June 19, 2020

Senior Commencement
On Friday, June 12, the Class of 2020 celebrated Commencement with their nearest and dearest on the lawn in front of Hopelands. Making the most of our extensive campus, each student was allocated a “pod” of chairs located more than six feet from their nearest neighbors so all participants could relax and enjoy the festivities while still practicing social distancing.

A memorable as well as unique occasion, the event was live streamed for extended family, friends, and faculty and a jumbo screen projected the event for optimal viewing.

The Commencement Ceremony was live streamed on the School website and social media platforms, as well as being shown on a big screen at Hopelands.

Each student was able to come to the stage to receive their diploma and hear adulations written about them by their advisor. The heartfelt sentiments resonated with students and families after months of separation and distance learning. The families were pleased to be able to maintain a majority of the traditions of commencement, including the Rose Ceremony, where students present roses to parents and faculty/staff who they wish to honor.

This year, they wrote notes on Rose Cards that were shared with the honorees. The day finished with a video created by the students and a parade through the campus where faculty and staff, complete with decorated cars and signs, lined the parking lot, and saluted the Class of 2020 for a final recessional through the grounds some have called home for as long as 15 years.  #RHCDSeniors

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2020 Honor Society Nominations:
Rocky Hill Country Day School Lifer Awards
Elsa B.
Pascale B.
Maxwell L.

Rocky Hill Country Day School               Dumas Family
Alumni Athletic Award                            World Language Award
Kobe P.                                                        Rebecca A.

Class of 2020 Valedictorian, Sam W.

Henry and Peggy Sharpe English Award
Sam. W

Gregor/Coes Award in Mathematics
Benjamin P.

Dr. Richard R. MacMahon Science Award
Elsa B.


Roberta Wintersteen Knight ’61
History and Social Sciences Award        Valedictorian
Rebecca A.                                                  Sam W.

Flynn Award
for Sportsmanship                                     Howland Music Award
Maxwell L., Emma S.                               Neha B.

M. Dorothy Young Award                        William W. Mauran Bowl
Nick M., Kobe P.                                        Isabella R.

Community Service Award                     Lillian Boynton Hale Art
Neha B.                                                       Olivia M.

2020 Commencement Planning Committee:
Martha Cunningham, Beth DeGerlia, Todd de Wardener, Susan Fonseca, Michael Lawson, Diane Rich, Elena Rich

Lower School and Middle School Parades
Last week, Lower School and Middle School students, families, and friends respectively participated in their very own parades through campus and past the portico. On what proved to be two moving and memorable occasions, students and their teachers alike enjoyed an opportunity to connect, celebrate, and reflect upon an unusual, yet love-filled academic year. See you all in the fall!

Lower School Parade Gallery

Middle School Parade Gallery

Lower School Moving-Up Ceremony
Over 40 people logged in to be a part of the 5th Grade’s special day! Each student wrote and read a “Here’s To” to one of their classmates, while Abby M. ’27 was the recipient of the Lower School Joan Osowa Citizenship Award.

Lower School Moving-Up Day Parade

“I am so happy we had the opportunity to recognize and celebrate our students for all they accomplished and all they brought to our Lower School community this year….even from a distance! To each of you, I offer a great big thank you for all the ways you made us smile. I’d also like to offer my heartfelt thanks to all the grown-ups who set the stage.

I wish everyone the best as you head into summer and look forward to you“moving up” in our Lower School. To our 5th Grade friends, you’ve made your mark in our Lower School and you’re ready for the adventures that lie ahead. For those of you moving on, remember, our door and our hearts will always be open, and you will always have roots at RHCD. Happy Summer!  —  Patricia Pontarelli, Head of Lower School

Middle School Moving-Up Video

In case you missed it, check-out the Middle School Moving-Up Ceremony video! Expect cheers, thrills, and amazing memories as our talented Middle School students make the big move into the Upper School.

“The Middle School wants to applaud our students and faculty for the work they did this spring through distance learning. We are a community of learners, and the commitment of the students to continue to engage each day and make the most of our time together was inspiring.  As we head into summer vacation, the faculty and administration will be refining their strategies for distance and blended learning through a variety of professional development opportunities, even as we anxiously anticipate our return to campus and being together with our students.  The Middle School wishes all a safe and wonderful summer vacation.”  —  Mike Jedrey, Head of Middle School
Seniors Celebration Video
In recognition of a very special group of graduating Seniors, sit back, relax, and enjoy a comprehensive reflection on over a decade of memories and friendships.

Introducing Hack For Global Good 2020: FOOD
We are excited to announce that HGG 2020 is going virtual this November! Returning for it’s third year, RHCD’s statewide social impact hackathon will address this following question:

How does FOOD affect people, production, and policy? 

The event will also include a design sprint to engage even more amazing partners, mentors, and students across Rhode Island.
This year high school teams will explore challenges in the Food space as they relate to the PEOPLE affected by food and/or who work with food (farmers, agricultural technologists, vendors and food pantries, growers) to achieve the overall goal of zero-hunger, PRODUCTION of food (vertical farming, hydroponic techniques, robotics, GMO, seed saving/genetic ownership, innovative farming techniques, clean food) with the overall goal of zero-waste, and POLICY around sustainable food systems, food access, and equity.
Lucia C. ’21 assumes the mantle of 2020 HGG Chair of Student Leadership Team!
Guiding this unique statewide experience RHCD’s Innovator-in-Residence, Ailsa Petrie; Director of Innovation, Meg Stowe; and Global Impact Advisor/Director of Communications, Susan Fonseca.
Here is a list of impact partners joining us this November:

Summer by the Bay: Register for Summer Camp! 
June 29 marks the beginning of another season of summer camp options at RHCD! We are excited to offer an array of camps this summer that meet the state-mandated guidelines for social distancing. This year’s offerings include our traditional day camps for ages 6-9, camps that focus on the outdoors, kayaking, woodworking, crafts, computer camps, and sports.

Also *new* this summer is our Family Maker Series with Stephanie Cruff:
Space in the RHCD camps is quickly filling up.  Please visit the summer camp website to learn more and register. 

RHCD in the Press
It’s been a busy couple of weeks at Rocky Hill Country Day, and the press has been following our every movement! Here is what the media has been saying about everything RHCD:

Share Positive Thoughts!
Good news about the Rocky Hill Country Day distance learning experience is that it is bringing new families to our School! Thank you for continuing to share your RHCD stories with friends, family and neighbors. Word-of -mouth is our best advertising and it is working.  The Admissions Department appreciates your help and your personal referrals. Keep it up!

Free Mindfulness Practice led by Dr. Chris Willard
We are delighted to have Dr. Christopher Willard leading us in a mindfulness practice on June 20, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. Let’s gather on Zoom (click for event link) as parents, administrators, educators, and community leaders for a shared guided practice!  While we are postponing our in-person conference, we look forward to gathering virtually for a 30-minute collective moment of centering and reflection. Register here.

Meeting ID: 824 8360 2622
Password: breathe

Honor Societies Nominations
Congratulations to the following students who have been nominated as members of the French Honor Society and Hispanic Honor Society:

Hispanic Honor Society

Elsa B. ’20

French Honor Society

Nicholas M. ’20

Emma S. ’20

Zachary W. ’20

Kobe P. ’20

Pascale B. ’20

Cortlandt M. ’20

Christoff B. ’20

Beatrice B. ’22

Ava G-R. ’21

Molly P. ’22

Stefania A. ’21

Congratulations also to the teachers who helped these students to develop their passion for French and Spanish over their years in Upper School: Elena Rich, Charlotte Buecheler, Hannah Hudson, Maria Abregu, and Thomas Farrell.

About the Societies: The Société Honoraire de Français, sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of French (AATF), and the Sociedad Honoraria, sponsored by the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese (AATSP), are honor societies for high school students enrolled in French and Spanish classes. Students who achieve high standards academically and are engaged in the promotion of the language and culture are nominated for society membership, which allows them to participate in events and apply for scholarships.

The Senior Project 2020 Reboot
“When COVID-19 disrupted our lives, it did not upend a program or crush the ideals of our Seniors; it provided an unequaled opportunity for an exceptional group of individuals to exercise their personal agency and exploit the self-directed model we offered them. Some continued with remote internships, many uncovered new passions and discovered hidden talents, while others engaged in mini-apprenticeships and designed, created, and built. The competencies, especially “navigator” and “communicator” were at the forefront, as were their levels of innovation and self-awareness. We were so impressed by the scope and depth of their learning achieved in just two weeks.” — Bel Snyman, Senior Project Coordinator

On June 10th, the Class of 2020 presented an online showcase that included live presentations, videos, websites, and blogs. Below is an event program, as well as ways to access and enjoy the projects.

Project Samples:
Cole L.
Rocky Hill Fishing 101
Neha B. Quarantine Cookbook (read: Issuu)
Willa G. The Making of an Album
Nick M. : The Importance of Gun Safety Laws and How Congressman Cicilline Has Fought For Their Improvement
Cortlandt M. : Marketing Conservation with The Ocean Agency 
Olivia M. A Documentary of Farming in Rhode Island (watch: YouTube)
Rebecca A. The Library Diaries: The Remote Tales of an Intern at the Providence Athenaeum
Elsa Block : “Through the Seasons” at Rocky Hill Country Day: A 14-Year Journey (Video and animation; “The Circle Game” by Joni Mitchell)
Pascale B. : Branding and Marketing: DiCollective (link: website)
Ada R. : Life’s What You Bake It: Vegan Baking and Cooking (link: website)

Click here to view all projects.

Supporting Disadvantaged Groups in STEM Classrooms

Over the past couple of weeks, each of Anna Slaybaugh’s Math classes conducted a mini-PBL addressing the driving question, “How do we best support disadvantaged groups in STEM classrooms?” Students researched and analyzed statistics, learning how statistics don’t always “paint the correct picture” and that we need to look for context.

The PBL began with students reading articles about the importance of diversity and then undertook discussions about how to foster that environment in math classes. Next, they watched a video from Dr. Bettina Love and talked about disadvantaged groups and what causes unnecessary struggles in math classes. Students then performed preliminary research about various disadvantaged groups in STEM classes and careers, talking about the importance of statistics, the context that goes with them, and how can we analyze statistics in order to get the full picture. Research included how misleading statistics can still be true, and how they are presented does not always give a clear picture. They also analyzed data from the Pew Research Center.

The groups conducted weekly meetings to talk about actionable solutions to things that we can do at Rocky Hill as well as globally. Students talked about how we cannot compare the status of education and inclusion across the country with what they experience at Rocky Hill Country Day. They also discussed how aspects of RHCD can create a safe learning environment for some groups and thoughts on what we as a community could do better.

“STEM is extremely important in education, even if these students don’t move onto STEM careers. In an ever-changing, increasingly complex world, it’s more important than ever that our youth are prepared to bring knowledge and skills to solve problems, make sense of information, and know how to gather and evaluate evidence to make decisions. These are the kinds of skills that students develop in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. We must make sure that, no matter where children live, what learning differences they may have, or if they are a part of a disadvantaged group, they have access to quality learning environments.  —  Anna Slaybaugh, Math Teacher

Click to view all of the final projects.

The American Revolution: Digital Explorations of Historic Landmarks 
While respecting the importance of the directives, the Fourth Grade didn’t let “Stay-at-Home” orders to keep them from visiting, and building, some of our country’s important American Revolution landmarks. Students were challenged to answer the driving question:
“How can we use research and Minecraft to help people unable to travel due to COVID-19 stay at home orders see and learn about important American Revolution landmarks?”

Beyond having fun, the students’ learning objectives included uncovering the historical importance of landmarks by researching and replicating them using Minecraft, incorporating research into Minecraft landmarks, and developing a public product to be shared.

The project included several “must-haves” and the use of at least two online resources. Info required in the Minecraft landmark focused on answering the following questions:

  • Where is it?
  • Why is it important?
  • What occurred there and when?
  • Who was there?
  • When was the landmark important?
  • What is it today?

“Fourth graders spent two weeks researching, writing, designing, building, and sharing. The results were fun and impressive.”  —  Charlie Laurent, Lower School Teacher

Sharing Lessons from “TED”
Borrowing from the famous slogan, “ideas worth spreading” Bel Snyman’s Sophomore English class ended their year by focusing once again on the power of their authentic voices. The students examined how and why they connected personally to an issue and explored various tools to communicate their ideas and make their listeners care. Instead of delivering a talk in the lecture hall, the sophomores demonstrated ingenuity and adaptability in their selected medium of communication: prerecorded video or audio, and live presentation in an online meeting. Their stories and ideas conveyed a strong sense of self, as well as an ethical imperative to make a difference in the world.

Click images to watch the videos (opens in new tab)
“How Can We Use Social Media to Improve Our Body Image” by Cassandra R. ’22
“How AI Can Make Us Better” by Tom X. ’22
“Media Consumption” by Julian G. ’22
“On Ageism” by Thomas F. ’22

Art Foundation Capstone
Art Foundations is the prerequisite studio course for all incoming students at Rocky Hill Country Day Upper School. The course includes a quarter of drawing and painting, ceramics and sculpture, alternative media such as collage, and a final “capstone” quarter. Every year the cohort of students is challenged with an overarching theme. Each student works on a focused, independent project with materials of their choosing that tackles the theme in a specific way and demonstrates their unique artistic voice. This year, distance learning prompted an adapted version of this year-end project.
This year, the Capstone happened virtually and the efforts of the students are showcased on Art Foundations Capstone 2020 Google Site Please check out our students’ amazing work!

Portfolio Drawing & Painting
Over the course of the semester, Portfolio Drawing & Painting students developed a series of works based on an investigation or visual theme. The students spent a great deal of time brainstorming and reflecting on topics that were important to them. Both inquiry and research drove the student’s artwork, and their work developed through experimentation, revision, and reflection. Please visit to see what each student worked so hard to create.

(Remote) Medley from Hamilton 
When picking repertoire for the spring choral concert, Hamilton was an obvious choice. It is well-known and popular among the students, of an appropriately challenging difficulty, and it was composed and performed by artists from a range of community backgrounds.
A major consideration was to pick pieces that celebrated African-American ingenuity and highlighted the influence of Black art on American society. These considerations became more prevalent after the switch to distance learning.

Hamilton’s message was especially poignant and it was the piece the chorus was most familiar with, therefore it would be the easiest piece to transition to distance learning. The students were incredibly engaged and responsive throughout the entire process. It was this attitude that made the virtual chorus a resounding success. Despite the spring choral concert being cancelled along with much of the end of the year festivities, this project is something the chorus students can look back on with pride.

“I told them at the beginning of distance learning that the greatest challenges can be the greatest opportunities in disguise,” explains music teacher James Himmelmann, “and they all made the most of this opportunity. I couldn’t be more proud of them.”

Students that participated in the virtual chorus: Rebecca A. ’20, Christoff B. ’20, Neha B. ’20, Elsa B. ’20, Lucia C. ’21, Lizzy D. ’22, Willa G. ’20, Isabel G. ’23, Jayci I. ’23, Paige J. ’22, Ben P ’20, Ada R. ’20, Cassandra R. ’22, Bella R ’20, Deidre S. ’23, Emma S. ’20, Bridget V. ’21, Sam W. ’20, Zack W. ’20

Opening the Doors of Perception
Keeping focus on the School’s musical might, the RHCD band, Jam Time! came to campus last week to record their interpretation of The Doors’ classic hit, People Are Strange. Take it away lads! Featuring Gregory T. ’21, Chase S. ’21, Max. L ’20, and music teacher, James Himmelmann.

Fictional Immigrant Narratives
As the culmination of their final unit of the year, junior English students wrote short stories on the theme of immigration. The project required students to combine historical research and imagination, bringing to life one individual experience of leaving one’s old home to make a new one. Although this was not a constraint, students were further encouraged to examine their own lineages, whether documented family origins or adopted cultural traditions. The juniors rose to the occasion and produced several collections of short stories, one per class. Everything, from each collection’s title to its visual identity, was created by the class, with editorial assistance from their teachers Charlotte Buecheler and Belinda Snyman. Below are some excerpts from the project.

