Fall Field Trips: Seventh Grade Service

Yesterday, the seventh grade had a powerful full day learning about individuals and/or families in our community seeking support for basic needs, and what services/supports exist for them.

The day began with a visit with Susan from Real Change, an award-winning weekly newspaper that provides immediate employment opportunity and takes action for economic, social, and racial justice. Susan told the girls about Real Change’s vision to create just, caring and inclusive community, where people are no longer marginalized by racism and classism and have the means to live with dignity, and she gave each girl a handmade Compassion Heart. The girls also heard from Rev. Reynolds from Operation Nightwatch, a service helping to place hundred of homeless men in shelters each night; and FareStart, a culinary job training and placement program for homeless and disadvantaged individuals. Since 1992, FareStart has provided opportunities for over 7,500 people to transform their lives, while also serving over 6 million meals to disadvantaged people in our community.

After that, groups hopped on King County Metro busses, and set off in different directions: One went to Lambert House, a safe place for queer youth ages 22 and under. The girls learned that Lambert House packs its calendar with fun activities, support groups, planning meetings, dances, and other events to make life better for GLBTQ youth. Everyday, approximately 25 youth visit Lambert House. The drop-in center has a full kitchen, living room with a pool table, a stereo for tunes, a library with queer books, TV, games, and people to talk with about anything. Other groups went to Compass Housing, providing housing and services for homeless and low-income men, women and families in King County; Treehouse, an organization committed to leveling the playing field for youth in foster care, so that each is included, may prosper in, and contribute to society. The girls also brought our community’s collection of donated items to Tent City 3 and Hope Place, where they served dinner to homeless women and their children.

Chatting with Susan from Real Change well after her talk was complete.

Chatting with Susan from Real Change well after her talk was complete.

Thank yous to Lambert House.

Thank yous to Lambert House.

The Treehouse Group.

The Treehouse Group.

At Tent City 3

At Tent City 3

Finally, the girls made their way to the Columbia City Church of Hope, a place where people can integrate their various experiences of life through ritual, community, and story, where they spent the night in the basement/shelter area. Joe Sherman P’17 spoke to the girls about the church and their mission, and also and Mary's Place’s, empowering homeless women, children and families to reclaim their lives by providing rotation shelter (Monday night at the Columbia City Church of Hope), nourishment, resources, healing and hope in a safe community.

Today is another day! Stay tuned…

@RealChangeNews #RealChange _farestart #FareStart #EpiphanyParishSeattle @kcmetrobus @lamberthouse #LambertHouse @Lambert_House @CompassHousing @TreehouseTweets #HopePlace #TentCity3 #ColumbiaCityChurchofHope @MarysPlaceWA 

The Graduates of 2015!

Congratulations to the Class of 2015!

Ms. Nisha addresses the graduates, families, and friends.

Ms. Nisha addresses the graduates, families, and friends.

"I would like to suggest that all of your moments at L-Dub and all of your future moments can be connected to math and the properties of three special numbers: prime numbers, composite numbers, and perfect squares.

First, our prime number moments. A prime number is a number that is only divisible by itself and one. Between the numbers of one and ten, one is prime. So are two, three, five, and seven. There are many prime number moments in our lives. This is when we tackle life solo, on our own. We can compare these moments to the exhilaration we feel when we are diving, the motivation we feel studying the night before an exam, the moments when your only companion is yourself. We sometimes feel the strength of our independence in these moments and other times we feel very alone. But being alone and feeling alone don’t always have to go hand-in-hand. In these moments of fierce independence, be gentle with yourself. Celebrate what feels good, and try to understand what doesn’t. You are in control, and you can use your strength and your wisdom to continue growing as a solid prime number.   

The second type of number I want to talk about is a composite number. Composite numbers have multiple factors, many parts. Between the numbers one and ten, we have five composite numbers: four, six, eight, nine, and ten. We similarly have many composite number moments. These occur anytime we share with others – during group projects, around a table at lunch, when you courageously reach out for help, or when others courageously reach out to you. In order to really succeed as composite numbers, we need to understand each of our factors. In math, numbers bring computational power and flexibility. In life, our composite relationships are similar. In these moments, seek to understand one another, celebrate each person's strengths. We are all doing the best we can with the tools that we have been given, we are growing and learning from each other.

