Some Play!

L-Dub students brought the world of E. B. White and the classic story of a pig and a spider who become best friends to life on the stage. Through the love and friendship of a brilliant spider named Charlotte (and a few other farm animals), our hero, Wilbur, learned that he is quite some pig, who is terrific, radiant, and humble. As this bittersweet tale of friendship came to life on the L-Dub stage, the energy and enthusiasm from all the actors and crew members made the rehearsals a time of singing, dancing, and laughing. This was some cast and a terrific crew. The radiant Ms. B made costumes, props, and sets out of thin air, and the terrific Ms. Eva ran a tight ship and kept this director on task and on time. Ms. Mutschler and Señora Jacquie are some teachers – they took 18 sixth graders and turned them into dancing goslings and spiders. The ever-radiant Ms. Andi gave guidance and support to our singers and guitar players. Thanks to all the parents, L-Dub staff, and others who helped make this play terrific.

2017 Social Justice Film Festival Inspires

L-Dub’s 4th Annual Social Justice Film Festival was last night at the Broadway Performance Hall, and we are so grateful to all of our students and families who joined us in support the Class of 2017. Thank you also to the Alhadeff family for making the event possible and supplying wonderful Majestic Bay popcorn!

As part of the Social Studies class and the Walls to Bridges program, each eighth grader worked with her classmates to agree on a topic, generate a thesis, create a storyboard, integrate interviews, videos, and still photos, and edit a five-minute film that will inspire our audience to act, to think, and to discuss issues important to our students.

At the end of the screening, guests jumped on smartphones and voted for their favorite films. The results were tallied and real time and Ms. Hearn announced the winners...

The Dark Side of Disney
By Amy and Anabelle

 1617 SJFF Best Thesis: The Dark Side of Disney

Living in a Hateful World
By Madison, Georgia, and Hazel

 1617 SJFF Best Call to Action: Living in a Hateful World

More Than a Diagnosis
By Celia C. and Olive

 1617 SJFF Most Original Idea: More Than a Diagnosis

I Am More Than a Body
By Megan, Charlotte, and Nadia

 1617 SJFF Best Overall Film: I Am More Than a Body

Congratulations to ALL of our filmmakers. We learned so much from – and about! – you!

You can watch all of the films here...

The Phantom Tollbooth

 Lake Washington Girls Middle School presents The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth tells the story of Milo, a bored child with nothing better to do than put coins in a magical tollbooth and take off on an educational adventure to rescue Rhyme and Reason. With the help of a crazy cast of characters, Milo discovers the wonders of words and numbers as well as ways to get out of the Doldrums, to see things from others’ perspectives, and to find the hero inside of himself. It’s a bit like students at L-Dub who put their faith in the magical adventures of middle school with all its lessons about words, numbers, empathy, creativity, and becoming a hero. Just like Milo, L-Dub students are accompanied on their journey by all sorts of crazy characters, and our play has had the benefit of some truly creative and talented people. The sixth graders brought energy and enthusiasm to every song and dance whether they had to wear pajamas or an umbrella hat. The seventh grade brought the characters to life and helped add some dynamic diva moments with revamped songs based on classics from Whitney Houston, Cyndi Lauper, Mariah Carey, and the Weather Girls. Finally, the entire eighth grade did it all: painted, sewed, glued, built, printed, and choreographed. As the crew members worked on all things technical, from lighting the show, setting sound and music cues, and creating projections, the rest of us got to sit back and enjoy the magic of Milo’s journey through the Kingdom of Knowledge.

While the students put their all into getting ready for this show, they did need some help from many teachers, parents, and volunteers. We could not have done this show without our musical director, the talented Ms. Andi, or our Artistic Director, the patient Ms. B. Theater week comes together because Ms. Colleen and Ms. Meredith coordinate the many moving parts, while Ms. Eva and Ms. Hearn make sure the actors are where they should be and are saying what they’re supposed to say (with volume and enunciation). Thanks to all the faculty and staff who ran to Blick for more paint and glue, drove buses and cars to and from the theater, and came to see the show (often more than once!) And lastly, thanks to parents, families, and friends who fill the theater with laughter and love.