A soft morning light filtered through the trees, the stillness punctuated by the songs of morning birds. Everything belonged to Prince Charles: in the secluded forest, the rocks, the trees, and most importantly to the crown, the hunt. No one else was allowed to set foot in the Prince’s Land, even the men brought along to help load the quarry onto large wooden carts.  — Caelan L. ’21
We waited beyond the crowd mobbing to be the first to pull their luggage off the boat. We were in no rush to reach our destination. Louie cracked open our stale trunk and pulled out the instructive letter, from our father, from under the top layer of clothing. “Macoun Street and 23rd, Macoun and 23rd.” he repeated.  —  Jacob S. ’21
I placed the slip of paper, along with the money, on the desk before me. I was lucky to know English well, having spoken it some in Ireland, but when the man started asking my question, it was nearly impossible to understand. —  Sinead B. ’21

They boarded a boat that was a little too lavish for the area, and Azra pretended not to notice that the crew was armed. She wasn’t nervous; she just figured that it’d be best not to mention it. —  Troy J. ’20

From an unfamiliar voice, I heard my name. It felt strange hearing my name called out in a way I’d never heard before, with a different pronunciation and order. As I turned my head, I saw no familiar faces, just two people waving at me. —  Yiran C. ’21
I would be leaving everything behind; my family, my job as a police officer, a house my wife, Sofia and I had worked so hard to purchase, at the young age of 29. Most importantly, I would have to leave my wife but only for a short while. Although it was a hard decision to make, I really had no other choice. The moment my life was in serious danger, I knew I would have to leave Colombia as soon as possible. —  David G. ’21
The coordinator takes us to our dorm and we’ve been told that we will receive a tour and an entrance ceremony to join the school. Lying down on my bed, I close my eyes but nothing happens, it’s tough for me to sleep. —  Yuhuan L. ’21
As the small chime of the front doorbell rang and the smell of morning baked bread surrounded me, I would place the small amounts of money I had onto the front counter. The coins would click-clack onto the glass counter top. —  Valentina S. ’21

100 Mile Challenge
We want to keep our Mariner Family on the move this summer, so the Athletics Department is throwing down a 100 Mile Challenge! Whether you walk, run, or hike, we want to see how many Mariners can log 100 miles over the next two months.

If you already are an avid runner or walker, or you want to set some fitness goals for yourself over the summer (Fall Athletes, I’m looking at you!) – this will be a way for our community to motivate, inspire, and challenge each other – with a prize at the end for all those students and staff who make it!

To participate:

1. Download Runkeeper on your device and create an account. If you have a fitness tracker like Fitbit or an Apple Watch, you can pair it with your account – if you don’t you just need to bring the device with Runkeeper on it during your miles. Each person participating needs their own account unless you plan to do ALL your miles together with the same partner (possibility for a family or young siblings!)

2. Search for RHCD Mariners as a friend. We will accept your friend request and then invite you to join the 100 Mariner Miles group, which will begin on June 15th.

3. Once you have joined the group, your progress towards our 100 mile goal will automatically update.

4. In order to log your miles into the Challenge group, you’ll need to categorize your activity as a “run” – so before heading out on that walk, hike, or jog, make sure to start the Runkeeper app OR your fitness device that you’ve paired with the app (and stop it when you’ve finished!) Random daily steps will not sync into the Challenge, only those steps that you take during your dedicated activity time that are categorized as a RUN.  So even if you plan to walk or hike – categorize it as a Run for it to count towards our challenge.

That’s all for now folks!
eCurrents is getting a makeover this summer. We’ll return with RHCD school news and more in September! Wishing our Mariner family a wonderful break.

June 5, 2020

What I Want to Say
Isabella Robinson, Student

Like all of us, I have had a lot of feeling about black lives matter, police brutality, and George Floyd’s brutal murder. I’ve felt hopeless, lost, neglected, and even hopeful. I love Rocky Hill and I love my community.

If you care, show you care. If you’re afraid about saying something wrong or offending someone, get over it. I can’t speak for everyone, but I personally think that you should say what you really feel, and allow people to work through it with you. If you don’t understand why its black lives matter and not all lives matter, ask, do research. If you don’t understand why some people are reacting with anger then ask, do research. Speak and we will listen.

When you are silent it feels like shouting to the void. If you care to learn and have a discussion I promise you’ll never say the wrong thing.

I can’t and I don’t speak for every student of color at RHCD. Here students of color are lumped together, we are black, Latinx, Asian American, Asian, etc and we all have unique experiences. I’m optimistic that in the future, spaces will be made specifically for students of color and that the school will work with us to prioritize our mental health, safety, and listening to our experiences.

If you’ve been saying that you want to help, here are some suggestions: show up to ACCESS (formerly known as SMAC) meetings/events, show up and assist Jannessa’s Diversity Network club, pay attention in history class, and ask for additional resources or a stronger focus on black history. Realize that when you are talking about race there are students that are not white in the class and it can be uncomfortable to be the only person of color in a room.

We need you not just after the murder of a black person, but all the times in between. These issues exist everyday not just once every couple of years. I beg of you to follow through with your claims of support. This community has a lot of growing to do, but I’m excited to see our future.

We have work to do. Get to it.

Read Isabella’s full thoughts here.

In Reflection
Diane Rich, Head of School

At Rocky Hill Country Day, we encourage our students to find their voices, to crystallize their beliefs, and then to act on them as engaged citizens. But we don’t do this in a moral vacuum. There should be certain human rights that are non-negotiable, one of them being that there is no place for hatred, racism, or police brutality.

In light of recent events, our faculty adjusted this week’s curriculum whereby Lower School’s social-emotional learning classes emphasized respect and kindness; Middle School advisories and division level meetings addressed injustice; Upper School held community meetings, teachers, advisories, and Students of Color connected during affinity groups for support and understanding; and PTL invited learning and sharing.

Correspondingly I’ve reached out, and will continue to reach out, to members of the RHCD community to engage in further conversation, to listen, and to identify specific ways we can work together to improve at RHCD, and to nurture an inclusive society that will empower the next generation to live with equality and tolerance.

And this momentum will continue.

If you would like to engage in further conversation, please email Diane at drich@rockyhill.org

RHCD Days of Caring Unites Community
We send our sincere appreciation to everyone who participated in our RHCD Days of Caring. The heartfelt messages posted on the Days of Caring Bulletin Board, and the outpouring of contributions to support our students and faculty/staff, were remarkable. During a time of much unrest in our country, it is the compassion, respect, and care we show for one another that helps remind us of the good in the world. We are pleased to report that the campaign raised $66,850 in total to support the Rocky Hill Fund, Mariner Relief Fund, and the Senior Class Gift. These important initiatives support tuition assistance, professional development, and campus reopening in the fall, among other projects. Thank you!

We will keep the bulletin board open until June 12th for those who wish to share or read messages of support for members of the community.

Fond Farewells
As revealed by Head of School, Diane Rich on June 2:
“As happens each June, we find ourselves having to say good-bye to some colleagues, and welcoming the chance to say hello to new ones.

Jess Russell has taken a job on Martha’s Vineyard to move home; she will be missed! Rachel Armentano is opening her own business focusing on community based arts programming, while Emily Serotta has decided not to return to RHCD next year. While sad that she will no longer be a daily member of our community, it is impossible to begrudge a parent the choice to stay home with a new child! Todd de Wardener has accepted a position at the University of Rhode Island to begin July 1. Todd has served us well for many years, caring for our campus and buildings with tremendous dedication.

After 22 years of dedicated service to Rocky Hill, Beth DeGerlia is seeking a new venture to which she can lend her many talents. Since beginning when her daughter, Allison, was just an infant, and continuing for one year past the graduation of her son, Jason, Beth has occupied nearly every role in the Advancement realm of the School. She instituted eCurrents, oversaw all 21 years of The Fall Classic, and added the spark to more Galas and events than she would like to count. It is with deep gratitude that we wish Beth well in this next chapter of her career.”

“It has been wonderful working with Beth throughout my time at RHCD. Her roots run deep and her loyalty and dedication to our School are hard to match. Special thanks to you, Beth, for all you have given of yourself all these years for our entire community and for always cheering Lower School on!! Love and best wishes to you and the DeGerlia family!!”
Patricia Pontarelli, Head of Lower School

“I have had the honor of working together with Beth for each of her 22 years at RHCD. What will always stand out for me is traveling to Puerto Rico during the summer of 2018 with members of the Interact Club to help with hurricane relief, which Beth organized. Never has a trip been more carefully planned and executed, and the joy we had being together, working to help others, and also exploring many of the wonderful sights and flavors of PR has been a highlight for me and my time at RHCD. Beth is a champion, and I will miss her greatly. Here’s to you, Beth.”
Michael Jedrey, Head of Middle School 

“I have had the pleasure of working closely with Beth for almost 20 years- a wonderfully rich, jam-packed, and rewarding time. We’ve shared many moments of gratitude and joy in collaborating with the members of our RHCD community. Simply put, Beth is a warrior, and I will miss her greatly!”
Bel Snyman, Director of Strategic Partnerships | US English & Senior Programs

“Beth: To say Rocky Hill was lucky to have you is quite an understatement! Thank you for being a wonderful, kind, dedicated, thoughtful, funny, and steadfast colleague and mentor for the past four years. I will really miss you working with you and I wish you nothing but the very best in your next chapter! Cheers!”
Missy Walker, Associate Director of Development

“Beth has worked tirelessly to ensure the RHCD history and traditions are preserved. She has shown commitment and enthusiasm for a vision for education that is meaningful, in service to the community, and honors all learners. One of the most admirable qualities Beth exhibits every single day is her desire to roll up her sleeves to execute behind-the-scenes work, include all community members, and make people feel welcome and significant. She is the first to acknowledge the presence of students and engage them on their level. Beth developed many skills while in her many roles at RHCD and will serve her next community, creating a caring and compassionate environment for all.”
Meg Stowe, Director of Innovation 

“THANK YOU! Thank you for your dedication, your willingness to always lend a helping hand and support. I have had the absolute pleasure of knowing you in so many fashions over the years. From a former RHCD student, to alumni and to the best yet – a co-worker and friend. You will be missed, however we are all excited to see what you do in your new venture!”
Kristin Mitchell ’02, Admission Associate

“Beth is one of the most dedicated individuals with whom I have had the pleasure to work. She’s led RHCD through so many evolutions, and we are so grateful to her. I’m excited for her that this next evolution will be hers!”
Diane Rich, Head of School
Student Representatives 
Thank you all for voting for next year’s student representatives, and congratulations to the newly elected officials. Here are the results in full:
Dylan L. ’21 (Head Prefect), Sara L. ’21 (will work with the Policy Chamber), and Greg T. ’21 (will work with the Student Life Chamber)
Class of 2022
Lizzie H. ’22 and Drew T. ’22 (Student Life Chamber)
Thomas F. ’22 (Policy Chamber)
Class of 2023
Aniah A. ’23 and Andrew H. ’23
Deirdre S. ’23 and Isabel G. ’23 (Policy Chamber)

Hugs and Kisses
To cap-off our month-long salute to Seniors, faculty and staff wrote personal notes to each of our graduating class and sent them in the mail along with some treats and Hershey kisses! #RHCDSeniors
Did you enjoy the sweet treats? Send us a photograph posing with your jars! Email social@rockyhill.org

Commencement Date Announced: Friday, June 12 
RHCD is pleased to be able to host an on-campus commencement ceremony for the Class of 2020. Weather permitting, seniors and their families will enjoy a drive-in style ceremony with each student having the opportunity to be honored while on the Hopelands portico.

The event will also be live streamed for extended family, faculty, and friends to watch. If you’d like to join us please use this link: https://vimeo.com/event/85186

Free Mindfulness Practice led by Dr. Chris Willard
We are delighted to have Dr. Christopher Willard leading us in a mindfulness practice on June 20, 2020 at 9:00am! Let’s gather on Zoom as parents, administrators, educators, and community leaders for a shared guided practice!  While we are postponing our in-person conference, we look forward to gathering virtually this year for a 30-minute collective moment of centering and reflection. Register here.

Middle School National Junior Honor Society Induction Ceremony

Middle School held it’s National Junior Honor Society Induction Ceremony for new members on Thursday evening.  Run by chapter president, Alex L. ’24, current and new members of the NJHS shared the work they have done in and for the community this year, and explained what community service means to them. Students are invited to apply to the NJHS based on the five pillars of Scholarship, Service, Leadership, Character, and Citizenship.
This year’s new members are 8th Grader Lauren Z. ’24, and 7th Graders Elise B. ’25, Olivia C. ’25, Patrick K. ’25, Jillian P. ’25, Katie O. ’25, Isabella R. ’25, CeCe T. ’25, and August M. ’25.
Current members are Alex L. ’24, Jaida C. ’24, Skye C. ’24, Will H. ’24, Dalton D. ’24, Nate L. ’24, Julianna H. ’24, and Zach D. ’25.  

Daily Bread Project
Daily Bread by Gregg Segal surveys the diets of children from nine different countries

4th and 5th Grade World Languages and Cultures classes have been participating in a project called “Daily Bread”. Inspired by the book of the same name, author Gregg Segal traveled the world to take photographs of children and their diets from nine countries: Italy, Brazil, Malaysia, France, Senegal, United States, India, United Arab Emirates, and Germany. His objective was to raise awareness about the impact of processed food on a child’s diet. Among many discoveries, Daily Bread reveals that the poorest countries have the healthier diet habits since fast food is typically more expensive in these countries and meals made at home are more affordable.

Accompanied by games and activities, students analyzed photographs from the book, during which they learned the vocabulary of each food in Spanish. As part of this process, each student also recreated their own version of the dietary photograph “maps” outlined in the book.

Ruby B. ’28’s recreation of a Daily Bread photo study

The next step was the cultural comparison. Students were encouraged to evaluate their own diets compared with the eating habits of children from Brazil, Malaysia, and India. As the students reflected on the project as a whole, they put themselves in the shoes of the Segal and thought about what their next project would be if they were in his position. 

“What surprised me was that a lot of kids eat healthier in poor countries. I thought it was fun to compare our diets to the kids in the project. My next photography project would be to photograph animals and plants that live in Potter’s Pond. My objective would be to find out what species live in the  pond and how many.”
Brooke B. ’27

“It surprised me that the poorer countries had healthier diets. My favorite part of this project was seeing how different everyone’s diets are. If I were Gregg Segal, my next project would be looking at different lifestyles. The objective would be to learn about different cultures and how they’re all important.”
Holly S. ’28

“My next photography project would be to see the different schools systems and start a go fund me page to give the money to some of the poorer countries school systems.”
Abby M. ’27

“What surprised me is what surprised Segal- that people from the poorest countries eat the healthiest foods. What I liked the most about the project was that he arranged all the photos as if the food was surrounding the kid. My next photography project would be “Outbreaks Beyond. “This project’s objective would be to show people from one country how people in another country deal with this virus.”
Ezra T. ’28

The third installment in a series of interviews with individuals in the RHCD community who, in their line of work, step beyond expectation for the greater good of society. In this edition, we spoke with two RHCD alumna fighting COVID-19 from within the medical profession:

Maria Charbonneau Danckert, PharmD, ’12,
Rhode Island Primary Care Physicians Corporation (RIPCPC)

Megumi Monaghan, RN ’98,
Rhode Island Hospital

Rocky Hill Country Day: As a person on the front line, what do you see as our top priorities as a nation? 

Maria Charbonneau Danckert, PharmD: As social distancing and self-isolation regulations continue to be encouraged, we must find a balance between prudence and civil liberty. Isolation can be straining, mentally, physically, emotionally, financially, but it is encouraged for a reason. Help those around you to find a balance so we can heal as a nation and as a world as quickly as possible, especially the elderly.

Megumi Monaghan, RN: We have to be kind to one another. Put our differences aside and come together as responsible citizens to fight this pandemic together.  Listen to science, act with kindness and compassion, and be there for someone who needs you the most.

RHCD: Our faculty focus on teaching 8 student competencies. Which one of these skills have you had to use most frequently in your work over the recent months?

MM, RN: Being an effective communicator can foster great teamwork among all the healthcare workers, which is extremely beneficial to our patients and their outcomes. None of us can fight this pandemic alone!

RHCD: How can the RHCD community help? What can we do to support your work?

MCD, PharmEd: I encourage you to toe the line – don’t be the outlier. Be concerned for the older adults and those with compromising health conditions around you. Have a heightened sense of awareness for you own behaviors – everything you do will impact those around you… Be respectful.

