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 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, 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 ( with any questions.

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