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.