Here’s to the hero in all of us!

Check out all of the photos on Smugmug!

'A Raisin In The Sun,' strong impact lingers

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Our school had a wonderful opportunity to work with Seattle Repertory Theater to attend the production of A Raisin in the Sun and work with SRT staff in pre and post-play workshops. The pre-show workshop allowed students to kinesthetically explore the themes of the show and the post-show workshop allowed students to respond to the show in more depth and make connections between the show and the world they live in. Inspired by Lorraine Hansberry, students worked together to create and share stories that include the perspectives and backgrounds they want to see represented in our media.

Prior to watching the play, students read and discussed the Langston Hughes poem Harlem. Students identified the feelings of a dream deferred and potential feelings of frustration. After watching the play, students debriefed in Humanities classes about the main ideas, issues, and individual character's dreams deferred. Students talked about race, class, segregation, and made connections to current events and personal stories of identity. 

The story of the Youngers – a poor black family living in Fifties Chicago, facing opposition for merely having the gall to move into a white neighborhood – represents a major fault line in American society which is still bruisingly relevant today. “What they think we going to do – eat ’em?” asks one. “No, honey, marry ‘em”, is the reply. 

In addition to being an amazing piece of work, the girls were inspired to learn that Lorraine Hansberry holds the historic distinction of being the first black woman playwright ever produced on Broadway.

It was a powerful experience that provided wonderful opportunities to discuss history, identity, and the power of dreams.

One Act Festival

In a month that welcomes the season of summer, the end of the school year, and magical new adventures on the horizon, a festival with the theme of Midsummer was fitting. 

Our festival began with a whirlwind course on the works of Shakespeare, with impish helpers creating mischief. We then sharpened our focus to examine one of his plays, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with its tale of unrequited love and misdirected magic – magic caused by that same imp. And finally, we found ourselves back in school, with a show about a cast and their drama teacher rehearsing for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, while that same imp tries to help and causes trouble again.                        

Eighth graders, thank you for making this production better than we thought it could be and for being good sports about whatever we asked you to do, whether it was sing, dance, dance badly, wear that costume you don’t like, change your costume a dozen times, say your lines in a fake voice, say your lines in three different voices, say your lines under a donkey head, play a boy, play a girl, play a boy playing a girl, fall, cut lines, add lines, or hit your friend in the face with a pie. Thanks for being the crew – and the squad – for each other. 

If we shadows have offended, know but this and all is mended: That you have but slumbered here, while these visions did appear, and this weak and idle theme, no more yielding, but a dream.

Thank you to you all,

 

Check out all of the OAF photos on Smugmug.

Startup Weekend GIRLS 2016: Making Change!

Thank you to EVERYONE who made Startup Weekend GIRLS such a huge success.

Thank you to GeekWire and Startup Seattle for covering the event...click to read!

You can view all of the photos on Sumugmug!

 

FuerzaBots Making Trash into Treasure

The FuerzaBots are at it again! LWGMS's Robotics Team – the school's fourth – has been working hard building and programming their robots, creating their trash-themed LEGO® models, and working to complete missions on their specialized TRASH TREK playing fields. They have also been busy finding solutions to real-world problems by delving into trash-use problems right here at L-Dub.

As many of you may know, FIRST LEGO League introduces students to real-world engineering challenges by building LEGO-based robots to complete tasks on a thematic playing surface. Our FuerzaBots, guided by their imaginations and adult coaches Ms. Christine, Ms. Cristina, Rob Sim P'16 and Tim Ross P'18, discover exciting career possibilities and, through the process, learn to make positive contributions to society.

The FuerzaBots get to:

  • Design, build, test and program robots using LEGO MINDSTORMS® technology
  • Apply real-world math and science concepts
  • Research challenges facing today’s scientists
  • Learn critical thinking, team-building and presentation skills
  • Participate in tournaments and celebrations

The FuerzaBots, comprised of sixth grade students Alicia, Ryan, Helen, Elliot, Vivian, Luci, and Edie, seventh grade students Sophie, Emiko, and Audrey, and eighth grade students Maya, Julia, and Isabel, 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 FuerzaBots Robotics Team heads to the North Seattle WA FIRST LEGO League Qualifying Competition this Sunday, December 6.