And finally, we have perfect square moments. Some of our composite numbers are perfect squares. Four is a perfect square, nine also. Even our prime number one can be called a perfect square. Perfect squares are beautiful. They have simple symmetry, they are accessible, easily inverted, and deeply appreciated. They can be compared to an exquisite performance at poetry night. The room is silent, the lights hit you at just the right angle, your pace is perfect, and your poem is moving – there is not a dry eye in the house. My advice to you in those moments of stardom: step into the spotlight, even when feels hard – especially when it feels hard – and embrace the natural perfection of those rare moments.

Now, as we wrap up these final moments of middle school, please take your numbers with you. As you move on to ninth grade I want you to remember all of the moments you’ve had here at L-Dub – the reflections you’ve made, the compliments given, and the compliments received. While the perfect square moments are the ones secured on your cameras, I would like to ask you today to focus on the prime and the composite numbers as well. If you choose in life to be honest and generous with yourself and others, you will breathe more and worry less. You will make room to experience the small moments of joy available to you everyday. Your happiness will grow – it will grow exponentially!"

–Ms. Nisha

Right now, there lives a girl who is a risk taker, an advocate, an athlete. A girl who has learned to be confident, to persevere, to mindful-minute herself through any stressful situation she happens to end up in. This girl – the one you see standing in front of you giving this speech – has learned to cope with her fears and her flaws. And this girl . . . this girl is me “after”. After I met some of the most influential people I will ever meet. After these girls, without ever realizing it, fixed me. They befriended me, they encouraged me, they helped me. This girl is the me now.
— Eva B

Annie Wright Upper School

Shorecrest High School

Ballard High School

Franklin High School

Garfield High School

Nathan Hale High School 

Summit Sierra School

Ingraham High School

Raisbeck Aviation High School 

Garfield High School

Brook Rose
The Northwest School

The Nova Project

Ballard High School

Garfield High School

Garfield High School

Ballard High School

Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences

Garfield High School

The Bush School

The Northwest School

The Nova Project

Seattle Preparatory School

Bishop Blanchet High School

The Northwest School

Ingraham High School

Garfield High School

Seattle Academy of Arts and Sciences

The Northwest School

The Bush School

Garfield High School

Garfield High School

Garfield High School

Bainbridge High School

Bishop Blanchet High School 

Seattle Preparatory School

Oh The Places We'll Go


Today is our day.

We’re off to Great Places!

We're off and away!

We have brains in your head.

Thanks to all the great teachers

Who’ve definitely shown us

How to be leaders

We’re not on our own. We have our magnificent friends

That we know will stay with us

To the very end.

Maybe we’ve done some things that weren't exactly fun

But in the end when it’s all said and done

We’ve learned so much

We’ve learned a lot

We’d be glum if we forgot.

Whether it was singing on stage

Or doing Karate

We are now more strong in mind, voice, and body.

From the tall red lockers

To the noisy halls

The big glass doors

And the broken bathroom stalls,

We thank L-Dub for all of our knowledge

that we’ll take with us to highschool

and even to college!

Oh the places we’ll go!

Garfield, Prep, or Blanchet

I’m sure we agree that we’ll never forget

The friendships we’ve gained

The things we’ve been through

That made those friendships

Truer than true.

So to my classmates

One last thing:

We're off the Great Places!

Today is our day!

Our mountain is waiting.

Let’s get on your way!


Little did I know everything that L-Dub has taught me was slowly boosting my confidence. From the presentations that we had to do in every class, and speaking on the spot during mock trial, to being forced to be in a play each year (which wasn’t that bad). I personally think that I have come a long way. I started as a little kid who didn’t want to do anything other than sit in a corner and have become a girl who can solo six words in the final song of the eighth grade play. Six words! Well now that I don’t have much else to say what I would like to say is thank you to everyone for helping me through this long journey called middle school. And thank you for helping me realize that I too can be strong in mind body and voice.
— Catherine

See all the photos from graduation on Smugmug!

Field Day Frenzy

This year's Field Day was by far the loudest yet – our first at full capacity (we've doubled the size of the school over the past three years, if you didn't already know) – and the walls, floors, and windows were shaking! Cheers reached a new level this year. They were inspired: creative, inclusive, and fun! R&R groups took their cheer and costumes (all hand made from, repurposed, and/or recycled materials) very seriously! 

Judging Criteria

  1. Participation: Every member must be fully involved in the performance
  2. Enthusiasm: R&R logos, costumes, colors, mascots
  3. Preparation: All singing/speaking parts are memorized; members know their parts
  4. Sportsmanship: Cheer has a positive, friendly, and inclusive message

Congratulations to the Royal Red Raccoons for their cheer win, and to all of the groups for their amazing spirit, enthusiasm, and energy!