Know a hero within the RHCD community? Let us know! Email your nomination to social@rockyhill.org

Days of Caring Flower Pots
Creative Lower School ceramicist, Delilah V. ’30 painted five flower pots for her 2nd Grade Economics project. Industrious as well as artistic, Delilah placed a $15 price tag on each piece, with all proceeds going to the Days of Caring Campaign. Four out of five were sold, which means there is still one left! Email social@rockyhill.org for a chance to grab it (before its too late!)
Upper School Musical Mash-Up
Since the start of distance learning, the Upper School has been working together to create a ‘virtual choir’ video featuring a mash-up of songs from the musical Hamilton. The video is in its final editing process, and will be shared with the community as soon as it’s ready! It has been an inspiration to see the students viewing Distance Learning not as an obstacle, but as an opportunity to do something special, something that they will remember doing for the rest of their lives.

AP Studio Art: Online Portfolio and Art Show
The AP Studio Art Program consists of three portfolios: 2D Design, 3D Design, and Drawing. AP Studio Art students develop advanced technical skills, pursue complex themes, and invite creative responses in their work. The students spend a great deal of time developing their “Sustained Investigation” inquiry, making creative pieces through practice, experimentation, and revision, followed by communication and reflection.

The students created a series of works that explore their investigation of a particular topic. The AP Art Exhibition serves as a celebration and validation of each student’s hard work and dedication to the maturation of their ideas and creative process. For many students, the task of presenting a body of work and revealing their thoughts and ideas is one of their most challenging endeavors.

Each student has created their own page exhibiting their work and a glimpse into their process. Enjoy the AP Studio Art Portfolio Art Show 2020 here.

In Case You Missed It… 2020 Winter Athletic Awards Ceremony is on Demand
As announced in the previous edition of eCurrents, the annual Winter Athletic Awards Ceremony has gone digital for 2020. If you missed the live event (and a lot of fun it was!) check out the festivities on demand on the RHCD YouTube Channel! Expect lots of surprises and celebrity appearances on deck for a fun-filled evening!

Humility, Patience, and Champion of Social Action: The Ana Bess Moyer Bell Story

Even among the State’s leading lights, RHCD alumna, Ana Bess Moyer Bell, is truly unique. Putting personal needs to one side in a tireless campaign for the greater good, Moyer Bell champions understanding, support, and social justice for members of society suffering from addiction in her position as founder and executive director of C.O.A.A.S.T. (Creating Outreach About Addiction Support Together)

We spoke with this humble social innovator to learn more about her remarkable journey, and to discover why she keeps coming back to Rocky Hill Country Day.

Rocky Hill Country Day: Student, alumna, and Innovator in Residence. What keeps bringing you back to RHCD?

Ana Bess Moyer Bell: The community! I continue to feel affirmed and supported by the RHCD community. Again, and again I have been invited and felt excited to bring what I’ve learned outside of the walls back in. A great example is when I was the Innovator in Residence and RHCD trusted me to work with hundreds of students. Each session was unique and crafted to meet the needs of those students. The teachers and administrators all supported the use of drama therapy and my talents as a playwright to help engage and enhance the learning of the students. I felt free to bring my whole self and my diverse skill base to their community without trying to sensor it. That kind of trust engenders a person to show up completely and feel safe in sharing their unique talents.

RHCD: Tell us about COAAST. What inspired you to establish the organization?

ABMB: In truth, my grief. In the fall of 2014 when I was in my first semester of grad school, I lost three friends in three months to overdoses. I was reeling alongside my community. Although we all knew the opioid epidemic was ravaging our town there was silence. We were grieving in silence and we were living in fear. I called a community meeting in the in November of that year and asked the question “What do you need to heal?” The answer was clear: better education about preventing substance use in adolescents and treatment and recovery resources, events to support communal grieving, and a way to de-stigmatize the topic. That same fall I wrote an essay to answer the question “How is performance healing.”

This began my journey of creating therapeutic theater to address the aforementioned needs of the community. Theater inherently creates community, it creates a safe space to share experience, performed stories are a great way to educate audience members, and humanizing the experience of addiction through relatable characters and storylines is a sure way to break stigma. This August will mark four years of incorporation and I can’t tell you how grateful I am to South Kingstown, RHCD, and the state of Rhode Island for their support with this venture.

“Make sure you are also listening for the voices that may not be in the mainstream, the voices of the oppressed, the voices of children, the voices of people who have had their voice taken away.”

RHCD: Any advice for RHCD students wanting to make a positive impact on society?

ABMB: First ask yourself what are your gifts? Is it compassion, your ability to create art, your sportsmanship, your desire to lead, your skills in math or science? Then ask your community or a community you are interested in serving how you can best serve them? When listening to their answer make sure you are also listening for the voices that may not be in the mainstream, the voices of the oppressed, the voices of children, the voices of people who have had their voice taken away. Then go back to your gifts and harness them to serve that community.

RHCD: How can budding entrepreneurs and innovators reading this interview make their first mark in society?

ABMB: By serving others.

RHCD: If you could pick one lesson from your time at RHCD that stuck with you, what would it be?

The importance of critical thinking. Why and how do you know what you know and how does it shape your world view? And also, the importance of being an active member of the community. Whether that’s on the lacrosse field supporting your teammates, working on the school play, or contributing to a class project. We are all the ones we’ve been waiting for and RHCD affirms that belief.

Yearbooks Are on the Way!!!
The Yearbook Club gave it their all to finish this year’s amazing yearbook!  At time of press, the yearbooks are making their way to RHCD.  A drive-by pick up plan will be announced shortly.
A limited supply of extra copies are available for purchase ($80 per book).  Payment can be made by check (payable to RHCD) or charged to a student account.  If you would like to reserve a copy, or you would like confirmation of your order, please contact Dr. Katy Basu at kbasu@rockyhill.org.

Send us your news!
Email a description and photo to social@rockyhill.org, please add eCurrents to the subject line. 

May 15, 2020

Distance Learning Page is Live!
Welcome to Rocky Hill Country Day School’s online campus! At Rocky Hill Country Day, we are nimble and responsive. This agility allows us to pivot and develop new and effective educational experiences for our students when the need arises. With that in mind, we are excited to present what distance learning means to us at RHCD, and how it feels to be part of it. A huge thank you to our community who supported the creation of the page by submitting videos for the montage. You are all superstars. Visit the page here.

RHCD Days of Caring – May 29 and 30
On May 29-30 we will host two special days of caring. Join us as we celebrate our community and raise funds for the Rocky Hill Fund which provides immediate support for the School and our students, and The Mariner Relief Fund which will be used to respond to needs such as financial assistance for families facing COVID-19 related hardships, summer professional development for distance learning, and re-opening readiness needs. In addition, three generous donors have offered $12,500 in matching funds!

RHCD Seniors Campaign Continues!
Last weekend, teams of RHCD faculty and staff paraded through Rhode Island dropping off congratulations lawn signs and lots of love to our amazing seniors. And there’s more! Keep checking Instagram and Facebook though May 21 to catch the rest of the individual shout-out series. #RHCDSeniors

Lower School Dance Challenge Video – Coming Soon!
You might have heard about the Lower School Family Dance Challenge, a fun initiative inspiring LS families to put on their own dancing shoes! Participating families (thank you!) have selected a dance and created a video of them dancing. The individual recordings are currently being compiled into the 2020 Lower School Family Dance Challenge video, coming in the next edition of eCurrents! Until then, there’s always this…

Genius Hour
Last week, Lower School teacher, Charlie Laurent participated in an online panel about independent research projects, commonly referred to as Genius Hour. During the day-long virtual summit, hosted by author/educator AJ Juliani, Mr. Laurent collaborated with other educators and experts to explore new and innovative methods for developing projects that could be used during distance learning.

This I Believe

Eleventh Grade English recently completed their This I Believe audio essay on feminism. Students could take any perspective they wanted after studying the history of women’s rights movements in the US through a case study from the Harvard Business School. A selection of those recordings can be found below.

Abby T. ’21

Dante G. ’21

Jasper S. ’21

Stefania A. ’21

The second installment in a series of interviews with individuals in the RHCD community who, in their line of work, step beyond expectation for the greater good of society. In this edition, we spoke with three RHCD parents fighting COVID-19 from within the medical profession:

Crystal Bettencourt, RN
South Coast Behavioral Health and Roger Williams Hospital

Hank Wu, MD
Chief of Cardiology at Providence VA Medical Center, and Medical Director at Miriam Hospital’s Cardiovascular Rehabilitation Program

Erin Hogan, MD
Medical Director of Credentials CNE and Medical Staff, and Physician Advisor for Care Management at Kent Hospital, and Clinical Assistant Professor at Warren Alpert Medical School, Brown University.

Rocky Hill Country Day: What inspired you to become a nurse?

Crystal Bettencourt, RN: I was inspired to become a nurse during my senior year in high school. I spent one day each week volunteering at a nursing home. During this time, I became especially fond of the elderly. Becoming a nurse is one of the most selfless professions one can take. I have always enjoyed caring for others, especially the elderly.

RHCD: As a person on the front line, what do you see as our top priorities as a nation? 

Hank Wu, MD: I believe our priority is to build infrastructure to fight this disease for the long haul. This will involve the government funding the research and establishing guidelines where people can resume their work and daily routine in a safe manner and the safety equipment needed so our healthcare system shall never be overwhelmed again.

RHCD: Our faculty focus on teaching 8 student competencies. Which one of these skills have you had to use most frequently in your work over the recent months?

Erin Hogan, MD: Physicians always need to be good communicators, and good communication has been an especially critical skill in this trying time. However, the most important development has been the innovation. People have created ventilator splitters in the event there is a shortage of ventilators, making face shields on 3-D printers, and developing plexi-glass boxes to reduce aerosolization of particles during procedures. There has been an explosion of medical devices that have been developed to save lives and to reduce the risk of infection.

Know a hero within the RHCD community? Let us know! Email your nomination to social@rockyhill.org

Hall Pass: College Counselling During COVID

Working with Sarah McGinty, author of The College Application Essay (College Board, 2015), RHCD Director of College Counseling, Tara Dowling, recently contributed an insightful piece to EXPLO titled Hall Pass: College Counseling During COVID. Enjoy this excellent read on the EXPLO website. 

Cover art from the first edition of Maus (Pantheon Books, New York City, 1991)

The Holocaust: Conversations with Family
Distance learning has provided a wealth of opportunities to access new sources, generate conversation, and deepen relationships. While reading Art Spiegelman’s graphic novel, Maus, where the author interviews his father about his experiences as a Holocaust survivor, Belinda Snyman’s Sophomore English students recorded informal conversations with a member of their family to share their experiences in learning about the tragedy. Now more than 75 years old, these stories are important to record. Many are fading, or non-existent within the memories of our loved ones. Here are just some of those reflections.

“Talking with my dad, I felt the weight of the Holocaust and the effect that it has had generations down the line. Truly, nothing in human history has compared to its evils, and so it is important that we keep this great human failure in our minds for years to come, so as to avoid it ever happening again. It reminds us not to be a bystander and to stand up for righteousness in the face of power and cruelty.”
Julian G. ’22

“Speaking with my grandparents about the Holocaust was an incredible experience for me since we usually do not have in-depth serious conversations. My grandparents were born right after WWII ended, so when they were growing up, people were trying to put the events of the war behind them. I found out that they did not learn about the Holocaust much in school, but rather through the personal experiences of people they know.”
Molly P. ’22

“Through talking with my dad, I was able to grasp just how important remembering the Holocaust is for every generation. My dad’s love of books and movies has not only given him a comprehensive view of all dimensions, but allowed him to feel connected to such an important part of his family‘s history.”
Lily K. ’22

“It was fascinating to talk with my dad about someone he knew who grew up in Germany during the Holocaust. The most interesting part of this process for me was listening to him talk about this man’s home, and the decorations he had that displayed a Germany that was unfamiliar to me. He also saw pieces of German history and culture that existed before Nazism.”
Lizzie H. ’22

You can listen to Lizze’s full interview here.

ACE Mindprint Initiative
Although COVID-19 prevented the full implementation of the ACE Mindprint Initiative with the 8th Grade this spring, the ACE group is pleased to be able to offer a limited experience. Families have been participating in the initiative via parent-led online testing, followed by a meeting to discuss the results and strategies with ACE Director, Holly Cotta.

Mindprint was part of Director of Innovation, Meg Stowe’s E2 initiative this past fall with Learn Launch. The ACE faculty partnered with the 8th-grade teachers to utilize this assessment with 8th-grade students. The initiative was originally scheduled to begin immediately after March break.

What is Mindprint? Mindprint is an assessment tool that enables parents, educators, students, and clinicians to understand how an individual student learns so that they can be given the optimal support to succeed. Teachers can use advice generate by the platform to discuss results with students, helping them appreciate the assets they’ve been given.  With this assessment, students can learn to self-advocate for their own success by making a plan to build on their strengths, while also addressing any weaknesses.

Household Chemistry
What’s really in that bottle of hair conditioner? How about a tube of toothpaste, or a pack of gum? What exactly is FD&C Red 40? Over the past week, Dr. Katy Basu’s Upper School Introductory Chemistry students conducted research on the major ingredients in various household products.

Students considered the ingredients’ structures and chemical properties, such as melting point, density, and solubility. They also investigated some of the health and environmental hazards of those substances. The project tied very nicely into their recent work studying how the structure of a compound can be used to explain how easily it will dissolve in a solvent like water or hexane. 

Virtual Alpacas
Yes, you read that correctly! Exploring the world in ever creative fashions, the third grade recently enjoyed a virtual field trip to Matunuck Alpaca Farm. What a unique (and fun) way to #ThinkOutside!

Come Together: Brown Bag Stay-at-Home Project
Rachel Armentano’s 7th Grade Art class recently completed the “Come Together” Brown Bag Stay-at-Home City Scenes project. Students designed and created scenes of city streets where businesses are closed, open for limited hours, hospitals are highlighted, food trucks are found, and positive messages abound.

The project development component included a debate about the use of food trucks with the issue of COVID-19, and a Google Meet feedback session with a Providence-based architect via DesignxRI.

The exhibition is on display in the front windows of two local locations- Clementines Ice Cream and Nook Coffee House, both located in East Greenwich. Look carefully for Hearts for Healthcare workers, Chalk the Walk, and windows with teddy bear and rainbow scavenger hunts.

Amanda Hovey Featured in National Art Show
Lower School teacher, Amanda Hovey, has had a piece of her artwork featured in The Galleries of the Providence Art Club‘s National Open Juried Exhibition. Traditionally a mounted, in-gallery showcase, this year the exhibition has been conducted digitally. A huge accomplishment, this annual occasion includes contributions from leading artists from across the nation.

2020 Winter Athletic Awards Ceremony
The annual Winter Athletic Awards Ceremony has gone digital for 2020! Join the fun at 6 p.m. this evening (Friday, May 14) to celebrate our winter teams and athletes on the RHCD YouTube Channel! Expect lots of surprises and celebrity appearances on deck for a fun-filled evening!

Meet the 23 Year-Old Entrepreneur with the Million Dollar Business: The Giovanni Carlos Armonies-Assalone Story

Giovanni Carlos Armonies-Assalone (L) and his business partner, Connor Goss with the product that made them a millionaires dollar business.

RHCD alumn, Giovanni Carlos Armonies-Assalone ’15, is one half of a two-person team that designed a stick-on wallet for the back of smartphones. The pair built a $1.2 million business named Cardly in-between classes at Northeastern University, before selling it in January of this year.

We spoke with this breathtaking young entrepreneur ahead of graduating from Northeastern to find out what’s next, as well as discovering the foundations for his success that were laid at Rocky Hill Country Day.

Rocky Hill Country Day: Giovanni, you just sold a million dollar business. Can you talk about the product, and how it feels to be an accomplished entrepreneur when you’re still in your early twenties?
Giovanni Carlos Armonies-Assalone: I met my business partner Connor Gross in my freshman year of international business class. We hit it off and within a week had started brainstorming product ideas. We landed on adhesive phone credit card holders since lots of our friends had them, but they were all promo ones. They were putting Lyft branded phone pockets on their 60$ phone case, so we figured they might be willing to pay for one that was well designed. 

The partners quickly scaled, growing from organic sales in the cafeteria, to a distribution agreement with Amazon.