This year, the 2015 FIRST® LEGO® League TRASH TREKSM Challenge, 290,000 children ages 9 to 16 from over 80 countries will explore the fascinating world of trash. From collection, to sorting, to smart production and reuse, there is certainly more to trash than meets the eye. The FuerzaBots have 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 of natural disaster aftermath 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 eight of the ten course obstacles. The girls are putting the finishing touches on their TRASH TREK project this week.

They've also been asked to work to solve a real-life problem pertaining to trash in the "project" section of the Qualifying Competition. As LWGMS students do, the FuerzaBots sought to solve a problem right here in our school community.

  58,140 plastic bags on top of each other it would be as tall as Seattle’s Great Wheel!

58,140 plastic bags on top of each other it would be as tall as Seattle’s Great Wheel!

From the FuerzaBots:

"Through surveys and observation, we found that 68% of L-Dub students use plastic baggies in their lunches. That’s over half the school! We also found that of the plastic baggie users, 34% use them five or more times a week! 

On average then, our community uses 323 plastic baggies per week. That’s a lot of plastic baggies going into a landfill each week! This would total to 58,140 plastic baggies in a school year. If you were to stack 58,140 plastic bags on top of each other it would be as tall as Seattle’s Great Wheel. That’s terrible!

We all know this is a problem we needs solving, so the FuerzaBots have produced a video tutorial for making a DIY Reusable Snack Bag. Hopefully, everyone will try to make and use these bags. We suggest if you can't, though, that you buy reusable baggies, or switch to wax paper."


The FIRST Lego League (FLL) Robotics Regional Tournament is this Sunday, 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," 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.

Join us to cheer on the FuerzaBots Robotics Team as they head to the North Seattle WA FIRST LEGO League Qualifying Competition!

Where: Ballard High School

Schedule:
8:00a – Team Check-in Opens
8:30a – Coach Meeting
9:00a – Judge Sessions Begin
12:30p – Opening Ceremony
12:45p – Robot Game
4:30p – Awards Ceremony

Go, FuerzaBots!

Graduation 2014

The Class of 2014 – the last LWGMS class of 18 students – graduated on June 17 in the company of approximately 200 friends, family, and mentors. The ceremony was a wonderful end to the girls' time at L-Dub...of course, each student spoke. Ms. Eva delivered the faculty address, and there weren't too many dry eyes in the house. Good luck, ladies! You are indeed strong in mind, body, and voice!

Ms Eva's Speech

What they don’t understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you’re eleven, you’re also ten, and nine, and eight, and seven, and six, and five, and four, and three, and two, and one. And when you wake up on your eleventh birthday you expect to feel eleven, but you don’t. You open your eyes and everything’s just like yesterday, only it’s today. And you don’t feel eleven at all. You feel like you’re still ten. And you are—underneath the year that makes you eleven.

Like some days you might say something stupid, and that’s the part of you that’s still ten. Or maybe some days you might need to sit on your mama’s lap because you’re scared, and that’s the part of you that’s five. And maybe one day when you’re all grown up maybe you will need to cry like if you’re three, and that’s okay. That’s what I tell Mama when she’s sad and needs to cry. Maybe she’s feeling three.

Because the way you grow old is kind of like an onion or like the rings inside a tree trunk or like my little wooden dolls that fit one inside the other, each year inside the next one. That’s how being eleven years old is.

Sandra Cisneros is writing about turning eleven, but I think that’s how graduating from middle school may be too. I think you may not feel quite like a graduate--yet. You may not feel like a high schooler—yet. Part of you will always be the sixth grader who was scared to go on that trip to Yakima. Part of you will always be that seventh grader who cried during the night hike. You are still the girl who forgot her lines in Willy Wonka or the girl who failed that math test because she forgot to study. Each of you is the person you are because you have experienced all that you have—you are the same girl, just with more layers, just with more rings.