Check out more photos on Smugmug.

8th Grade One Act Festival

Q: What could be a better theme for the culmination of eighth grade drama at LWGMS than a play about being in a play?

A: Three plays.

The shows performed by the Class of 2015 highlight the girls’ talent for being funny. We knew that this class of comediennes would revel in the world of comedy and satire, and the three plays in this one act festival are showcases for their ability to serve up humor with perfect timing and slapstick physicality. With smaller casts than ever, we got to celebrate the culminating drama production for this class with intimacy and attention to detail. Rehearsals were a delight as we worked out complex blocking, key monologues, and ensemble scenes; we even got to reminisce about those wildly entertaining moments as Oompa-Loompas and the songs and dances from Peter Pan and Mulan. It has been a wonderful few weeks of theatre as the halls of L-Dub were filled with the girls’ and their directors’ laughter.

Eighth graders, thank you for making this production funnier than we thought it could be and for being good sports about whatever we asked you to do, whether it was sing, sing badly, dance, dance badly, speak with an accent, speak with an unintelligible accent, fight, fall, cut lines, add lines, or hit your friends over the head.

You are 35 reasons to direct a play.

The cast was full of talent and full of ideas, and the crew on this show was as well! The dedicated seventh grade team of artists collaborated to design a beautiful show, from props to sets to costumes to lighting to sound.

Thank you to you all,
Ms. Hearn, Ms. Jenny, and Ms. Chelsea

Head on over to Smugmug to see all of the photos!

Arts Festival Fabulousness

Last week's all student Arts Festival was one to remember! With our school growth complete this year, and our classrooms at full capacity, this year the art was even more plentiful, diverse, colorful, creative, and amazing than ever. From block printing, puppetry, 3D printing, triptychs, wearable circuitry, to song and dance, the arts are alive at LWGMS. Thank you to all of our students for their hard and dedicated work this year, to our Art Department for their leadership and inspiration, and to our families for supporting our girls' creative endeavors.

Check out all of the photos on Smugmug!

Startup Weekend GIRLS Rocked!

On May 17, 2015 the first annual Startup Weekend GIRLS – for girls in grades 5-10 in the Seattle area – wrapped up its event with its judges announcing how impressed they were by the innovation and quality of the new business formed in one weekend! The weekend was a huge success! More than 100 people gathered over the weekend for pitches, presentations, and speaker Rebecca Lovell!

Startup Weekend GIRLS Teams and Winners:

  • FIRST PLACE WareFair (@WareFair): An app with the missions of increasing awareness and bettering the working conditions for workers globally.
  • SECOND PLACE Chore Hub: An app/website connecting people through the love (and hatred) of chores.
  • THIRD PLACE Monster Cupcakes (@monstercupcak10, @monster_cakes_): Scary good and eerily customizable cupcake designing and ordering app/website.
  • MOST AMBITIOUS OpenDoor: Website helping people by connecting them with resources, opportunities, and personal support network to help them get on their feet.
  • MOST PASSIONATE Pit Souls (@5pitbulllovers): A website with a mission to change the often negative stereotypes of the Pitbull breed.

Participants made new friends, created fantastic companies – many with a social justice mission – and learned a lot about building a startup from the ground up. In the end we hosted 29 #GIRLprenuers, five Team Leaders (diverting a bit from the Up Global format to best fit our participants needs), 12 coaches, three judges, one speaker, and 96 spectators. Five teams formed from 15 individual pitches given Saturday morning (another slight deviation from the typical Startup Weekend format), and the girls spent the rest of their time working on “team, team, team, market, and product” – as suggested by speaker Rebecca Lovell, Startup Liaison to the City of Seattle – and turning great ideas into viable businesses.

Please do this again. The girls have such wonderful and big hearted ideas that deserve to be realized, even if only for a weekend.
— Coach Wesley Ducey

All of this year’s coaches were either serial entrepreneurs, successful founders of businesses, or standouts in their industry. Every team had an opportunity to gain insights and guidance from coaches who’ve had to engage customers, gain market share, and scale their businesses online and off. They came from a variety of industries. We were so impressed by this intrepid group: Our Team Leaders were Founder of rivaliq.com, T.A. McCann (@tamccann); CEO and Founder of PhotoPad for Business Diane Najm (@virtualgestures); CEO and Founder of Shiftboard, Bryan Lhuillier (@shiftboard); and Alexis Mohr, Director of Demand Generation at Azuqua; and Thibaut LaBarre (@asimov4), Lead Software Development Engineer at Amazon. Alexandra Koch, Allie Sterling, Derek Maffett, Joni Barrott, Adam Pearson, Liz Hunt, Wes Ducey, Alex Vollmer, Buzz Bruggeman, Erika Shaffer, Sebastien Motte, and Melissa Scott also joined at various times during the weekend to help with market validation, presentations, and pitching.