We both put in a few hundred dollars and within a couple weeks we were walking through the cafeteria selling them to students. From there, we built a website and put them on Amazon. Once we got them online, that’s where we saw all of the growth.

It’s a bit strange to sit back and reflect on the process. There wasn’t really any singular point where we realized how much we had grown the company. We simply focused on what was successful and stopped doing anything that wasn’t. It was a combination of working hard and getting lucky. 

RHCD: Tell us about your experiences at Northeastern. What role did the institution have on developing Cardly?

The partners developed and sold their product between classes at Northeastern University, Boston.

GCA-A: I give a lot of credit to Northeastern in both allowing us to focus on the project and helping to provide resources to make sure we were successful. Northeastern puts a lot of emphasis on their co-op program, and during my third year they allowed us to focus on Cardly full time for six months. It was during that time we scaled from doing 1,000 orders per month to over 10,000 orders per month. 

RHCD: Taking things back to East Greenwich. What core skills did you learn at RHCD that you continue to utilize in your work and your university studies?
GCA-A: Critical thinking. While school provides value in learning facts, equations, and history etc., the biggest take away for me has been in how I go about solving problems. Additionally, Rocky Hill always encouraged me to pursue my interests and side projects. I explored my interest in finance with the investment club, made Twitter bots, learned Photoshop, and built robots to compete in statewide competitions, all outside of the classroom, but with the help of awesome faculty members.    

RHCD: What are your fondest memories of Rocky Hill Country Day School?
GCA-A: It’s definitely the people. I was surprised, especially coming in as a transfer student in my junior year, by how welcoming everyone was. The faculty was amazing and always willing to listen to my random ideas and projects. I’m still close friends with many of my classmates, not only from my grade, but in the years above and below me. While I was never the best athlete on the soccer or lacrosse field, I looked forward to getting on the field everyday after classes. 

On that note, I’m happy to connect with anyone on Linkedin or email or on any other platforms. I’m always interested in discussing projects and brainstorming. 

Congratulations Alumni Class Officers and Speaker!
The Alumni Office announced the class officers and class speaker voting results today! Congratulations to President Elsa B., Vice President Pascale B., Treasurer Nick M., Secretary Rebecca A., and Class Speaker Christoff B.!

Virtual Alumni Happy Hour
Last but by very no means least, we are wrapping this edition of eCurrents with a little alumni cheer! Our inaugural Virtual Alumni Happy Hour on Thursday night was a big success. Approximately 20 alumni spanning 1973 to 2012 from all over the country (RI, MA, NJ, FL, WI, and CA), as well as Mexico, hopped on the call to chat, reminisce, hear updates from Head of School, Diane Rich, and even play a little Rocky Hill trivia (for example… do you know how many buildings are on campus or who the first Head was?)

Thank you to Trixie Webber Dumas ’81, Sam Dumas ’79 and family for coming up with the fun questions and to Lauren Friedman Koblick ’02 for spearheading the event and the photos. All agreed there should be another one soon: stay tuned!

Send us your news!
Email a description and photo to social@rockyhill.org, please add eCurrents to the subject line. 

May 1, 2020

Celebrating Seniors Month
May is Seniors Month. The mighty Class of 2020 is a tight-knit clan of amazing people with a huge variety of talents, achievements, and quirks. As we launch a series of special events meant to lift and celebrate these wonderful students, starting with the Salute to Seniors social media campaign, we hope that they will feel more loved and supported than ever. Nothing can replace the old plans, but this smart, creative, and connected class will have plenty to reminisce about in the future. We hope some of these events will spark joy and help them make memories.

The RHCD Class of 2020 word cloud shows the impressive array of colleges our Seniors were accepted to this year. Click to expand in a new tab.

Kicking-off a series of digital and physical celebrations, each day until May 21 we will be saluting our Seniors with a personal post on the School’s social media channels.

Check-out the first of the series on Instagram and Facebook 

Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce Business of the Week
Rocky Hill Country Day was recently invited to be the Greater Newport Chamber of Commerce’s Business of the Week. Head of School, Diane Rich, was the special guest on the most recent edition of the Chamber’s podcast, streamed on WADK Newport, where she spoke about our culture and explained how we have transitioned to distance learning. Listen to the conversation here. Note: the segment begins at 2 minutes 5 seconds.

Virtual Admissions Office is Open!
Do you know anyone who might be interested in Rocky Hill Country Day School for their child? The Virtual Admissions Office is open with a whole new Admissions Welcome page on our website, waiting to welcome prospective families and to share the RHCD experience. Check it out and please send interested friends, family, and neighbors our way! Learn more in the Virtual Admissions video, hosted by Director of Admissions, Jan Cooney.

Pages at Portico
Greetings from the library! We have been hearing from students, teachers, and family members that many of us miss paper books. To address our community’s request and to offer the gift of literature to everyone at this challenging time, we have started a program called Pages at Portico.

Pages at Portico is a curbside pick-up program that allows RHCD community members to browse books in our online library catalog, request books via a Google form, and pick up the requested books at the RHCD portico on Tuesdays between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Full instructions for how to participate in the program can be found on the RHCD Library Website. You can also watch this video tutorial on how to navigate the site.

We look forward to seeing many of you on Tuesday, May 5th for the Pages at Portico launch!

Virtual PTL
We will be hosting virtual PTL meet-ups by division every other week. So, grab a cup of coffee and join us for some online conversation and camaraderie! There is no set agenda, but divisional faculty will be on the call for you to ask questions or offer feedback about distance learning. This is also a place to talk about how things are going, share ideas, and support one another. We will record each meet-up and post it in Veracross for one week, after which it will be deleted. We look forward to seeing you!

Lower School: Mondays at 4 p.m. 5/4, 5/18, 6/1
Join Google Hangouts Meet: meet.google.com/ike-mmjb-icz
Join By Phone: +1 339-368-6719 (PIN: 645288936)

Middle School: Wednesdays at 4 p.m. 5/6, 5/20, 6/3
Join Google Hangouts Meet: meet.google.com/fae-jrnv-cnz
Join By Phone:+1 402-724-0112 (PIN: 814656829)

Upper School: Thursdays at 4 p.m. 5/7, 5/21, 6/4
Join Google Hangouts Meet: meet.google.com/wwk-eoac-aue
Join By Phone:+1 304-981-5431 (PIN: 827683797)

Back to the Hill
Given the current circumstances and limitations due to COVID-19, Alumni Reunion is rescheduled for Saturday, September 26th in conjunction with Homecoming Weekend.

Hack Education Summit
On April 30th, Neha B. ’20 and Willa G. ’20 participated as panelists in Hack Education, a powerful dive into education and the experience of distance learning through the lens of the most important stakeholders: the students of Rhode Island.

Hosted by Venture Cafe in Providence, the 12-person student panel was moderated by RHCD Director of Innovation, Meg Stowe and Fab Newport founder, Steve Heath. Neha and Willa were joined by peers from Hope High School, The Met High School, Classical High School, and Lincoln High School, with many of the students having met as a result of Hack for Global Good.

Leaders from around the state, including the Rhode Island Office of Innovation and Spartina Consulting joined the engaging conversation, with participants leaving feeling both empowered and inspired.

Speaking after the event, Neha reflected that, “communication and empathy are key for equitable education,” adding that she wants to see more, “self-created and more motivated learning” opportunities for students.

RHCD will continue to be engaged in the work of advancing the conversation around education, building and testing new models, and elevating student voices.

Selfless Service Award
Alex L. ’24 has been honored as one of the statewide recipients of the 8th Grade Gandhi Award for Compassion and Selfless Service. The recognition is based on demonstration of kindness to others, participation in volunteer efforts, and is sponsored by the URI Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies at the University of Rhode Island. Congratulations, Alex! ?

Check-out the online conversation on Facebook!

In times of crisis, there are always individuals who, in their line of work, step beyond expectation for the greater good of society. The #RHCDHeroes project acknowledges the champions of the RHCD community combating the COVID-19 pandemic on the front line.

In the first of a series of interviews, we spoke with Kate Corvese Noelte ’05, Deputy Division Director at the Division of State and Local Readiness, CDC; Scott Johnson, parent of Paige ’22, and Lieutenant Ladder 2 Firefighter, City of Pawtucket; Michael Beland, M.D., parent of Reid ’23 and Elise ’25, Director of Ultrasound at Rhode Island Hospital, and Professor at Brown University; and Sarah Pontarelli ’07, critical care paramedic with LifePACT Pediatric and Adult Critical Care Transport at Hasbro Children’s Hospital and Rhode Island Hospital.

Rocky Hill Country Day: What inspired you to join the CDC?

Kate Corvese Noelte: The idea of focusing on health at the population level, instead of at the individual level, was very appealing to me.

In my (biased!) opinion, CDC, as “the nation’s health protection agency,” is the absolute best place to do that. The science-based, data-driven nature of our work, in addition to the mission that my division, the Division of State and Local Readiness, has to support state and local public health systems in preparing for and responding to public health emergencies, are important motivators in my day-to-day work (especially when those days end up being pretty long!).

RHCD: Our faculty focus on teaching 8 student competencies. Which one of these skills have you had to use most frequently in your work over the recent months?

Michael Beland: I can think of daily examples where all of the student competencies were critical to my day-to-day interactions and decisions. If I had to pick one in this challenging time it would be Navigator. With such rapidly changing guidelines, we have needed nimbleness to care for patients in new ways, sometimes with limited resources. We have adapted by leveraging technology to develop tools like virtual waiting rooms and telemedicine. As a co-owner and board member of Rhode Island Medical Imaging, I also feel a great responsibility to our amazing employees and their families. Knowing we will overcome these challenges, I have been focused on finding ways to get our employees back to work while providing a safe environment for them and our patients.

Scott Johnson: As an officer, I am expected to come up with a plan of action to deal with many different types of emergencies. Critical thinking is a major part of my job, along with communicating. I must be able to communicate the tactics used to mitigate a problem. I am also expected to train new men, so communication plays a big part in my daily activities.

RHCD: Once we get through the coming weeks, what can we expect to see on the far side?

Sarah Pontarelli: I believe there will be greater exposure to the needs of our health care system now that people know what is possible. That awareness will hopefully maximize preparedness, availability of resources, and our confidence to respond quickly. Relationships will be stronger overall, as well.  The level of trust, collaboration, and sheer dependence on each other will have played a powerful role in getting us to a place of stability and wellbeing.

Know a hero within the RHCD community? Let us know! Email your nomination to social@rockyhill.org

Mi vecindario
As part of their Neighborhood Project PBL, Middle School Spanish students have been reconstructing their own neighborhoods through a creative medium of their choosing. From Minecraft to 3D cardboard modelling, the students demonstrated an extraordinary breadth of artistic abilities! ?

The Missing Piece:
A Parent’s Perspective on ‘Story Time with Mrs. G.
by Melissa Edelmann
Sometimes you can’t name what is missing until you find it. When COVID-19 shut everything down, I thought our kids were adjusting well and had the support they needed. I mean, what could be missing?

It turns out what was missing was a piece of the social-emotional support, love, and connection to Rocky Hill Country Day that is so woven into a typical school day. And then here it was in virtual form – story time with Mrs. G. And trust me – this is not just any story time.

A screen capture from one of RHCD librarian, Wendy Gustavel’s Story Time with Mrs. G. videos.

Night after night, a small but growing group of lower schoolers sign in – wrapping up their day freshly bathed and in pajamas or curled up on a sofa. Their faces bounce as they hold phones to join, siblings pop in and out, and you hear the hum of life in the background. And Mrs. G. welcomes them in, brings them together, and shares with them nothing short of the perfect story for them that day. They share, they laugh, they ask questions, and the kids tell their stories just as she tells hers. It’s magical, personal, and just for them.

It’s that missing piece.

Watch Story Time with Mrs. G here.

Meiosis Modelling
Global Issues – Biology Concepts students have been using household items to model stages of meiosis, a cell division process where a single cell divides twice to produce four cells containing half the original amount of genetic information.

Anaphase 1 model, designed by Hannah B. ’23

“Tactile and visual learning is such a big piece for science,” explains Upper School Science teacher and Science Department Chair, Pamela Matson.

The activity asked students to find anything in their house, yards, garages, etc., that could represent chromosomes, with other household items demonstrating what is happening with them and the cell nucleus during each specific phase.

The next stage was synchronous where students explained their individual representations, while their peers reviewed the representation for accuracy in consideration of the explanation.

8th Grade Gandhi Essay Finalist
Congratulations to Juliana H. ’24, who was chosen as one of this year’s finalists in the Tenth Annual Rhode Island 8th Grade Gandhi Essay Contest. Each year the URI Center for Nonviolence & Peace Studies hosts the state-wide contest, with the purpose of celebrating the life teachings of Mahatma Gandhi and to encourage Rhode Island students to think critically about, personally connect with, and to become nonviolent peacemakers in their schools and communities.

This year, there were over one hundred submissions from schools all over the state, so Juliana should be very proud of her accomplishment! A virtual awards ceremony will take place at 5 p.m. this evening when the first, second, and third place winners will be announced.

Putting it in Perspective
Art Foundations students have been experimenting with a variety of materials while distance learning. Developing new photography skills while applying principles of design was one of the highlights. Enjoy this gallery of perspective shots and lens experiments!

Last week, Rachel Armentano’s 7th grade Art class connected with architect Ben Willis of Union Studio in Providence.

Facilitated by RHCD Director of Innovation, Meg Stowe and DesignXRI, Ben spoke to the students about his career in architecture and discussed the impact of urban planning. He also gave feedback to the students about the food truck and cityscape projects they are working on. 

Jam Time!
Those familiar with the lunchtime jam sessions held in the music department will be pleased to hear that the band is still going strong and making new grooves. Upper School language teacher, Matt Gnolfo, recorded this hangouts session featuring guitarist and band leader, Greg T. ’21, Chase S. ’21, on saxophone, and pianist extraordinaire, James Himmelmann, who is supporting Upper School performing arts during Emily Serotta’s maternity leave. Take it away, fellas!

Got your own digital band? Making a solo career in the garage?? Send us your videos! social@rockyhill.org

Statewide Recognition
Congratulations to
Ameir G. ’22, and Parker M. ’21 for being listed in the 2020 Providence Journal All-States: Independents list. A prestigious, highly sought honor, All-States recognizes the very best in young, sporting talent. Here is what the state’s leading sports writers had to say about these Mariner superstars. 

The product of Providence established himself as one of the best guards in the state regardless of league this winter. Gomes scored 416 points this season and earned first-team All-SENE and All-New England honors.

“The monster in the middle was a dominant force for the Mariners. The 6-foot-8 center from Portsmouth scored 397 points and had 312 rebounds this season, earning first-team All-SENE and All-New England honors.”

RHCD Alumni Rallying for Rhode Island
RHCD alumni from across the years have been doing incredible work in supporting the local community during this period of social distancing. These are just some of those inspirational stories.

Paul Zarrella ’87 and his wife, Kayla, have offered one of their rental properties in Wakefield to a frontline health care worker, free of charge. Full story on 10 WJAR.

Jill Papa ’05 has been sewing cloth masks for healthcare works in NYC.

Owner of the Yes! Gallery gift boutique in Wickford Village, Julie Beebe ’93, has partnered with Jake Fahrenholtz ’96, owner of Fresh Mode Screen Printing, to launch a limited run of nifty, Rhody apparel to help raise money for the North Kingstown Food Pantry.

RHCD parent Hillary Ramos, owner of The Cookie Countess and mom to Jon ’27 is usually very busy this time of year with Easter orders, but COVID-19 has the company shifting gears to temporarily change their 3-D printers from creating cookie cutters to face shield headbands. Full story on WPRI 12. 

Send us your news!
Email a description and photo to social@rockyhill.org, please add eCurrents to the subject line. 

April 3, 2020

You Are All Amazing
At this unprecedented time, the entire RHCD community has shown incredible resilience, flexibility, and unity as we regroup and respond to unforeseen challenges. Take a bow, you are all amazing! #RHCDStrong
Distance Learning – Home Truths!
As everyone gets into the groove of distance learning, we are also discovering the unique setups of each individual home office. This fun gallery gives a peek behind the scenes at homes across the RHCD community!

