project Engineer engineered and managed our group, and VP Bill Bieber even drove by to take in the festivities! (Link in bio for more pictures.) On February 6, during a small Topping Off ceremony, the construction team, supervisors, tradesmen, architects, LWGMS and Giddens board members, donors, and other distinguished guests will also sign the beam, just prior to raising it to its final placement, marking a new phase of the project. Thank you Exxel Pacific for including us in this tradition!

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe tells the story of four children who wander into a wardrobe and discover Narnia, a land cursed by an evil witch. It turns out that the only way to defeat this evil force is for the children to work together and put their faith in love, magic, and a unicorn! It’s a bit like students at L-Dub who put their faith in each other as they tackle the adventures of middle school and rely on love and friendships to make the world a better place.  And, it never hurts to use the power of unicorns, too! This cast made the adventure through Narnia come alive as the sixth graders brought energy and enthusiasm to every song and dance whether they were wood nymphs, animals, or minions. The seventh grade came to every rehearsal with ideas and creativity as we revamped some Beatles songs, adding music to the adventure of putting on an L-Dub play. We may not be the “Fab Four,” but we did put a little band together with ukuleles, guitars, drums, a cello, and a piano to add live music to the L-Dub stage. The eighth grade crew did it all: painted, sewed, glued, built, filmed, strummed, and choreographed. As the crew members worked on all things technical, from lighting the show, setting sound and music cues, and creating projections, the rest of us at the theater get to sit back and enjoy the magic of Narnia.

While the students put their all into getting ready for this show, they did need some help from many teachers, parents, and volunteers. We could not have done this show without our Artistic Director, the patient and talented Ms. B, who spends her time at places like Goodwill and Michaels finding the best costumes and art supplies to make the actors shine even brighter. Theater week comes together because Ms. Colleen and Ms. Eva coordinate the many moving parts, while Ms. Mutschler and Sra. Jacquie make sure the actors are where they should be and are saying what they’re supposed to say (with volume and enunciation). Thanks to all the faculty and staff who ran to Stumptown for coffee, drove buses and cars to and from the theater, and came to see the show (often more than once!). And lastly, thanks to parents, families, and friends who fill the theater with laughter and love.  

Here’s to using love to make the world a better place!

My culture is not a costume

On Monday, Ms. Nisha joined King5 Take5 hosts Angela Russell and Michelle Li in their studio to talk about L-Dub's work around cultural appropriation in costumes. Ms. Nisha was amazing and we're so proud that she was able to bring L-Dub's work to the greater Seattle community.

This week, I did a television interview about cultural costumes on Halloween. I have struggled with people simplifying and appropriating the Indian culture through food, dress, accents, and stereotypes for a long time, and it felt good to finally put some feelings into action. Interestingly, growing up in Canada, I didn’t find myself aware of kids wearing cultural costumes on Halloween. I was aware, however, of characters like Apu on the Simpsons and the myriad of ways I felt like my culture was simplified and exotified for general consumption. As a young person, and someone trying not to call attention to my culture, it was hard to put words to these feelings.
— Ms. Nisha

We're so lucky to have teachers like Ms. Nisha at L-Dub. Ms. Nisha leads the faculty/staff Equity and Social Justice Committee; the student Explorations of Race Club; mindfulness work for students and faculty; and the Restorative Justice work done by students and adults. Thank you for all you do!

Love Not Hate

Dear Friends,

Once again, we find ourselves saddened and outraged at news of suffering in communities around the country, including the hate crimes in Pittsburgh and Louisville, the pipe-bomb terrorist attacks, and toxic rhetoric preceding and following these events. For adults, it can be a challenge to process this news in a functional way; for youth, it is even more difficult as they can be especially vulnerable to the messaging they may receive via media. At school, we hope to find a balance of acknowledging how students might be feeling with providing a predictable routine. In addition, we want to provide a space for students to process their experience, ask questions, and feel connected to others who feel impacted.

There are many ways, in our established curriculum, that we teach and learn about human rights and attacks on them as well as the power of activism and compassion. However--in addition to a dialogue and investigation of inequities, genocides, and revolutions in history--there is also a big need for our students to process and understand the events and systems that lead to suffering, hate, and violence in our own communities in the present day, in real time.

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In Monday Morning Meeting, we acknowledged that many of our students are aware of recent violence and that troubling events happen in the world that are out of our immediate control. Sra. Charito and Ms. Nisha led us all in a heartfulness practice, aimed at compassion and love. As they introduced that moment of heartfulness, they let students know that we will be re-establishing a group that meets to address current events and students’ responses to them. In addition, we are planning for eighth graders to dedicate some of their Monday project periods to this work. Finally, teachers approach classroom discussions in response to what students bring to them, and so some classes will address events as they emerge. It is our hope that these varied venues will allow those who wish to explore these topics a time and place to do so. If you would like to know more about how we address these topics in class, please feel free to reach out to your students’ teachers. You are also welcome to peruse some of the resources we use regularly, including the Pyramid of Hate and the Universe of Obligation framework.

As kids hear about tragic and violent events, they may have questions and difficult feelings. Should these come up at school or home, it's important to acknowledge the feelings and connect students with support. At school, Ms. Ali and Sra. Charito are available to talk with students as needed. If you are talking with your child at home about tragedy or violence in the news, you might want to use some of these resources:

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Please let us know if you or your student need any further support. We know that our community's strength lies in in our connections with each other. LWGMS remains steadfast in our commitment that all of our students are cared for, safe, and respected as members of our school community. We remain steadfast in our belief that education and learning about the experiences of others will make a difference in the world. And we remain steadfast in our mission to empower our students, so that they may stand up for those who need it. In our school and in the world, cowardly and heinous acts of violence, intimidation, and terror can not be tolerated. Racism, anti-semitism, and bigotry of any kind can not be tolerated. As Pittsburgh’s Mayor Bill Peduto said, “We know that we as a society are better than this. We know that hatred will never win out.”

Best regards,
Patti Hearn




Day of the Girl 2018 (and 2012!)

REI Gear Designers Visit STEAM 8

Capt. Beverley Bass To Visit L-Dub

L-Dub Seeking Female Role Models in STEAM!

The L-Dub STEAM Department is excited to host another year of inspiring and informative STEAM Cafés. During one lunch period per month, the STEAM Department will host STEAM Cafés for students to meet with female leaders in STEM fields and learn about their research or work. STEAM Cafés are a wonderful opportunity to open our students' minds to new careers and introduce students to role models. Also, STEAM Cafés are a great way to invite community members into our building without impacting class schedules or curriculum. Last year, we were honored to meet a math professor, HIV doctor, cancer researcher, computer architect, salmon ecologist, and medical devices engineer. This year, we especially welcome womxn who have followed their passion and can speak to how they apply their skills in problem-solving, empathy, collaboration, and project management.

We’re currently recruiting volunteer professionals to participate in STEAM Cafés to share their research or work with a group of 6-10 students during our lunch period once a month on Tuesdays. This year, the program is widening the lens to include people who have followed their passion and can speak to how they apply their skills in problem-solving, empathy, collaboration, and project management.

If you know of someone who may be interested in participating, please share this with them and/or point them to the sign up form!