As for the judges, they were amazing, and offered each team invaluable feedback. Zach Smith (@zax_myth), VP of Technology at Substantial, Rebecca Lovell (@lovelletters), Startup Advocate for the City of Seattle, and Marion Boituex (@marionbtx), Student Developer Marketing lead @Microsoft were involved because they’re all dedicated to inspiring and helping students – especially girls – build epic stuff with technology.

Want a play-by-play of the weekend? Check out the official @StartupWGirls twitter account, @StartupWGirls. The entire weekend was live tweeted, and many participants hopped on the #SWGirls, #pitchlikeagirl, and #GIRLpreneur hashtags to share photos and memories. More photos and stories can be found at lwgms.org. Stay tuned for videos!


I made a concerted effort not to underestimate the skills and passion of the girls at this event and I still fell short of the mark. The focused effort and attention that each girl gave all weekend on my team was nothing sort of astounding. I know a lot of adult professionals that couldn’t have kept up that level of engagement that I saw over the weekend. Working in the tech industry I see on a daily basis how badly it needs a shakeup. This weekend gave me a renewed sense of hope that we can make a change with opportunities like Startup Weekend for girls at this crucial age.
— Coach Alex Vollmer


Monster Cupcakes

Pit Souls


What did I learn? How to pitch! The tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, tell them what you just told them format.
— #GIRLpreneur Anika

And thank you to our generous sponsors who made this weekend possible!

Teacher Appreciation for Hands-on STEAM Learning

Lake Washington Girls Middle School teacher Christine Zarker Primomo was surprised in front of all of her students and colleagues moments ago. During the school’s Teacher Appreciation assembly today, CenturyLink representative Jane Nishita presented Primomo with an oversized check, balloons, and the honor of recognition for her innovations in technology and teaching. Primomo is the recipient of The CenturyLink Clarke M. Williams Foundation's Teachers and Technology grant in the amount of $4,984!

Primomo’s project Increasing Opportunities for Hands-On STEAM Investigations was selected for its goals of innovatively implementing technology to increase student achievement, and with the grant she will be able to realize her plans: to purchase four complete sets of Vernier computer interfaces and probeware and associated software, and to attend the Vernier Summer Institute so that she will be better prepared to integrate the technology in the school’s STEAM and Science curricula.

Primomo explained in her application, “With the addition of Vernier probeware and software to our STEAM Studio and Science classroom, our students will be better equipped to test and retest their designs and solutions, as well as gain experience collecting data during scientific investigations related to ecology, human biology, physics, chemistry, and more. This technology will allow students the opportunity to collect, analyze, and communicate data on investigations such as the pollution levels in a local stream before and after a school-wide habitat restoration project. This invaluable learning opportunity seamlessly integrates science and technology in our students’ lives, supporting students to discover how to use science and technology to make an impact on their communities. We believe that the hands-on learning opportunities available in the STEAM Studio and Science classroom that are relevant to our students’ daily lives have engaged our students not just engineers, scientists, and mathematicians, but most importantly as active community members.”

At Lake Washington Girls Middle School, the science curriculum is intended to foster a sense of excitement and curiosity about the field of science and the ways in which it permeates every aspect of our daily lives. LWGMS students conduct experiments, explore connections between different scientific phenomena, carry out research, build models, and present their findings. In addition, students take year-long STEAM classes that integrate the arts with science, technology, engineering, and math. The three year scope and sequence begins with shop safety and use of tools and culminates in an individual project that demonstrates students’ ability to solve problems using STEAM skills. The STEAM curriculum is designed to get girls excited about engineering, technology, science, and math while expanding their creative confidence. The work in STEAM classes is regularly integrated with learning in other classes, so that the skills and knowledge are easily applicable and relevant across disciplines.

Please help us congratulate Christine Zarker Primomo for her dedication to girls’ science education, for her innovation in the classroom, and for her infectious enthusiasm for cultivating confidence in her students. Christine is committed – as are all of Lake Washington Girls Middle School’s faculty and staff – to creating a space where girls can grow into young women, strong in mind, body, and voice.