? Got some fun distance learning experiences? Share them with us – you might appear in the next edition of eCurrents! Email social@rockyhill.org

Campus Deep Clean
While we live in the present, RHCD always has one eye on the future. This week, the entire campus was professionally deep cleaned so we are ready when the Governor allows schools to return. The white contraption with a nozzle is actually a spray disinfectant that was used in addition to the hand cleaning that occurred! All materials and chemicals used have been approved for school disinfectant cleaning. Huge thanks to TAJ Contract Cleaning and our favorite janitor Jorge for their thorough and professional service!

Caring for our Community

Many thanks to everyone who supported RHCD and the non-profit organizations of Rhode Island on 401Gives Day. Sponsored by the United Way, the day brought together the spirit of Rhode Islanders, raising over $1.3 million for 365 non-profits. RHCD received $3,610 in donations which included a $975 matching gift from the Rhode Island Foundation for our early bird donors! Thank you to everyone who supported this important initiative.

A Song for Strength and Unity

Before the break, the RHCD Wuhan Donation Committee worked together to raise funds to support the city of Wuhan, China, where the COVID-19 pandemic originated. As a result of their efforts, we were able to donate $905 to Wuhan#3 Hospital. In addition, the students created this RHCD Cares video that accompanied the gift. Since the recording, the situation has evolved and the song is now dedicated to all communities dealing with the pandemic across the world.

A Global Perspective
As part of 401Gives, many of our international families joined together to make a gift to support the Rhode Island Community Food Bank in appreciation for the donation we sent over to a hospital in Wuhan. They were eager to share their support as we all manage the COVID-19 crisis. Thank you to the families of seniors Astoria W., Heyuan M., and Michael M.; juniors Bessie Y., John L., Leo Z., and Lucy Y.; sophomores Cynthia H., Finn Y., and Tom X.; and freshmen Adele S., Grace O., and Thomas Z.

International Program Coordinator, Ming Shen commented, “Even though coronavirus isolates us, it brings us together in the RHCD community by helping each other when needed.”

Virtual PTL Meetings
Thank you to PTL President Kristen Connell for convening parents, faculty, and administrators in virtual PTL meetings this week. We will host these casual meet ups weekly to allow us to stay close while we practice social distancing. Check your email or calendars for the Google Hangout link. Meetings will be at 4:00 with LS on Monday, MS on Wednesday, and US on Thursday.

LEEP Week – Full Report
When the previous edition of eCurrents went to press, the second annual Middle School LEEP week was still in full swing. This report not only explains the what, the why, and the how, but also illustrates one of the many ways that RHCD students were already utilizing, and refining, distance learning as part of their on-campus curriculum.

Held the week before Spring Break, LEEP stands for Learn, Explore, Envision, and Present, and challenged groups of mixed-aged students to address the driving question, “What would be a solution to address a pressing issue facing the residents of a specific location in the world?”

Students were grouped by areas of strength, combining those who were proficient in a variety of disciplines with the intention that the groups would lean into shared areas of competence in a new and effective manner.

This year, LEEP encompassed ten countries (USA, Portugal, Italy, Japan, Uruguay, Mexico, Dominican Republic, US Virgin Islands, France, and Brazil). Via video conferencing, the students met with peers their age from each of these nations and held conversations based upon their group research and findings.

By taking this “walk in their shoes” approach to international experiences, students were able to explore life from someone else’s perspective, uncovering more similarities than differences. Being student-driven also meant that the students were responsible for the direction of their group’s investigation.

From this empathy-building PBL, students then created multi-medium 3D art using blank white sneakers—all part of a new-found understanding and leveraging of global connections for real-world learning.

 “It was through the global connections of our community, most notably Meg Stowe and Susan Fonseca, but also Helen Dembinski, Elaine Bernardino and Charlotte Buecheler that allowed us to connect with students in nine different countries. And it was the creative inspiration of Rachel Armentano that envisioned the structure of these three days and the use of white sneakers as an artistic canvas for the final products of this project. All of this allowed LEEP 2020 to come together in such a memorable fashion.  What a team!” –Mike Jedrey, Middle School Division Head 

Design Thinking in Lower School: Solutions That Build Empathy and Encourage Critical Thinking and Collaboration

RHCD’s Innovator-in-Residence (IIR) program is designed to impact all ages in our K-12 community. Ailsa Petrie, our spring IIR, worked in collaboration with Lower School faculty to explore how design thinking frameworks might help teachers and students identify problems, ideate, prototype, and test possible solutions. We wanted to know if our youngest students could understand the design thinking framework, reframe failure, and become more comfortable with ambiguity. The answer, as we can now see from recent developments, is very much yes!

This unique, immersive one-week experiment challenged students and faculty to develop the mindsets necessary for innovation and engage with adaptive challenges—those challenges which have no prescribed right or wrong answer. Students took on challenges close to home after empathizing to discover a problem like finding a better way to share the swings at recess, or through their “find my nurse app” using campus geolocation to ways to keep the playscape safer for younger kids!

RHCD Family Supporting the Community

On April 1, Governor Raimondo announced an initiative to supply food to quarantined Rhode Islanders as part of the RI Delivers campaign. Spearheading the service is Roch’s Fresh Food, a grocery store owned by RHCD legacy family the Roch’s: Charlotte ’18 and her parents Ray and Dawn, both from the class of 1983. Roch’s is delivering across the state, with orders taken by email or phone. For ease of access, the store is releasing a weekly inventory list of what’s on offer.

Colorwheel Challenge!
Lower School, Middle School, and even some Upper School art students are making color wheels this week out of items they find around their house. This time-lapse shows Art teacher Rachel Armentano, her daughter in PreK, and 2-year-old son making theirs. Stay tuned for RHCD student examples, #ComingSoon!

Think you’ve got the chops? ? Have a go and send us your time-lapse video for a chance to be featured in eCurrents and on the RHCD social media channels!

The Sharing Voices Exhibit Continues its Statewide Tour (But Waits Patiently)

Following the launch of the Sharing Voices Exhibition, the culminating project of Belinda Snyman’s English sophomores, the exhibit was installed at Barrington Books in Garden City, Cranston, and then made its way to the Statehouse. The Statehouse is currently closed, but the exhibit will be on display through the summer!

Instagram Workout Challenge!
Want to find easy ways to work out during the day? Then head over to the Mariners Instagram account and take part in their daily workout challenge! From the “booty burn” to the “burpee shuttle,” there are awesome challenges for all athletic goals!

Letter to Faculty and Staff from RHCD Board of Trustees President, Don McCaughey

RHCD Faculty and Staff,

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your tireless efforts during this unprecedented event.  RHCD has made great progress toward distance learning as we maintain our unique sense of community.  While challenges will undoubtedly continue as this pandemic runs its course, the Board is confident that RHCD is well prepared to deliver a learning experience to our students that continues to differentiate us in a meaningful way.  As we think of our Competencies, and words like resiliency, effort, and pride, it is clear to the Board that those words are more than aspirational; they are being displayed each day by you for the benefit of our students, families, and wider community.

Each day the Board is reminded that we are very fortunate to have a tireless Head of School who thrives in times of uncertainty. As we continue  to work closely with Diane and her management team, we are confident that RHCD is prepared to successfully negotiate this uncertain environment.

Each of you are proving every day that during difficult times, vital organizations rise to the occasion.  Along with our students, we will all develop new skills and discover new strengths that will propel us to greater success as an organization.  We are on the right path and the Board has every confidence that together we will prevail. Thank you and keep up the great work.

Go Mariners!

RHCD alumna Hannah D. ’18 is beginning her journey as a startup entrepreneur at Brown University.

Time (Well) Spent
RHCD alumna Hannah D. ’18 is making a difference during social distancing. A Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship B-Lab participant at Brown University, Hannah co-developed Time Spent, a nonprofit startup that connects people who want to donate knowledge and time without payment. To keep the momentum going through the spring, Hannah and her partner repositioned Time Spent into a Zoom community. eCurrents spoke with Hannah and found out not only what motivates her, but how her alma mater helped to shape this aspiring entrepreneur of the future.

Rocky Hill Country Day: Tell us about your work at the Brown B-Lab. What was your motivation and what problems did you set out to solve with Time Spent? Is this your first venture?

Hannah D.: We live in a society with growing socioeconomic disparities and rates of isolation. Time Spent is a nonprofit startup that seeks to alleviate these issues by changing how we exchange services. Rather than involving money, the system utilizes something we all have: time. Time Spent operates on an hour-based barter system. People form new relationships and foster a strong community by using and earning “time credit” for each hour of work received and given.

Students at Brown benefit from complimentary services and knowledge via the Time Spent app.

Time Spent is my second venture. I am concurrently leading branding and graphic design on a one-year old startup, Token Gifts, also founded by Brown University students. I was able to apply much of what I had learned from my first venture to be a stronger co-founder for Time Spent.

RHCD: What are your academic areas of study. What are you passionate about? Why?

HD: I am majoring in Economics and Industrial Design in the Brown RISD Dual Degree Program. I am very passionate about design for humanity and inclusive design. In today’s world, hostile design is common and you can often see designs aiming to remove a certain portion of the community from a visible public space. Common examples are armrests in the middle of a park bench to prevent homeless people from sleeping in a place visible by passersby or spikes on a heating grate to prevent people sleeping on the streets from using the grate for warmth.

RHCD: Today at Rocky Hill Country Day, we are focused on specific competencies that transcend subject matter/content areas. We are interested in the intersection of multiple content areas and developing young people who are capable of navigating both content and context in order to address the challenges of tomorrow. Does this resonate with you as a college student working on real-world challenges?

HD: Being self aware. Coming from an affluent school such as RHCD, it is too easy to not think about the fact most people do not have access to similar services and educational opportunities. Time Spent seeks to alleviate access disparities by providing a platform to offer services outside of the traditional capitalist system where every hour of service exchange is considered equal regardless of the user’s educational background and skill level. We urge users to be cognizant in their interactions by recognizing that their experiences are not universal and being self aware of any privilege they hold.

RHCD: Tell us about your team, the support you are receiving at the B-Lab, and what you want to share about Time Spent. What’s your value-proposition? And your next steps?

Brown Breakthrough Lab moved into the new, state-of-the-art Jonathan M. Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship in summer 2019.

HD: My team is made of myself and two other sophomores at Brown. Michelle Liu is double-concentrating in Statistics and Sociology and William Yang is double-concentrating in Computer Science and Applied Math. This summer we are participating in Brown Breakthrough Lab, an eight-week accelerator. B-Lab provides each of the founders with a $4,000 stipend, a co-working space, and an extensive network both within and outside the Brown community in addition to partnership with AWS activate and Google Cloud.

This semester we performed extensive bottom-up research into the community’s needs and demands for Time Spent. We surveyed 300 Brown students to determine what services the community needed and what services the community could provide, including sewing, cooking, lessons, and so on. We interviewed twelve organizations with similar value propositions in the United States and one in Europe to determine what worked in their model and what struggles they faced to learn from them. We launched our venture on Brown’s campus before engaging with the Providence community and see future scaling as jumping to new campuses which would be utilized as a hub for growth for the surrounding community.

Send us your news!
Email a description and photo to social@rockyhill.org, please add eCurrents to the subject line. 

March 6, 2020

Mark Your Calendar 

    • US Boys Varsity Basketball NEPSAC Semi Finals: | March 7 | St. Thomas More School | 1 p.m.
    • March Break: March 9-22 | No school
    • Winter Athletic Awards Ceremony: March 30 | Campbell Center | 5:30 – 7 p.m.
    • Lower School PTL Meeting: Perkins Hall | 8:30 a.m.
    • Good Friday: April 10 | No school
    • Head of School Holiday: April 13 | No school

Welcome to Rocky Hill Country Day School!
To all the parents and families who assisted with admissions events and conversations with prospective families this year, we are pleased to announce that a record number of acceptances were issued on Friday, February 28! Accepted students received an email with a ‘Congratulations’ video for each division on Friday morning (see below) and a wonderfully branded acceptance package via the mail on Friday or Saturday.

But the Admissions Department is not resting yet! Two events are being held for newly accepted students; Middle School on March 4, and Upper School on March 6.

We look forward to receiving contracts over the next few weeks, and expect that several grades will be at capacity!

Trivia Night and Middle School Game Night Successes
February 21 was a busy evening at Rocky Hill Country Day! In the gym, the Boosters hosted the first annual RHCD trivia evening, while the Middle School entertained students with a game night focused on raising funds for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society of Rhode Island. Both enjoyed exceptional turn-outs, with the Middle School raising $200 for the cause. A massive thank you to everyone who participated.

Newsletter for Chinese Parents
Did you know…? Globally-minded Seniors Sarah C. ’21, Bessie Y. ’21 and Mia Z. ’22 distribute a digital magazine for Chinese parents to keep them up to speed with all things happening around the rock. If that wasn’t enough, the tremendous trio was also responsible for the All School Chinese New Year assembly. 谢谢!

Find the current edition here.

Read the Latest “Think Outside” blog

“They discover the power of finding one’s voice… a critical and often transformational achievement for Middle School students.”

Learn why public presentation skills are critically important in a student’s emotional and educational development, and understand how, and why, the process is a journey of discovery. This edition is written by Head of Middle School, Mike Jedrey.

RHCD Giving Day
On April 1, RHCD will join 300 RI non-profits for the statewide day of philanthropy, 401 Gives. The day is organized by The United Way of RI and is sponsored by RI businesses and foundations from across the state. Special incentives will be in place throughout the day such as FM Global’s challenge to donate $1,000 to the single non-profit with the most unique donors that give between 7:00 – 8:00 a.m. We have also secured RHCD challenge donors who will look to match our community’s support. Look for more details to come as the big day draws closer.

New School App
We are testing the use of a school app designed to help keep the community informed on significant student events: home games, art shows, concerts, etc. Every Sunday or Monday morning the app will be populated with a list key events going on that week.
The app does not replace the portal and won’t be updated as frequently when changes are made, but if you like to look at the week ahead for opportunities to support students and colleagues, the app may work for you!

4th Annual Alumni March Madness Giving Challenge!

Alumni from classes 2010-2019, make your gift to the Rocky Hill Fund in March and earn additional dollars from generous alumni sponsors. Gifts of any size count in the March Madness challenge! Our goal is to raise $5,000 between March 1st and March 31st. Check back often to see how your class is doing!

First Month at RHCD: Thoughts from Ailsa Petrie, Spring 2020 Innovator in Residence

Spring 2020 IIR Ailsa Petrie has been working across campus, including with our talented Lower School students.

My first few weeks as Innovator-In-Residence have been both immersive and challenging in the very best ways. I gave the Lower School faculty a design thinking presentation followed by a workshop utilizing tools to encourage creative problem solving. A wealth of opportunities were uncovered in this short session and we even made some headway on feasible solutions to address them. I was impressed by the collaborative discussion and I am excited that design thinking has already been suggested as an approach to upcoming student projects.

Although there are many models for design thinking, the LAUNCH Cycle acronym makes it easier for students to remember the key elements. L: Look, Listen, and Learn A: Ask Tons of Questions U: Understanding the Process or Problem N: Navigate Ideas C: Create a Prototype H: Highlight and Fix

The work we are doing here is designed to take groups of Lower School students, broken down by appropriate grade level pairings, through the design thinking process, enabling them to identify a local problem, iterate solutions, and build testable prototypes. The activity will be called Community Caretakers and kicks off at the beginning of next week!

Director of Innovation, Meg Stowe brought me to a few entrepreneurship classes in the Upper School where I shifted my focus to introducing students to design thinking strategies and frameworks. The students are incredibly receptive, passionate, and open-minded, and I love the Harkness classroom structure. Thank you to everyone I met on my first few days for being so welcoming! I look forward to more time spent at RHCD.

Fair Trade and Global Thinking
Last week, Upper School Spanish students took a trip to Equal Exchange in West Bridgewater, MA, to learn the value and importance of environmentally and socially conscious trade partnerships designed to foster mutually beneficial relationships between farmers and consumers. Some of the takeaways included learning about cooperatives and fair trade for farmers in Central America, South America, and parts of Africa; taking a tour of the facility and learning about the production of coffee; partaking in a jigsaw activity with information related to fair trade and presenting that information using Spanish; and finally tasting different flavors of ethically sourced chocolate.