And tonight, I want to encourage you to celebrate that. I want you to remember all that you have experienced—the successes and the failures—because your identity today was forged from the metal of those challenges and accomplishments.

Don’t misunderstand me—I don’t want you to live in the past. But I do want you to live with it. There is no question that your futures are bright and all of us are here tonight to affirm that. But remember where you came from, and honor the memory of the girl who has struggled and shined in the years that led you here, to this graduation ceremony.

I was tempted to read from your writer’s notebooks tonight. Tempted to share excerpts from your personal essays and memoirs and the GEMs that have adorned the walls for the last three years. You know I love to share your writing with others–and make you share it too–you know how I love to see your parents cry (so I’m not the only one)–but mostly I wanted to share those to remind you of your capacity for reflection and insight. I wanted to remind you that you know how to make meaning in your writing, and, in so doing, you know how to make meaning of your lives.

You have searched for your truths and found them in surprising places: in the bunk bed Mari bravely and defiantly descended when she was seven, in the tortuous Stehekin hike  Grace endured in 100-degree weather, trying desperately to channel Charlie Bucket’s positivity, in Lucy’s high green-belt test and the martial art tenets that continue to inspire her to love and accept herself, in the third-grade geometry lesson that allowed Emmy to find her inner Hermione Granger. Meaning was discovered in Mengmeng’s triumphant bicycle ride and the wasps that swarmed her in second grade, in Ruby’s visit to the 9/11 memorial site where she finally understood her mom’s wisdom that small gestures do not go unrecognized, and in those Nanjing University classrooms where Maya Noble proved to herself that she was “good enough.”

A former L-Dub student recently shared an essay with me by Joan Didion, in which she explored her own reasons for keeping a writer’s notebook. She wrote:

Perhaps it is difficult to see the value in having one's self back in that kind of mood, but I do see it; I think we are well advised to keep on nodding terms with the people we used to be, whether we find them attractive company or not. Otherwise they turn up unannounced and surprise us, come hammering on the mind's door at 4 a.m. of a bad night and demand to know who deserted them, who betrayed them, who is going to make amends. We forget all too soon the things we thought we could never forget. We forget the loves and the betrayals alike, forget what we whispered and what we screamed, forget who we were.

I like that idea of keeping “on nodding terms” with the people we once were. Sometimes, looking back helps us move forward, helps us be who we want to be and not simply who we accidentally become. I don’t know if you will continue keeping a writer’s notebook, but I hope you will always live in a way that honors your experiences, that you remember and reflect. As you know, you will not necessarily recognize the significance of those events as you live them; you know that those epiphanies often come much later. I’m sure that Sophia did not recognize her burgeoning feminism the very moment that boy offered to kick for her in that elementary school kickball game; nor did Alma realize how giving up soft drinks would bring her as close to God as it did. And as much as Mia has always loved and admired her big brother, she may not have realized just how much she relied on him until he went off to college.

The girls you once were are not far away from the young women you’ve become. Some days you will cry like you’re three or whine like you’re six or talk incessantly during a Monday morning meeting when you’ve been asked repeatedly to be quiet… (that was the eighth grader in you). And you may not want to be that girl again, but you might be, and that’s okay. You were your better selves too. Your smarter selves, your more compassionate selves, your braver selves.

You are the  Rae who can  show up at school with her pants on backwards and laugh about it, the Izzy who continually trips over her own feet but doesn’t really care because she always finds her footing eventually--and in cute shoes too, the Jumping Josephine who will always wear ponytails and old Converse and laugh as loud as she likes because --why not?. Azura will always be the girl who danced foolishly but fearlessly with her Monkey troupe during field day in 6th grade--and won, and Sadie the girl who enthusiastically donned a clam hat and rapped about ocean acidification in front of strangers, or Maya Lazo who proudly picked THE MOST green beans on Senor Alvarez’ farm. Helen is the same person who sang Girl on Fire at the top of her lungs around the fire pit where her daisy chain fed the flames, and Savita, the girl who dug deep for the courage to ROAR at Poetry Night. You are those girls. Take those selves with you too.