Pi Day 2015

L-Dub celebrated our favorite irrational number on Monday. We had two Math professors visit us from the University of Washington to talk with the girls about women in Math and the research that they are engaged in.  

Dr. Tatiana Toro spoke to us about her personal journey into the world of Mathematics, which began with participation in a Math olympiad during her high school years. Dr. Toro encouraged L-Dub girls to follow their hearts when choosing a career, "If you do what you love, the rest will fall into place." 

Dr. Billey

Dr. Billey

Dr. Sara Billey introduced some new ideas in Math that have been inspired by Origami. She demonstrated how paper folding can solve a Mathematical proof and challenged us to search for mathematical knowledge everywhere.

For the rest of the morning, the girls rotated between four activities. They made songs and poems about pi, made a life size pi chain that will live in the Math room, they built life-size domes out of tape and newspaper, and they played capture the pi with hula hoops! After our activities wrapped up, our girls ate their lunch – followed by your sweet and savory pies! Thank you to everyone for sending in such a delicious selection for us all to enjoy.  


Reese '17 rocks out 325 digits of Pi!

Our pi day celebrations ended with an all-school presentation of pi songs, pi digit recitation, and some pi-ing of the Math department (and Ms. Hearn!). Congratulations to all of the girls on their hard work memorizing the many digits of pi. Many of our girls memorized over 100 digits this year, and our 2015 pi-day winner is Reese '17 with 325 digits memorized.

– Ms. Nisha

To see all of the Pi Day pictures and videos head on over to SmugMug!

We Are Believers!

Shrek is a well-loved franchise among many in the L-Dub community. And why wouldn't it be?  This story shows us that beauty is in the eye of the beholder, that what's on the inside is what counts, that being different is okay, and that with the help of your friends, you can do just about anything. For middle schoolers, these themes are front and center to their everyday lives in and out of school, and I've felt honored to get to explore the idea of inner beauty with the girls these past few months. I'm so proud of the bravery, energy, and honesty each actor brought to this production, and I'm so excited for you to see it. The cast’s inner beauty shines in every scene!

Quite a few thanks are in order: to Colleen West for her endless patience and organization, even when I threw curveballs her way; to Karri Meleo for the gracious use of the karate uniforms and the complete instructions on how to properly care for them; to the eighth grade crew for learning on their feet and doing so with a smile; to Lindsey Mutschler for her amazing musical prowess and her commitment to each and every singer onstage; to Steve Pullman for his behind the scenes sound engineering; to Eva McGough and Patti Hearn for teaching the girls the electric slide, the twist, and the swim at the eleventh hour and with an impressive amount of attitude and pizzazz; to Molly Klema for wrangling the majority of the cast every morning and seeing them safely and happily delivered to the theater; to Jan Frederick for once again making the characters come alive with stunning costumes; and to Jenny Zavatsky for being a constant sounding board, thought partner, and excellent mentor. Lastly, thank you to the entire L-Dub community for carpooling, for bagels, for technical assistance, for front of house duties, and for supporting our young actors. 


To see all of the Shrek photos, head on over to Smugmug!

Kids In Medicine Wows 8th Grade

On Monday, the Class of 2015 headed over to Kids In Medicine (KIM) – our partners in O.W.L. – to take part in their new “B3” program (Biotech, Birth & Babies). KIM helps us provide a connection between our girls’ current O.W.L. academic studies and their futures in potential STEAM careers.  

Our students performed medical simulations in obstetrics (delivering a baby) and neonatal care (infant resuscitation). Afterward, they performed the method of DNA fingerprinting in the laboratory to learn how gel electrophoresis can reveal DNA banding patterns to identify heritage (paternity testing for the “baby” that they delivered). 

More from Lael McAuliffe, Director, Education & Curriculum Development...

"The day was based on a fictitious scenario of a modern family to provide a cohesive storyline to tie the fields of science together for the students. In short, our scenario involved a two-mom family who underwent IVF to achieve their dream of parenthood. One mother was the egg donor, while the other mother was the gestational carrier – giving both parents a biological connection to their child. The couple chose an anonymous sperm donor from a bank. However, prior to delivery, the co-parents were informed that the IVF lab may have made an error, and paternity testing should be performed once the baby is delivered. With this information, the students began their four rotations of: 1) delivering a baby, 2) neonatal care and working with moulage, 3) learning to use a micropipette for biotech lab work, and 4) discussing the method of DNA fingerprinting. Following this, the students successfully performed gel electrophoresis to determine the parentage for the “baby”. While running the DNA gels, students also discussed the potential bioethical implications of our scenario.