LEEP Week Returns

Breaking News: The second annual LEEP Week was held this week in Middle School. Full details (with photographs) in the next edition of eCurrents!

World Empathy Week
Mr. Laurent’s 4th grade class spent the last week of February observing World Empathy Week. Developed by a group of experts and educators based in the United Kingdom, World Empathy Week aspires to “grow empathy in 10 million young people by 2030.” On campus, students took a digital journey to India through “5 real life cinematic-stories and active-discussions that connected them to very different lives from their own.” This year’s theme is ‘Sporting Change,’ and delves into stories from Slum Soccer India to explore how empathy has the power to change lives.”

One such short film was that of Sapna Jaiswar (watch below) and her inspiring story of grief, happiness, and sheer determination. After watching her story, the class grappled with stereotypes and discovered how they can be obstacles to empathy. They also studied the themes of positive outlooks, give and take, and gender equality. As Mr. Laurent commented, “Learning and practicing empathy is a key element to ensuring a better world for generations to come.”

Studying Water Quality
On February 24, the Environmental Science class (grades 10-12), took a field trip to four locations along the Hunt River, the freshwater source for the Potowomut River that comprises part of the RHCD waterfront. The class began studying about the river and its watershed last semester, how the land along the river varied in terms of habitat and human impact, and how this effects water quality. Tying it together, the students took observations of the sites along with thinking about how what they were seeing may influence the surrounding water.

Mindfulness Campus Walk
As part of a module on the importance of mindfulness, last week the kindergarten went on a campus walk to understand and appreciate how our bodies respond to the outdoors. Students sat on the dock by the beach and practiced mindfulness activities in nature, noticing the sounds around them (the whistle of the wind, the slapping of the waves) and what their bodies were feeling (the cool breeze, the sting of the wind). The students then walked along the campus nature trails and made sure to collect any trash along the way.

Hero Engine
As part of the Middle School physics curriculum, the 6th grade learned about the great first century Greek thinker, Hero, and how he invented the first steam engine. The class discussed how the world might have been different if society had realized the importance of Hero’s discovery at the time, before building a simple “Hero Engine” from water and a soda can.  Using the principles of Newtonian Physics, the students were challenged to increase the number and/or speed of rotations in the can as well as a series of trial and error experiments including testing position, size, and number of holes in each can. The students discovered they were able to use the action-reaction thrust produced by the water rushing out of the holes in conjunction with the force of gravity to demonstrate the principle of Newton’s Third Law.

This is Our Fight Song!
A school of champions needs a fight song, and on February 21, we got one!  Utilizing the talents of the RHCD school band, Mr. Jack McNamara teamed-up with acclaimed audio producer and engineer, Steve Badessa, to create an emphatic, marching rendition of our Alma Mater. Have a listen below!

Creating Buzz!

Back row (L-R) Kian G. ’26, Katie O. ’25, Zach D. ’25, Nate L. ’24, Will H. ‘24 Front row (L-R) Sayuri L. ’26, Holly S. ’28, Abby M. ‘27 and Isabel A. ’29.

Let’s hear it for 7th grade word wizard, Katie O’Neil, ’25 who last week was crowned 2020 Independent Spelling School Bee champion! Pictured here are Katie and her teammates, each of who competed at the RHCD Spelling Bee.


Sharing Voices Continues to Impact the Community 
The Sophomore English project on the immigrant and refugee experience in Rhode Island, Sharing Voices, has embarked on a statewide tour. It is currently on display at Barrington Books in Garden City and will be open to the public until March 11.

Making a Splash
Senior, Cortlandt M. ’20 recorded an impressive doubleheader during a weekend of competitive swimming on February 29-March 1 at Brown University and Boston University, respectively.

At the Rhode Island State High School Championships at Brown University on February 29, Cortlandt came 3rd in the 50-yard freestyle (personal record of 21.66 seconds, which will move him up in the rankings for the upcoming YMCA National Championships in North Carolina), as well as 5th in the 100-yard freestyle.

What’s more, as the only swimmer from RHCD, Cortlandt’s impressive 30-point haul in the two races means that he single-handedly moved RHCD past ten competing Rhode Island high school teams into 18th place at the 2020 RI Championships!

The next day saw Cortlandt compete at the Southeast New England YMCA Swimming Championships at Boston University, where he came 1st in the 50- yard freestyle, 2nd in the 100-yard freestyle, 2nd in the 200-yard freestyle relay, and 2nd in the 400-yard freestyle relay.

Reflecting on Cortlandt’s talent and lifelong tenure at RHCD, Assistant Head of School, Beth Degerlia, had this to say: “Cort has been with us since he was 6th grade and we have enjoyed cheering him on as a champion in the pool and beyond. We wish him continued success as he moves on to nationals!”

So Close!
After an incredible season, both the Boys and Girls Varsity Basketball teams were knocked-out in the SENE semifinals. In two well-contested, tight matches, the girls lost to Providence Country Day, and the Boys fell to MacDuffie. Both teams should be proud of their accomplishments and went down fighting, as is the Mariner Way. Let’s hear it for the Boys and Girls Varsity Basketball teams!

Outside SENE, the boys are continuing on in the NEPSAC League, and won their quarter-final game this week. They will be playing in the semi-final match at St. Thomas More School on Saturday, March 7 at 1 p.m.

Peanut Butter Collection

As part of the RI Interscholastic League (RIIL) we are supporting the RIIL Student Advisory Board’s 6th Annual Peanut Butter Express to benefit the RI Community Food Bank. This student-led initiative is being guided by our own Lizze H. ’22, who serves on the Board as a representative of RHCD. We will host three peanut butter collection days on campus. Bring your jars of peanut butter on Friday, March 27 or April 3; there will be a collection station in both parking lots at morning drop-off. Additionally, families can bring jars to the Winter Athletic Awards Ceremony on Monday, March 30.

Registration Open for Spring After School Programs
After School Programs at RHCD provides academic, artistic, and athletic opportunities for Pre-K-8 students in the community.

A variety of engaging ​programs​ are offered, Monday through Thursday (mornings and afternoons), led by highly qualified and talented RHCD faculty members and other professionals in the area.

​Spring Session Basics

  • Courses start the week of April 6th
  • Courses run from 3:20-4:30 p.m. (unless otherwise specified)
  • ​Register by Friday, April 3, 2020

Spring ​Programs

  • Spring Treasure Chests (K-3)
  • Percussion Club (4-8)
  • Fun and Games (K-5)
  • Full STEAM Ahead (2-5)
  • Spring Adventure Club (1-5)
  • Art with Mrs. A. (PS-5)

​For more program information and to register​: Click Here! Be sure to use the login page to register if you have already set up a Veracross account. 

Other questions contact Caity MacDonald, After School Programs Coordinator

Paws and Pages
Does your child love books but could benefit from a little confidence boost?  Then consider signing-up for Paws and Pages, a reading program organized by Seniors Elsa B. ’20 and 
Willa G. ’20!

Hosted by Providence Animal Rescue League, the program is designed to socialize animals at the shelter and help build reading confidence and excitement in young children in a non-threatening and fun environment.

Animals benefit from the exposure to families and become more adoptable, while the kids benefit from a new and nonjudgmental audience. It is a small space, so the sessions are split into bitesize times to encourage participation. Families with young children who have any struggles with reading aloud, reading comprehension, reading confidence, or general enjoyment of reading, are invited to attend.

Classes run every Saturday from noon until 1:30 p.m. at Providence Animal Rescue League on 34 Elbow Street, Providence. Email pawsandpagesri@gmail.com to register!

Last Call for Yearbooks!
It’s official; this is your last chance to order a yearbook! The deadline is April 1 at 11:59 p.m.  To order, go to coffeepond.com, click “Order Yearbooks” button, and enter the school code TheCrest2020 (no spaces). Then, follow the prompts to complete the order.

Not sure if you already ordered a yearbook?  Follow the same instructions, but after you click “Order Yearbooks” button, and select the box to enter your email address to get a confirmation!  Email Dr. Katy Basu (kbasu@rockyhill.org) with any questions.

Send us your news!
Email a description and photo to social@rockyhill.org, please add eCurrents to the subject line. Note: there will be no eCurrents published over the break. The publication will return once School resumes.  

February 21, 2020

Mark Your Calendar 

    • Middle School Game Night: Friday, February 21 | Campbell Center | 7 p.m. – 9 p.m.
    • Trivia Night: Friday, February 21 | Gym | 7 p.m.
    • Middle School Basketball Day: Saturday, February 22 | Gym | 9 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
    • Middle School Basketball Tournament: Saturday, February 22 | Gym | 12  – 8 p.m.
    • Upper School Play: February 28-29 | Campbell Center | 7 – 9 p.m.
    • 9th Grade Parent Breakfast: March 4 | Campbell Center | 8 – 9 a.m.
    • Middle School Admitted Students Day: March 4 | MS Commons | 3:30 – 4:30 p.m.
    • Middle School LEEP: March 5-6 | Hale and Gibson
    • Upper School Admitted Students Day: March 6 | Campbell Center | 8:30 – 11:30 a.m.
    • March Break: March 9-22 | No school
    • Winter Athletic Awards Ceremony: March 30 | Campbell Center | 5:30 – 7 p.m.

Personal Development Day

Faculty and staff participate in Diversity Directions activities during Personal Development Day.

Rocky Hill Country Day School exists to nurture the leaders of tomorrow. However, to maintain the levels of care and support our students have come to expect, from time-to-time faculty and staff need to reflect and develop from within. On February 18, teachers and administrators alike participated in two workshops, Diversity Directions and Culture Work, designed to enhance and further expand their talent and potential. Together, we discovered even more ways we can provide exemplary education for the next generation.

Thank You PTL (We LOVE You!)
On February 13, faculty and staff were surprised to see bags of sweet treats in their mailboxes! Huge thank you to the Parent Teacher League for another lovely gift. Your support means so much!

RHCD in the News (Again!)

And the press coverage keeps coming. Since the last edition of eCurrents, RHCD has been featured not once but twice in the East Greenwich Pendulum! Check out the latest here:

Who is Aunt Jemima? 
On February 2, The Upper School Diversity Club conducted an activity with the Middle School to discuss the damage caused by racial stereotypes and caricatures of African-American people. From these images students created empowering and positive art to counter tired historical clichés.

This lesson is a part of how the Diversity Club is celebrating Black History Month by challenging us to consider “Who is Aunt Jemima?” The essential questions behind the project, “are racial stereotypes of black people still found in our society today? If so, what can we do to combat them?” were devised to help students understand the history behind racial stereotypes and to discover if those stereotypes still exist today, and how they can be challenged and eradicated by the current generation.

The class first viewed the image of Betye Saar’s The Liberation of Aunt Jemima, before being asked four pertinent questions:

  • Describe the women in this image. What is wrong about how she is portrayed?
  • What is the artist trying to say by putting objects/images (like the black power symbol) together?
  • What is her message?
  • Saar called this her first protest piece. What is she protesting?

After the discussion, each student made their own version of Saar’s art. First, students selected prints of racially insensitive figures, like Aunt Jemima, and then altered the images to empower instead of oppress.

Parlez-Vous Francais? These Students Sure Can!
In June 2019, Upper School French students led by Mrs. Eléna Rich took their DELF – Diplôme d’Études en Langue Française (Diploma in French Language Studies) writing, reading, and listening exams. In late January those talented young linguists received their DELF diplomas.

Four of the DELF-accredited students. Back row L-R: Zack W., ’20, Nicholas M. ’20, Kobe P.’ 20. Front row: Christoff B.’ 20

What is DELF? DELF is an international diploma awarded by the French Ministry of Education to prove the French-language skills of non-native French speakers. The diploma is valid for life and is accepted in universities around the world as proof of proficiency. DELF has four levels: A1 and A2 (basic user), and B1 and B2 (independent user). 

The following students completed their DELF accreditation:

    • Faythe S. – B2
    • Christoff B. – B1
    • Nicholas M. – B1
    • Cortlandt M. – B1
    • Kobe P. – B1
    • Zack W. – B1
    • Troy J. – A1

Click here for more information about DELF

Sumo Wrestling Robots
That got your attention, didn’t it? Earlier in the month, a mixed group of Upper School students under the guidance of Mr. Andrew Hoffman-Patalona built and programmed vehicular robots that respond to on-board sensors. Inspired by TV shows such as Battle Bots and Robot Wars, these “sumo wrestling” robots compete for dominance within a ring and are fully self-controlled; meaning they do not require human influence to operate, relying exclusively on their sensors.

“The students are required to find and build appropriate code to make the robots respond to their sensors,” explained Hoffman-Patalona. “Not only does this make for a fun way to learn, but it also assists with their computer science skills.”

Wuhan Needs Your Help
Walking around Flynn, you might notice posters announcing the RHCDS Wuhan Donation Committee. Established by a group of Upper School students from China, the group will be raising funds to purchase n95 masks and shoe protectors for the city of Wuhan, currently crippled by the coronavirus (COVID-19). The team will be hosting bake sales and accepting donations that will be sent to contacts in China who can get the masks directly to the hospital in Wuhan. Any donations can be given to Lisa Goulden in the Upper School or Beth DeGerlia in Hopelands. Thank you!

Testing Newton
Sir Issac Newton might have worked in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, but his ideas on physics continue to resonate (and remain relevant) in the present day. In Hale, Karah Chartrand’s Middle School science classes have been investigating Newton’s second law of motion by placing Hess trucks on ramps to test their impact at different levels of elevation. A cool way to experiment with science, Sir Issac would have been proud!

Empty Bowls Resonates with the Community
As part of the Middle School Art Show, students presented their Empty Bowls exhibit on the evening of February 11. Designed to highlight the plight of hunger across the world, the exhibition is part of the global Empty Bowls movement.

Some of the peanut butter, jam, and snacks gathered during Empty Bowls that was donated to Help the Homeless RI, and Breads and Threads.

The evening had two major components: an exhibition featuring a series of bowls created by each grade symbolizing world hunger and a soup dinner. Attendees enjoyed a bowl of hot soup, after which they were invited to consider the perspective that while they had just eaten, the empty bowls of the exhibition remained.

“It’s great that the School instills such strong social awareness,” commented one parent, “as small gestures like this can foster real change in the future.”

“The message behind the project is something most young people don’t get exposed to,” explained another, “and I look forward to supporting Empty Bowls at Rocky Hill Country Day every year.”

A huge thank you to everyone who attended and brought food donations to benefit two local grassroots organizations that feed the hungry: Help the Homeless RI, and Breads and Threads.

Lower School Spreads the Love

The Lower School is famous for filling the campus with positive energy, and this Valentine’s Day was no different! On the morning of February 11, our favorite little tykes went around the school handing out Valentine’s Day hearts to faculty and staff. A beautiful gesture, all the recipients were very moved by their kindness, creativity, and generosity.

Max L. and Kobe P. take it all in during Senior Recognition Night.

Basketball Senior Recognition Night
On February 12 and 14, the Athletics Department held Senior Recognition Nights for basketball players who are graduating at the end of the season. Emotional events, Senior Recognition Night is held on the senior players’ final scheduled home game. It is also symbolic as the evening marks the last time that the players suit-up in a home

Andrew Z. and Nick M. with their families at Senior Recognition Night.

regular season game for their alma mater. Players and the parents alike are recognized for their dedication to their chosen sports, their teammates, and the program as a whole by introducing the player and family to the gathered crowd and giving each a symbolic rose to mark the occasion. Please join us in thanking Andrew Z., Kobe P., Max L. and Nick M. for all the memories and successes We wish you all the very best! 

ACE Ice Cream Social
Nothing beats ice-cream in winter! Come and enjoy some tasty frozen treats on Tuesday, March 3 in the ACE Building from 3:15 – 4:00 p.m. The event is open to ACE students from all three divisions.

Summer Camp
Join us for Summer by the Bay! June 22 – August 7. We are pleased to announce that registration for Rocky Hill Country Day Summer Camps is now open. From traditional camps to specialty and Nike sports camps, experience a summer like no other.

Programs range from traditional day camps to computer coding, culinary classes to sports activities. Our traditional full or half-day programs – Critter Camp, Jr. Mariners, and Mariners, are our most popular camps, while our sports camps are run by adults who know their sport and are top-level players and experienced coaches. Imagine camps in drama, jewelry making, waterfront painting, coding, and even woodworking!