So when you open your eyes tomorrow morning after the tears and the hugs and the laughter and the festivities of tonight, and everything’s just like yesterday, when you wake up and still feel like an 8th grader only you’re really not anymore, don’t be disappointed. Be grateful. For the future that will arrive sooner than you expect, and the past that is over all too soon. Like that tree trunk, those rings remain, and you will grow new ones. And for that evolution, you can be grateful.

I cannot in good conscience end this speech without paying homage to a phenomenal woman whose wisdom and grace will outlive all of us. While Maya Angelou offered us countless gems of inspiration and sage advice, I found something that made me think of all of you and how much you enrich the lives of all of us:

When we find someone who is brave, fun, intelligent, and loving, we have to thank the universe.

On behalf of the L-Dub faculty and staff, I thank the universe for all of you. Congratulations, and good luck.

–Ms. Eva

Our Graduates:

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Bottom, L to R: Ruby, The Northwest School; Mia, Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart; Mengmeng, Lakeside School; Savita, The Northwest School; Maya, The Northwest School; Isabel, Garfield High School; Sophia, Garfield High School; Maya, Ingraham High School; Azura, The Nova Project. Top, L to R: Josephine, Garfield High School; Alma, Aviation High School; Helen, The Northwest School; Rae, The Northwest School; Mari, Holy Names Academy; Emmy, Holy Names Academy; Sadie, Seattle Preparatory School; Grace, Franklin High School; Luci, The Nova Project.

Head on over to Smugmug to see all of the graduation photos.

"L-Dub has taught me that being shy and getting the answer wrong will not end the world and that furthermore, there is no concrete definition of a L-Dub girl. She is not just the funny girl, or the model student, because that’s not how personalities work. She could be both those things if she wanted. An L-Dub girl is strong in mind, body, and voice in her own unique way. And that is what makes this school so beautiful and hard to leave. But I think I’m ready to say goodbye, and leave as not the funny girl or the model student, but as myself only: strong in mind, body, and voice in my own quirky, unique way. And I cannot thank L-Dub enough for that."

–Azura

"Finally, thank you to my parents for enrolling me in this school, because if you hadn’t, I would not be here right now. Instead, I would be at Washington Middle School, lost among a thousand other people. If I hadn’t gone to L- Dub, I would never have had the courage to spontaneously break into song at the top of my lungs without feeling awkward about it or to tell a class of 34 sixth graders (and four seventh graders) what it’s like to have autism. My journey began with you, and for that, I am eternally grateful."

–Helen

"L-Dub taught me how to try new things that push me out of my comfort zone. Starting in 6th grade with Fiddler on the Roof and singing for the first time in front of a huge crowd. Me singing. All the way to becoming a high green belt in Karate. Since the first day of school, this community has pushed me to take risks, with the amigas boards until today, sharing my speech with all of you.

But I am not going to be sad. I am going to listen to my favorite poet, Dr. Seuss who says, “don’t cry because its over, smile because it happened.” And he’s right."

–Maya

Another Wonderful Arts Festival

Last night the L-Dub community came together to celebrate the arts of 2013/2014. It was a wonderful celebration of creativity: on the page, in song, and in dance. Thank you to Ms. Lindsey, Ms. Chelsea, dance teacher Ms. Heather, and Glee Club mentors Mr. Orlando and Ms. Gienapp for their wonderful curating of the event, and to our expressive, impressive, and passionate girls for their hard and inspiring work.

And thank you to Ms. Rooks for her many years of service to the LWGMS community. We love you and will miss you!

Check out all of the Arts Festival photos on Smugmug.

Totally Like Whatever You Know

Taylor Mali's, Totally Like Whatever You Know, is almost an L-Dub student mantra. The piece has been performed at our annual Festival of Lights Poetry Night for ten of 16 years, and this year the girls delivered: three SIXTH grade students performed it, and nailed it. These representatives of the Class of 2016 say it all...they are a group of girls with conviction, strength, and strong voices indeed.