We are very grateful to the Gossman Center, who provided the Noelle-Simulator, infant simulator, baby warmer and additional equipment. Merllie Flores, a nurse simulation facilitator, and Ben Wilson, an IT technician, were enthusiastic expert educators. They also brought moulage – a media applied to simulate trauma or medical illness. What a great example of art and science coming together for the students to see.    

Our goals for your LWGMS students were: 1) to provide authentic clinical and laboratory experiences, 2) expose your girls to careers in medicine/science that they’d never heard of before, and 3) have the students leave more curious, wanting to pursue any new questions/interests that were raised. In other words – hands-on engagement, STEAM career awareness, and developed curiosity."

Here are some photos from the program...

Following the program, the girls completed a post-field trip evaluation. Here are a few of the things that they had to say:

I loved the clear explanations and hands on experiences.
— Hava
I really liked listening to the babies heart and learning the baby CPR. I would like to either become a teacher, or work with newborns in a hospital or work in a biotech job
— Jordan
I plan to apply to colleges with a strong pre-med programs...
— Alexis


Thank you, KIM!

Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 2015

In recognition Martin Luther King Jr. Day, 2015, LWGMS is kicking off an inaugural Alumnae Day of Service. From here on out, each year on this day, L-Dub alumnae will come together to give back to the Seattle community and enjoy some together-again time! 

On Monday, January 19 (MLK Day), 15 members of the alumnae community will be helping our friends at Centerstone (where our sixth grade students spend their service learning time) revamp their food bank. 

We'll be hosting at least two alumnae service events each year from here on out, so we hope that alumnae keep us in mind after you graduate: you can receive high school and/or college service hours for their efforts.

For all others, here is a short list of MLK events going on in and around Seattle. We hope you will use your day off from school to reflect on the importance of the day, to march, or to get your hands dirty helping others.

Seattle Colleges Community Celebration
Time, location: Noon-1:30p. Friday, Jan. 16
Mount Zion Baptist Church, 1634 19th Ave., Seattle
More information

Seattle Parks and Recreation Youth March
Time,location: 11a. Saturday, Jan. 17
Martin Luther King Memorial Park, 2200 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Seattle
More information

Garfield High MLK Day Celebration
Time, location: Workshops, 9a.; rally 10a., march noon Monday, Jan. 19
Garfield High School, 400 23rd Ave., Seattle.
More information

NAAM Open House
Time, location: 11a-5p. Monday, Jan. 19
Northwest African American Museum, 2300 S. Massachusetts St., Seattle.
More information

Health Fair and Celebration of a Dream
Time, location: 11a-3p. Monday, Jan. 19
Crossroads Bellevue, 15600 N.E. Eighth St., Bellevue
More information

Festival of Lights

Festival of Lights was a wonderful celebration of community, voice, and the holiday spirit. Thank you all so much for making the event memorable...for all of us, but especially for the girls.

To see all of the pictures, head on over to Smugmug. (Videos will be posted soon!)


Into the Woods

For those of you who have seen a production of Into the Woods, you may notice a few differences. In addition to our classic L-Dub spin, the kids’ version of Into the Woods expresses an attitude of hope that is less apparent in Stephen Sondheim’s original script. Our show, at its heart, is about setting out in the world to follow your dreams without fear. As the fairy tale characters enter the woods to achieve their individual goals, they realize that they need each other in order to accomplish what they desire. This theme is an important one as our girls approach a time in their lives where they think about forging their own paths. I hope they realize, as the characters in Into the Woods do, that with teamwork, perseverance, and just a little magic, anything is possible.