Camps are available for ages 3-17. Visit rockyhill.org or contact Karah Chartrand at kchartrand@rockyhill.org for more information.

Let’s hear it for Varsity Boys Basketball star, Parker M.! Since joining the team, Parker has established himself as a key “go-to-guy”, improving his abilities game by game and asking important personal development questions that result in better performances every time he pulls on the RHCD uniform. “Parker never complains,” explains Athletics Trainer Art Entwistle, “he puts his head down and works to the best of his ability.”

Send us your news!
Email a description and photo to social@rockyhill.org, please add eCurrents to the subject line.

February 7, 2020

Mark Your Calendar 

    • Middle School Art Show: February 10 -14| Hale Commons
    • Empty Bowls Middle School Art Reception (for MS Families): Tuesday, February 11 | Hale | 5:00 p.m.
    • All School PTL Meeting: Thursday, February 13 | Flynn LH | 8:30 a.m.
    • No School for Upper School: Friday, February 14 | Parent Conferences
    • School Closed: Monday, February 17 | Presidents Day
    • School Closed: Tuesday, February 18 | Professional Development Day
    • Middle School Game Night: Friday, February 21 | Campbell Center | 6 p.m. – 8 p.m.
    • Trivia Night: Friday, February 21 | Gym | 7 p.m.
    • Middle School Basketball Day: Saturday, February 22 | Gym | 8 a.m. – 9 p.m.
    • Upper School Play: February 28-29 | Campbell Center |

Head of School Presents at AISNE
Last week, Head of School, Diane Rich presented at the Head’s Retreat sponsored by the Association of Independent Schools of New England (AISNE), one of the largest such associations in the country. Once a year, Heads of School gather to discuss topics relevant to the state of independent schools across the region, and together come to a deeper understanding of their charge as leaders.

Presenting on behalf of RHCD, Mrs. Rich led an important conversation with her peers on the changing education landscape and the essential elements needed to foster an environment where schools can thrive. These were identified as transparency, collaboration, creativity, and calmness of mind—values seen everyday at Rocky Hill Country Day School.

“My take away from attending this year’s 2020 Head’s Retreat,” wrote Mrs. Rich in a Head of School letter, “and hearing the challenges other schools face, is that RHCD is well positioned for the challenges ahead. Our vision of the future of education is serving as a powerful and successful guide.”

Rocky Hill Social: Thank You to All Who Attended!
The Rocky Hill Social at Dorrian’s Red Hand, Manhattan on January 31 was an occasion to remember! Members of the RHCD community young and old, near and far, joined for a festive evening of connecting, reconnecting, and networking. Many thanks to Amy Archambault Dorrian ’94 for hosting us!

Annual Alumni Legacy Social
On January 30, the School hosted its first Annual Alumni Legacy Social. Legacy families are defined as those where a parent of a current student or alumnus/a is also an alumnus/a. Everyone had fun sharing stories about the good old days and looking at yearbooks and Bulletins from years gone by. Graduation years spanned from 1979 – 2013.

RHCD in the News
It has been a busy start to the year, and the local press has been hot on our trail! One event in particular attracted quite a lot of attention: the Junior English project led by Mrs. Buecheler and Mrs. Snyman, “What They Still Carry: Reflections on the Experience of War.” Here are some clippings to enjoy:

Rocky Hill Fund: Half Way There!
The 2019-2020 Rocky Hill Fund is almost halfway to our goal of raising $320,000 by June 30! Want to help us hit the mark? You can make a gift or pledge online! This year, we are celebrating 85 Years and 85 Moments Supported by the Rocky Hill Fund. Here are just a few examples of how all gifts make an impact at RHCD. Thank you for helping to bring them all to life.

Read the Latest “Think Outside” blog

“Disruptive teaching and learning is not a new concept. Dedicated and passionate educators are always looking for ways to better engage their learners.”

Discover why shaking-up the status quo leads to growth in the classroom. By Fourth Grade teacher, Charlie Laurent.

2020-21 Student Activity Fee

You will notice a change this year in your child’s enrollment contract. In an effort to support our families with budgeting and managing school expenses, we are moving away from billing families for various fees and items during the school. Instead, we have instituted a student activity fee. The fee includes class experiences, field trips, a yearbook, billed classroom supplies, and other expected charges for all students in each grade.

The fee varies by grade since the costs and the trips vary by grade. Your student activity fee is also included in your payment plan, which allows fees to be paid over time. Individual charges may appear on your account occasionally, but our aim is to minimize this as much as possible.

Please reach out to the Business Office if you have any questions about this new arrangement.

Announcing Ailsa Petrie: Spring 2020 Innovator in Residence

Spring IIR, Ailsa Petrie

Each year, RHCD invites distinguished industry experts who combine knowledge and skills in novel ways to join our school community as Innovators-In-Residence (IIR). These IIRs elevate dialogue around big, bold ideas, and expose students, faculty, and families to cutting-edge work across a variety of disciplines. IIRs also offer access to networks of entrepreneurs and researchers that provide multidisciplinary real-world learning.

RHCD is pleased to announce Ailsa Petrie as the Spring 2020 IIR. Petrie brings expertise in Design Thinking, Service Design, and Ideation, coupled with a focus on the process of transformation, development, and self-improvement. She has led workshops with Home DepotPorche North America, and Project ReSound (Rio de Janeiro, Brazil).

Petrie attended Syracuse University and SCAD (Savannah College of Art and Design), and is one of only 20 innovators from around the world selected to join IDEO’s exclusive CoLab Fellows Program. She will be in residence at RHCD during semester 2, through June 2020.

If you have questions or wish to connect with Ailsa, please reach out to the Director of Innovation, Meg Stowe

Nous t’aimons Québec
One of the most beautiful elements of “Thinking Outside” is that is can lead us very far afield indeed. Last week, a party of Eighth Graders under the guidance of Mike Jedrey and Karah Chartrand returned from the 16th annual RHCD trip to Québec City… and what an adventure they had!

From acting-out traditional folk tales to visiting the breathtaking splendor of Montmorency Falls, the three day expedition leaves an indelible mark on all those who embark on the journey. Highlights included tobogganing down the slide at the Château Frontenac, which has been in operation since 1884, eating a traditional Québecois dinner at a sugar shack, and spending an evening snow tubing at Valcartier.

During a walking tour of Old Québec, the party visited the Place Royal, passed near the home Samuel de Champlain who founded Quebec in 1608, and also stopped by the Parliament building. But that wasn’t all. Canada is a paradise for winter activities, and the Eighth Grade made the most of ice skating, snowshoeing, and cross country skiing, as well as dog sledding along a forest trail, before visiting a traditional Huron Village in Wendake to learn more about the people who first inhabited this corner of the Americas.

Sound like we’re missing something? No trip to Québec would be complete without eating poutine, and everyone enjoyed this delicious dish of french fries and cheese curds topped with brown gravy! The Eighth Grade thanks everyone who welcomed them in Québec and showed them the sights of this remarkable Provence. We look forward to seeing you all again, next year.

See more photos on Facebook and Instagram!

The after school sewing crew made joey pouches for orphaned marsupials.

Sending aid to Australia
The Lower School students came together to offer support to Australia as it continues to be ravaged by wildfires. The after school sewing crew completed a service learning project by making joey pouches for baby marsupials who lost their mothers in the fires.

Mad Dash Author Visits RHCD
On Friday, January 31, local author, Tom Kiernan, visited the RHCD library and spoke with Fifth through Seventh Grade students about his book series, The Mad Dash. The premise centers around best friends, Lumpy and Bones, who are about to embark on their final year of Junior High… but their survival depends upon an app for time travel! With thanks to a generous sponsorship from the Hayes Family, all 5th through 7th grade students received free access to the online versions of the series.

Rocky Hill Country Day is a Safe Sports School
As announced in the most recent edition of eCurrents, Rocky Hill Country Day School has received a second Safe Sports School Award (as determined by the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA)), for its Mariner Athletic Program. The award champions safety and recognizes secondary schools that have met the recommended standards to improve safety in sports, and reinforces the importance of providing the best level of care, injury prevention, and treatment.

The Athletics Department displays the NATA banner accrediting RHCD with Safe Sports School status at the Student Boosters annual Tropical Night.

“Rocky Hill Country Day School is honored to receive this 1st Team recognition from NATA,” said Arthur Entwistle, Athletic Trainer & Assistant Athletic Director. “We remain committed to keeping our student athletes safe during physical education classes, team practices, and games so they can accomplish their own goals of great competition, winning records, fair sportsmanship, and good health. Our goal is to lead our athletics program to the highest safety standards for our players.”

In order to achieve Safe Sports School status, athletic programs must achieve, among much else:

• A positive athletic health care administrative system
• Safe and appropriate practice and competition facilities
• Plans for selection, fit function, and proper maintenance of athletic equipment
• A permanent, appropriately equipped area to treat injured athletes
• Injury and illness prevention strategies
• Injury intervention
• Psychosocial consultation and nutritional counseling/education

Everyone at Rocky Hill Country Day thanks the Athletics Department for the incredible work they do in promoting safe, effective, and fulfilling health and wellness activities.

Unveiling Championship Banners
As far as Fridays go, Friday January 29 was one to remember for the Athletics Department. The gymnasium was alive with a basketball double header (Varsity Girls followed by Varsity Boys), with the respective half times used to reveal the 2019 Rhode Island Interscholastic League Girls Lacrosse D3 State Championship and the 2019 NEPSAC Boys Soccer Class D New England Championship banners. In fitting recognition of 2019 being an incredible year for Athletics, the Student Boosters also hosted their annual Tropical Night. Talk about the Mariner Way!

Reach: The Middle School Art Show
Reach“, the Middle School Art Show, will be on display in the Hale Commons on February 10th-14th. Projects of note include the Sixth Grade “Helping Hands” unit inspired by American Sign Language; Seventh Grade “Superfood Paintings”, and Eighth Grade portraits of Syrian refugees.

Reach Special Event:  Empty Bowls 

Middle School families are invited to celebrate a RHCD adaptation of “Empty Bowls on Tuesday, February 11, 5:00-6:30 p.m. in Hale. Families are encouraged to bring donations of peanut butter, jelly, granola bars, and individually packed snacks to benefit Help the Homeless RI, and Breads and Threads respectively. Soup and refreshments will be served, with the Eighth Grade Tiny House project also being exhibited.

Trivia Night and Middle School Game Night!
The Boosters are hosting Trivia Night on February 21. Just like your favorite evening trivia, there will be a cash bar, BYO snacks, and an amazing host (spoiler alert – it’s Megan Williams!) Anyone can take part, they do not have to be part of RHCD, so grab a friend (or ten) and get a team entered (please note this is an 18+ event)!  Doors open at 6:30 p.m., and childcare is available. Sign up here!

Complimentary child supervision will be offered in the Flynn Nautilus for RHCD families from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.

Need more entertainment? Middle School will also be hosting Middle School Game Night! Students will enjoy an array of games and fun from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. Admission is $5 which will be collected to make a donation to the Leukemia Society in support of Aura Rizzo, a longtime teacher and coach at RHCD. Those students who have parents attending Trivia Night are welcome to join other students in the Flynn Lecture Hall until Trivia Night concludes at 9:00 p.m.

ACE Ice Cream Social
Nothing beats ice-cream in winter! Come and enjoy some tasty frozen treats on Tuesday, March 3 in the ACE Building from 3:15 – 4:00 p.m. The event is open to ACE students from all three divisions.

Summer Camp
Join us for Summer by the Bay! June 22 – August 7. We are pleased to announce that registration for Rocky Hill Country Day Summer Camps is now open. From traditional camps to specialty and Nike sports camps, experience a summer like no other.

Programs range from traditional day camps to computer coding, culinary classes to sports activities. Our traditional full or half-day programs – Critter Camp, Jr. Mariners, and Mariners, are our most popular camps, while our sports camps are run by adults who know their sport and are top-level players and experienced coaches. Imagine camps in drama, jewelry making, waterfront painting, coding, and even woodworking!

Visit rockyhill.org or contact Karah Chartrand at kchartrand@rockyhill.org for more information.

Let’s hear it for sophomore Kaeley Z. of the Upper School Band who has been selected to participate in the Providence College Festival Band! This ensemble is made up of leading wind and percussion students from around the state and selection is made by audition. Outside RHCD, Kaeley studies privately with John Curran, who is the former principal flutist for the RI Philharmonic. The entire RHCD community congratulates Kaeley on this exceptional musical accomplishment.

Flu Season
It is that time of year again when the flu is spreading. The Rhode Island Department of Health has noted an increase in the strain B version of the flu. Receiving a flu vaccine will lessen the severity of the flu, but may not completely protect you from strain B. Strain B is highly contagious and appears to initially have cold-like symptoms such as fever, chills, sore throat, cough, runny nose/sneezing, fatigue, or muscle aches. If you child is showing these symptoms, please keep them home. We recommend that you also have them seen by a doctor. Please do not send your child back to school until they have been fever-free without fever-reducing medication for 24 hours.

Washing your hands often, getting plenty of sleep, and drinking lots of fluids are good ways to prevent the flu or colds.

UPDATE February 6

We have checked with other area schools and they too are experiencing an outbreak. However no other area schools are closing due to the flu. The CDC does not recommend school closure as a way to contain the flu, but instead recommends good hygiene such as washing hands and covering your mouth for any coughs or sneezes.

As other precautionary steps we have done the following:

  • Asked the dining staff to not leave any utensils in the dining area and add an extra washing of all utensils prior to putting them out for service.
  • Provided Clorox wipes to every classroom for cleaning surfaces such as tables, desks, door knobs, etc.

Additionally if you do not feel well, please stay home. The guidance we have received is that this has to run its course. For more information on the season’s flu outbreak, visit the CDC’s flu website.

Yearbook Tributes
Attention parents of Seniors! Want to see your child in print? Order a full, half, or quarter page yearbook tribute! Sign up on Veracross, and follow the prompts to complete your order. Send designs/photographs to Dr. Katy Basu by February 14, 2020. Images must be in .jpg or .pdf. format, with a resolution of 300 DPI or higher.

Send us your news!
Email a description and photo to social@rockyhill.org, please add eCurrents to the subject line.

January 24, 2019

Mark Your Calendar 

    • Tri-M Honor Society Coffee House: Wednesday, January 29 | Nautilus | 6:00 – 7:30 p.m
    • Chinese New Year Celebration: Thursday, January 30 | Gym | 11:05 – 11:45 a.m.
    • 8th Grade Quebec Trip: Thursday, January 30 – Sunday, February 2
    • The Mad Dash Author Visit: Friday, January 31 | Library | 11:00 – 11:40 a.m.
    • RHCD in NYC: Friday, January 31 | Dorian Red Hand, New York City | 6:30 p.m.
    • Athletics Banners Unveiling: Friday, January 31 | Various Locations on Campus | from 4:30 p.m.
    • Middle School Art Show: February 10-14 | Middle School Commons (Hale)
    • Empty Bowls Middle School Art Reception: Tuesday, February 11 | Hale | 5:00 p.m.

Spring Break College Tour
We are excited to announce a three day tour of colleges in Western Massachusetts, led by the director of college counseling, Ms. Tara Dowling. Students will visit a wide range of colleges (size, type, cost, selectivity), and learn about the benefits of each. In addition, students will spend time in the company of their college counselor who will use ‘down time’ to teach them how to evaluate a college. Tips will include how students should conduct themselves on a visit, suggest questions to ask a tour guide, how to develop a sense of fit with a college, and how to distinguish one college from another.

Trips will set off from RHCD early in the morning, and return in the late afternoon or early evening. Cost is $235 per student, and includes expert guidance, transportation, lunch and snacks, and one group dinner.

Please contact Ms. Dowling if financial aid is needed.

DAY 1: Monday, March 9
UMASS Amherst Amherst, MA: large, state flagship, very selective
Amherst College Amherst, MA: small, highly selective, liberal arts

DAY 2: Tuesday, March 10
Clark University Worcester, MA: medium, selective, progressive, liberal arts
College of the Holy Cross Worcester, MA: medium, liberal arts, very selective, Catholic

DAY 3: Wednesday, March 11
Trinity College Hartford, CT: small, highly selective, liberal arts
Nichols College, Dudley, MA: small, private, moderately selective, business specialty

2020-2021 Re-Enrollment Agreements
Just a note that re-enrollment agreements will be coming soon. Your agreement will be sent to the email address we have on file for you. Please take a moment and confirm that we have the correct information in the Family Portal under Household Update.