There are so many people to thank. The eighth grade crew was fantastic, and I felt more and more comfortable leaving the show in their capable hands. Every member of the eighth grade in this show brought her own brand of talent, energy, and humor to this production, and I am grateful for all of their hard work. Theresa Falk tirelessly led this cast in vocal warm-ups and theatre games, and she coached many a young actor through a difficult scene. I could not have done this without her unfailing energy and easy smile. Colleen West’s concise organization ensured every child was where she should be at the appointed time and every parent volunteer had an assignment. Jan Frederick once again used her incredible vision and creativity to create beautiful costumes (sometimes more than one!) for each girl, and her commitment and warm sense of humor are appreciated by cast, crew, and director alike. The score for Into the Woods is complex and challenging, but Lindsey Mutschler’s patient vocal coaching and professional, unparalleled accompaniment made it seem easy as pie. Jenny Zavatsky, despite leaving this director with legendary shoes to fill, never failed to respond to late night emails and patiently responded to my constant interruptions and inquiries. Her mentorship, leadership, and behind the scenes organization was integral to the success of this production, and I am completely indebted to her. Lastly, I want to thank all of you for your time moving sets, carpooling girls, donating bagels, and most of all, sharing your girls with us. Thank you for all that you do.

–Chelsea McCollum

To see all of the Into the Woods photos, head on over to Smugmug!

FuerzaBots Gearing Up

For its second year, LWGMS has been offering a robotics and programming club – FuerzaBots! Guided by Director of Technology, Ms. Cristina and Math and Science teacher, Ms. Christine, the FuerzaBots team has been busy preparing for the FIRST® (For the Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) LEGO® League (FLL®) Robotics Challenge. Each year, FIRST® releases a new challenge that engages teams in hands-on robotics design and scientific research. The theme for the challenge is different each year, allowing teams to learn about a variety of subjects. This year, teams will apply research and robotics to explore the future of learning with the 2014 FLL® "Learning Unleashed" challenge. To successfully complete the challenge, teams of young people must build and program a LEGO MINDSTORMS® robot to complete missions on a thematic playing surface and conduct research to discover and redesign how we gather knowledge and skills in the 21st century. This is Lake Washington Girls Middle School's second year participating in the event.

The FuerzaBots, comprised of sixth grade students Sophie, Emiko, Harriet, and Charlotte, seventh grade students Maya, Mena, Eleanor R., and Julia, and eighth grade students Hava and Mackenzie, have been tackling this year's Challenge as a unit. Each Challenge has three parts: the Robot Game, the Project, and the FLL® Core Values. Teams of up to ten kids (on the competition floor), with one adult coach, participate in the Challenge by programming an autonomous robot to score points on a themed playing field (Robot Game) and developing a solution to a problem they have identified (Project), all guided by FLL®’s Core Values – that friendly competition and mutual gain are not separate goals, and that helping one another is the foundation of teamwork. 

The theme for this year’s competition is Learning Unleashed. For the "project" part of the challenge, teams were tasked to develop an innovative solution to teach middle school students how to set privacy settings on social media and protect themselves against third party websites. The FuerzaBots – using the process of Design Thinking – researched privacy settings by reading articles, interviewed internet privacy experts, and even created a fake Facebook account to better understand privacy settings and how to best protect ourselves online. The FuerzaBots decided the best way to teach others would be to make a public service announcement that middle school students could share with one another at school or on TV. The FuerzaBots are preparing a presentation of their solution to share with the judges at this weekend's tournament.

The FuerzaBots have also been working diligently on the Robot Challenge for which, over three months, they designed, built, and programed four robots, one of which will tackle as many obstacles representing education and technology as possible in 2.5 minutes. The FuerzaBots dove into programing the "brick" – the brains – of the robot, and they quickly learned how the sensors work, and in what situations they would be used. They also mastered how the motors work to make the robot go forward, backward, and to turn, as well as how to make the robots pick items up and move levers. As of today the FuerzaBot's robots can complete six of the ten course obstacles.

The  FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®) Robotics Regional Tournament is today, Saturday, December 6, at Ballard High School in Seattle. During the tournament, teams have three rounds on the competition tables to get the best score possible. When not competing with their robots, teams give their research presentations, and are interviewed about the technical design of their robots and how they work as teams. Regional qualifiers may advance to the championship event in January. The winners of the Champion's Award, the most prestigious award, may be eligible to participate in a variety of post-season tournament opportunities both domestic and abroad. This, their first year, our FuerzaBots, whose motto is "Code Like a Girl," (#codelikeagirl) are excited to be participating in the tournament and will be focusing on getting as far as they can and learning from the mistakes they make along the way.

Keep up with the FuerzaBots today on Instagram!




More about FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®)

 FIRST® LEGO® League (FLL®)  is a robotic competition developed for middle school students. The FLL® theme is different each year and is drawn from real events in society. 

There are three primary activities: 

  1. Build and program a small robot to accomplish challenges, 
  2. Investigate a research topic then prepare a presentation and 
  3. Build a team around the FLL® Core Values. All of these activities culminate in a competition with other teams at a regional tournament

The Lego Robot
Robot challenges are the most visible aspect of the competition. Robots are built and programmed to perform different tasks on a 4'x8' printed vinyl playing mat. The robot interacts with specialized LEGO parts that represent the tasks. Each year the playing mat and LEGO parts change to support the annual theme. The basic robot parts and competition table are reusable every year. The mat and challenge parts are NOT reused but are great for off-season games and practice.

Research Project
An equally important aspect of the competition is the research topic. Like the robotic challenges, the research topic has some connection with the overall FLL® theme. Students are given basic guidance then encouraged to create a solution for the research challenge. They research the topic, propose a solution, then develop a presentation that summarizes and defends their conclusions.

Regional Tournament
Everything comes together at a Regional Tournament. The team meets with judges three times: for a technical review of their robot, to present their research, and to demonstrate how the team learned Core Values. All teams are assessed on Core Values behavior throughout the competition. Each team also attempts the robots challenge tasks at least three times on the competition tables.

The Regional Tournament provides an exciting opportunity for teams to learn from each other and share their excitement rather than a "winner takes all" competition. Teams advance to the Semifinal events and then to a Washington State Championship based on overall performance at the competition.

Washington State hosts regional competitions that feed into several Semifinal events and then a State Championship event.

Missions Include:
■ Push a lever to open a door to learning
■ Complete a sports-based task
■ Move an idea outside the box
■ Rotate models to adapt
■ Load a model with knowledge and skill loops
■ Reverse engineer a unique structure

FLL® teams will:
■ Choose a topic they are passionate about and have always wanted to learn.
■ Create an innovative solution that improves the learning experience.
■ Share their solutions with others.
■ Build, test, and program an autonomous robot using a LEGO MINDSTORMS® set to solve missions on an obstacle course.



Mesopotamia Real Estate Ads

During the seventh grade study of ancient civilizations, students learned about how the people of ancient Mesopotamia faced challenges. Mesopotamians had to come up with solutions to solve geographic challenges they faced, and they transformed Neolithic farming villages into complex Sumerian city-states. After learning about these ancient Sumerian city-states, the girls created "real estate" ads to convince people to move to their chosen city-state. They researched solutions that Sumerians came up with to solve problems they faced, such as developing irrigation systems and canals to control water flow, constructing walls to keep out opposing communities, and domesticating animals in order to provide a stable food supply. The girls worked enthusiastically to create stunning hand-lettered and illustrated real estate ads, re-imagining ancient Sumer in a new light! 

A Day of Service

Today, Ms. Klema and a group of about 20 LWGMS students, faculty, and families are spending time with our friends and neighbors at the Immaculate Conception Church (adjacent to the school) preparing Thanksgiving meals for about 500 "senior citizens and shut-ins in our neighborhood". Immaculate Conception Church parishioners donated the food and money to support the effort, and today the volunteers are peeling, chopping, smushing, mixing, packing, and stuffing all of the delicious food. Tomorrow, on Thanksgiving morning, some of our students and families are coming back to help with delivery. Today is not a school day. It is a day of service. Thank you to our participants for their help, and caring for our community.

Peaceful Protests

Sixth grade Humanities principally focuses on how individuals and groups affect the greater community and the world. Topics covered include families, communities, Latin America, the Holocaust, The Civil Rights Movement, and American cultural diversity.

The girls recently studied the United Farmworkers Movement, peaceful protest, and tolerance and created some signs about their own passions and concerns. They're kind of amazing. What would your personal protest sign look like?

A True L-Dub Fiesta!

Last night we celebrated all-things-Latin and the Dia de los Muertos with the entire community and we had a blast. R&R groups collectively made an exquisite altar honoring nine of our beloved Locker Ladies gone by; the Class of 2017 prepared and presented Amigas projects – projects all about specific South and Central American and Caribbean countries – to our guests who traveled from room to room with a pasaporte; members of the Class of 2015 put on live-theatre Telenovelas, written, directed, and acted by the girls themselves; the Ms. Heather's dance class shared one of their numbers with the crowd; each class sang songs we all clapped and danced to; and the 7th and 8th graders recited the Chicafesto, a new Festival tradition. Thank you to Señorita Jacquie and Señora Charito for planning a wonderful celebration, and to our many volunteers, cooks, and bakers for making the evening so smooth and sweet.

Head on over to Smugmug to see all of the photos from the party.