RHCD Leads the Way!
We already knew this… but it’s always nice to be recognized! Earlier in the month, Rocky Hill Country Day School was ranked in the Top Ten of Niche’s 100 best Rhode Island schools. Check out the full list on Patch.com!

Head of School to Present at AISNE Head’s Retreat
Head of School, Mrs. Diane Rich, will be presenting/facilitating at AISNE’s 2020 Heads’ Retreat on Wednesday, January 29. More in the next edition of eCurrents!

Think Outside: Announcing the RHCD Blog 
As with everything at Rocky Hill Country Day School, the concept of Think Outside is a global mindset driven by innovation, transformative education, and project-based learning. Accordingly, we developed a thought leadership blog designed to convey and illustrate the depth and scope behind the RHCD family. With all that in mind, Rocky Hill Country Day School is excited to announce the RHCD thought leadership blog, Think Outside released twice a month. Read the first post, Rocky Hill Country Day: Home of Transformative Education, authored by Head of School, Diane Rich.

 Join us next week when Lower School teacher, Charles Laurent takes a “A Look Inside The Classroom: How To Encourage Disruptive Learning By Saying ”Yes”

What They Still Carry: Experiences of War
Mrs. Buecheler’s and Mrs. Bel Snyman’s Junior English class recently completed “What They Still Carry: Experiences of War,” an interview-based project that recorded the experiences of combat and non-combat veterans. The culmination of the project saw the students exhibit creative responses to their findings at the Varnum Armory in East Greenwich. The aim of the exhibition is to encourage dialogue between civil and military societies by creating an understanding of the effects that war can have on the human body, mind, and relationships.

The exhibition runs January 23-30; we encourage everyone to visit and experience this important and unique civic presentation.

Jannessa Y. ’22 and Anand B. ’22 interviewed and wrote the story of Rodrigo Pimentel, a young Dreamer and DACA recipient.

Sharing Voices Exhibition
On January 17, Sophomore English students launched the Sharing Voices exhibition; the culmination of a PBL module focusing on the immigrant and refugee experience in contemporary America. Under the guidance of Upper School English teacher, Bel Snyman, the exhibition focuses on what the students discovered about themselves and others.

Finn Y. (left) and Mia Z. (right) with interviewee Louisa C., P18, and P21.

The interactions celebrated the power of the human spirit and the kindness of strangers, but most significantly, the students learned about determination and never giving up.

Students were reminded of all the ways that we are different, yet also what we have in common. As they reflected on their identities, the students discovered what it means to negotiate one’s identity and claim one’s new sense of place. While the experiences of the interviewees varied greatly, a single thread came to the surface; one of service and a desire to give back to the society that welcomed them.

Carl no quiere ir a Mexico
As part of learning on identity, Mrs. Bernardinos 7th Grade Spanish students read the book, Carl No Quiere Ir a México. The story centers around Carl who leaves Colorado and travels to Mexico with his family. Carl feels anxious about not knowing Spanish and not belonging. In the end, all turns out well.

On January 10th, the class shared the culmination of the project during the 4th Grade World Languages and Culture class. 7th graders shared their understanding of the story, their first reading totally in Spanish, and the 4th graders had fun while learning some new words in the language. After reading the book in groups, students created a different front cover, rewrote the book in Spanish, and created an interactive game to go along with the experience. 

Stefy A, Grade 11 “The Last Ones” Oil Painting (Silver Key)

Scholastic Art Competition
Congratulations to our students who participated in the Scholastic Art Competition! The Art Show and Ceremony took place at Rhode Island College on January 19th at 2 p.m., with pieces on display throughout the event. Here are all the RHCD winners:

Jasper S., Grade 11. (Silver, Ceramics)

Jasper S. (Grade 11): 1 Silver Key, 1 Gold Key
Cole L. (Grade 12): 1 Silver Key, Ceramics
Sam W. (Grade 12): 1 Silver Key, Ceramics
George K. (Grade 12): Gold Key, Ceramics
Molly P. (Grade 10): 1 Silver Key, Drawing
Stefy A. (Grade 11):  2 Silver Keys, Drawing

Safe Sports School 

Breaking news… for the second time, Rocky Hill Country Day School has received a Safe Sports School Award, as determined by the National Athletic Trainers Association (NATA). The recognition spans the years 2020-2023. More to come in the next edition of eCurrents!

Lady Mariners Victorious!
On Tuesday 14, the RHCD Lady Mariners basketball team traveled to Brown University to take on SENE rival, Providence Country Day. A hotly contested match throughout, the Mariners played some impressive basketball and emerged eventual winners, seeing out the game 50-38!

So Close…
After a long and successful debut season, RHCD eSports team was narrowly defeated by Tiverton High School in the league’s semifinal earlier in the month. After losing the first of three encounters, the players regrouped, re-evaluated, and took the second game 33-14. However, after some enthralling RHCD play, Tiverton won a key fight in the third to push their advantage and close the series. Fighting to the end; the very embodiment of the Mariner Way!

RHCD Alumna and North Kingston Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Links-Up with Governor Raimondo for #WindWinRI Program

On January 20, RHCD alumna and Executive Director of North Kingston Chamber of Commerce, Kristin Urbach 87, introduced Governor Raimondo at the Chamber’s #windwinri program. The project commits all of Rhode Island to be powered by renewable electricity by 2030. Learn more on the project here.

Tri-M Honor Society Coffee House
Enjoy an evening showcasing the musical talents of RHCD students to raise money for the Australian wildfires. The showcase will take place in the Flynn Nautilus on Wednesday, January 29 at 6:30 p.m.

Chinese New Year Celebration
Join us on Thursday, January 30, to ring in the Chinese New Year! 2020 is the Year of the Rat, the first of the repeating 12-year cycle of animals in the Chinese zodiac. The celebration starts at 11:05 a.m. in the Gym.

Taking a Bite Out of the Big Apple!
Join us in NYC on January 31 for a Rocky Hill Social at Dorrian’s Red Hand in the heart of downtown Manhattan. All members of the Rocky Hill community are welcome to join for a festive evening and an opportunity to connect and network with area alumni, former faculty, parents, grandparents, and friends of the School. Complimentary cocktails and hors d’oeuvres will be served. Thank you to Amy Archambault Dorrian ’94 for hosting us in the private bar! Register on Veracross.

Athletics Banners Unveiling
Thanks to the generosity of the Boosters, the Athletics department will be unveiling the championship banners for the 2019 Girls Lacrosse State Championship and the 2019 Boys Soccer New England Championship (as well as the rebranded 2011 Boys Soccer New England Championship banner) during basketball halftimes on January 31. The Boys Soccer will be unveiled during the half-time of the girls game (approximately 4:30 p.m.), with the Girls Lacrosse during the half-time of the boys basketball game (approximately 6:00 p.m.).

Flu Season
It is that time of year again when the flu is spreading. The Rhode Island Department of Health has noted an increase in the strain B version of the flu. Receiving a flu vaccine will lessen the severity of the flu, but may not completely protect you from strain B. Strain B is highly contagious and appears to initially have cold-like symptoms such as fever, chills, sore throat, cough, runny nose/sneezing, fatigue, or muscle aches. If you child is showing these symptoms, please keep them home. We recommend that you also have them seen by a doctor. Please do not send your child back to school until they have been without a fever for 24 hours.

Washing your hands often, getting plenty of sleep and drinking lots of fluids are good ways to prevent the flu or colds.

Yearbook Tributes
Attention parents of Seniors! Want to see your child in print? Order a full, half, or quarter page yearbook tribute! Sign up on Veracross, and follow the prompts to complete your order. Send designs/photographs to Dr. Katy Basu by February 14, 2020. Images must be in .jpg or .pdf. format, with a resolution of 300 DPI or higher.

Send us your news!

Email a description and photo to Social@rockyhill.org, please add eCurrents to the subject line.

December 20 2019

Mark Your Calendar 

    • Winter Solstice: Friday, December 20 | School Closes and Classes Dismissed at 12:00 p.m.
    • Home for the Holidays Alumni Social: Friday, December 27th | 4:00 to 6:00 p.m. at Apponaug Brewing Company in Warwick.
    • Winter Break: Monday, December 23 – Friday, January 3, 2020 | NO SCHOOL
    • Term Starts: Monday, January 6, 2020

(New) Wheels on the Bus
A new school bus hit the asphalt last week after longstanding driver, Bill Langlois, cut the ribbon at a special ceremony on campus. The contemporary interpretation of the classic Blue Bird Micro is built on a robust Chevrolet 4500 chassis, and will be used to safely and comfortably ferry RHCD students for many years to come! Thank you to everyone who donated funds to purchase this essential piece of school equipment.

P-P-P-P-enguin Plunge (Brrrrr!)

The Penguin Plunge crew moments before the big dive!

On the chilly afternoon of December 12, a group of brave students and staff took to the frigid water of Narragansett Bay to participate in a charity penguin plunge. The funds raised were donated to the Special Olympics RI in support of their own penguin plunge, taking place on January 1st. Congratulations (and kudos) to all those who took part and thanks to the Interact Club for organizing the event!

Registration Open for Winter After School Programs
After School Programs at RHCD, previously RHEA, provide academic, artistic, and athletic opportunities for PreK-5 students in the community. A variety of engaging ​programs​ are offered, Monday through Thursday (mornings and afternoons), led by highly qualified and talented RHCD faculty members and other professionals in the area.

​Winter Session Basics

    • Courses start the week of January 13th
    • Courses run from 3:20-4:30 p.m. (unless otherwise specified)
    • ​Register by Friday, January 10, 2020

Winter ​Programs

    • Crystal Creations (K-3)
    • Toy Hack Club (3-5)
    • Learn to Play Violin (K-2)
    • Baking and Crafts (K-5)
    • Sewing (3-8)
    • Full STEAM Ahead (2-5)
    • Pottery (1-5)
    • Winter Adventure Club (2-5)
    • Mindful Moving and Making (K-5)
    • Theatre by the Bay (3-5)

​For more program information and to register​: Click Here! Be sure to use the login page to register if you have already set up a Veracross account. Contact Mrs. Pontarelli, Head of Lower School, with questions.

Reminder: Financial Aid Applications
Financial Aid applications for the 2019 – 2020 school year are due by December 31, 2019. Parents should use their income tax information from 2018.

Solstice Sweet Swap!
The RHCD Parent Teacher League baked up a storm for a Solstice Sweets Swap! Faculty and staff members received holiday cookies courtesy of our generous parents making this winter break even sweeter.

Winter Celebration with Head of School
On the afternoon of December 19, Head of School Diane Rich invited faculty and staff into her home to celebrate the closing of an incredible and memorable year at Rocky Hill Country Day. Here are some photographs from the occasion.

Building Blocks of Success: First LEGO League Qualifying Tournament at RHCD
At Rocky Hill Country Day School, students are encouraged to solve real world problems, and last week this ethos was once again brought to life as the School participated in FIRST LEGO League Robotics State Qualifier, hosted on campus.

The Robo Mariners developed an eco-walk material using recycled and home-made bioplastic. The Team will compete in the Statewide finals in January 2020!

Competing against 12 other teams, The Robo Mariners grappled with the issues surrounding asphalt surfaces in cities and towns, and developed an alternative eco-walk material using recycled materials and homemade bioplastic.

Their innovative solution was submitted to a panel of expert judges, alongside a robot named Scorpion that posted the fourth highest overall score in the tournament with 220 points.

In preparation for the State Finals at Roger Williams University on January 11, the team will continue to refine their programming and their innovative “E-Walk” solution. More on this in the next edition of eCurrents!

Thinking Outside About RHCD Trees
Since September, freshmen English, biology, and art foundations classes have been collaborating on a cross-discipline PBL theme titled “Thinking Outside About RHCD Trees”. On Thursday, December 19, the students hosted the “RHCD Tree Fair” to review and discuss their findings. The students also hosted informative walking tours around the campus to present their research within the context of the surroundings.

Constitutional Considerations

Eight grade students with State Representatives discussing the constitutional and safety issues surrounding gun ownership.

Mrs. Cicchese’s eighth grade English class, along with Mr. Greenwood’s eighth grade american government class recently completed a compelling and powerful project-based learning opportunity to address the question: How can we reduce the amount of gun violence in America without violating the constitutional rights of citizens? As a culminating event, the students presented their findings, along with suggestions for solutions, to three Rhode Island state legislators: Justine Caldwell (East Greenwich), Carol McEntee (South Kingstown), and Deb Ruggiero (Jamestown). The eighth grade deeply appreciates the representatives taking time out of their hectic schedules to discuss this important issue.

Cell Membrane Modeling
Thinking outside means many things, including creative ways to convey complex ideas. Recently, seventh grade science applied the engineering design process to their studies by identifying the different parts of a phospholipid bilayer before defining and providing examples of osmosis, simple diffusion, facilitated diffusion, and active transport.

Each student made a model of a semi-permeable membrane, differentiating between passive and active transport, before designing and building a semi-functional model. “The cool thing about this project,” explains Middle School science teacher, Mrs Chartrand, “is that every group’s model is extremely different, yet each can accurately mimic a cell membrane.”

To assess, the students tested the models by moving various symbolic materials through them (sand, beans, pom-poms  etc.). By making a 3-D model, students became aware of the form and function (anatomy and physiology) of organelles and structures that make up a plant or animal cell. They were able to visualize the difference between major cell types by examining their peers’ models.

Future Forum
Innovation is key to our thinking at RHCD, and this was reinforced once more as a group of students took part in the Future Forum, an ideation summit at Hope High School designed to explore issues in Providence public schools and discuss student-derived solutions.

Under the leadership of Mrs. Stowe, Ms. Downling, and Ms. Wheatley, students from RHCD and a host of Providence public schools linked-up with 25 corporate ‘futurists’ from organizations such as DataRobot, Working Planet, ALEX AND ANI, NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research, Brown University, and CVS Health to work through the various challenges raised during the summit. With the long view in mind, the Future Forum also offered participants the opportunity to work with peers of diverse backgrounds to prepare them for the complexities and social variety of the workplace.

Winter Concert Series
Tis’ the season for music! Throughout December, a series of concerts showcasing the musical talents of our students were held both on and off campus. Audiences were treated to a wide and varied spread of pieces, including a traditional South African prayer sung in Xhosa, a selection from the Nutcracker Suite, The Godfather theme tune, Latin carols, and a cover of Des’ree Weekes’ “You Gotta Be.” Talk about talented! Take a well-deserved bow, everyone!

Introducing Mariner Madness
The Athletics and Student Boosters Clubs rounded off a memorable year with a brand new event this December. Dubbed Mariner Madness, the occasion was inspired by Midnight Madness (but at a more reasonable hour!). Festivities began with an indoor tailgate in the cafeteria before switching to the gym for the main event complete with basketball (plus some basketball goofiness) cheered-on by energetic fans in full pep rally mode. This one will definitely be returning next year!

Welcome to the Family!
Dean of Student Life and Upper School French instructor, Madame Elena Rich, and her husband, Patrick, are pleased to announce the birth of their son, Jules Emerson Rich. Jules was born on December 14, right on his due date, and looks forward to becoming a Mariner of the future! Welcome to the RHCD family, Jules.

RHCD Around the World
RHCD’s national and international footprint expanded even further in 2019, as faculty and staff, including Mrs. Dowling, Mrs. Fonseca Lanham, Mrs. Gustavel and Mrs. Bernardino presented at industry conferences.

A Warm Meal for Those in Need
This Christmas Eve, Mrs. Chartland will be supporting the 3rd Annual Christmas Eve Dinner for the Homeless, to be held at Millrace in Woonsocket. The volunteers are still accepting donations of food, money, and gifts (all ages and adult), and welcome anyone who wishes to volunteer their time, too. For more information, or to get involved, please email Mrs. Chartrand.

Limited edition RHCD Mug

The Ceramics Department presents this limited edition #RHCD mug! Mugs are $25 each, with all proceeds benefiting the Scholarship Fund for the China Trip. To purchase a mug, visit the Library and please bring a check for payment.

Send us your news!

Email a description and photo to Social@rockyhill.org, please add eCurrents to the subject line.