If you walk down the main hallway of tall, red lockers at Lake Washington Girls Middle School, you may notice that each one has a silver nameplate at its top. These nameplates do not refer to the students whose belongings reside within the lockers. Instead, every locker bears the name of an inspirational woman – such as Ida B. Wells, Rachel Carson, and Elizabeth Blackwell – who reminds our girls of the qualities that reside within each one of them: intelligence, strength, courage, passion, compassion, and the capacity to become anything they dare to dream. As our students grow into young women strong in mind, body, and voice, we make it a point to surround them – quite literally – with strong female role models and change-makers. We lovingly refer to these women as Locker Ladies, a title that is a true badge of honor at LWGMS.
March is Women's History Month, and this year's theme is “Celebrating Women of Character, Courage, and Commitment”. Yesterday, our students kicked off day one of FLEx Week at the Museum of Flight, celebrating Women in Aviation.
And here's to our Locker Lady, Amelia Earhart...
American aviation pioneer and author
Born in Atchison, Kansas on July 24, 1897 Amelia Mary Earhart had no idea that she was going to become the first woman pilot to fly across the Atlantic Ocean. “By the time I had gotten two or three hundred feet off the ground I knew I had to fly.” Amelia said this on December 28, 1920 when she was in an airplane for the first time with her dad and pilot Frank Hawks.
As a child and adult Amelia was daring; her parents did not raise their two children to be "nice little girls," and Amelia and her sister were thought of as tomboys. Not normal for the times, Amelia aspired to a future career; she kept a scrapbook of newspaper clippings about successful women in male-oriented fields, including film, law, advertising, management, and engineering.
After her first plane ride in 1920, Amelia got to work saving money for flying lessons in California. On May 15,1923 Amelia Earhart was the 16th woman in the world to get her air license. According to the Boston Globe Amelia Earhart was on of the best women pilots in the world. When she was 30 she was asked to fly across the Atlantic accompanying pilot Wilmer Stultz and co-pilot/mechanic Louis Gordon, really as a passenger, but she was allowed to keep the flight log. When she landed she told the reporter, "Stultz did all the flying—had to. I was just baggage, like a sack of potatoes." She added, "...maybe someday I'll try it alone." Lo behold a few years later, at the age of 34, on May 20, 1932 Amelia became first woman to fly solo non-stop across the Atlantic and for her bravery was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross from Congress, the Cross of Knight of the Legion of Honor from the French Government and the Gold Medal of the National Geographic Society from President Herbert Hoover.
Between 1930–1935, Earhart had set seven women's speed and distance records, became good friends with Eleanor Roosevelt – the two shared interests and passions, especially women's causes – but her eyes were on a new "prize...one flight which I most wanted to attempt – a circumnavigation of the globe as near its waistline as could be." She attempted this flight two times – the first time was successful because of mechanical failures and though she flew a lot farther the second time – 22,000 of the 29,000 miles – she disappeared without a trace. Amelia was a brave women and a mentor to all girls.
Festival de Otoño was such a wonderful event! Our expanding, fun-loving, boisterous community came together to rub elbows, share tamales, flan, and dulce de leche, sing, dance, laugh, and most importantly, to support our girls and guests as they celebrated all things Latino. Thank you to the girls and faculty who worked so hard to make our Hall shine with celebration (and a little telenovela drama), and to our families who brought amazing desserts (¡qué rico!) and participated in our unique L-Dub brand of fun and learning. Fuerza!
Check out all of the pictures here.
Ms. Klema and Ms. Caitlin just finished LWGMS's inaugural STEAM Camp session, and it was a huge success. Our campers were spirited, hard-working young women who embraced the camp's (indeed, our school's!) Design Thinking model with great excitement and good humor, and the presentation on Friday was fantastic. Thank you to all of the attending families!
Some of the many projects completed by the campers included hamster architecture, pencil boxes, chairs, and playground designs – their work was creative, well-planned (and planned again in many cases), and executed with care and collaboration. We are so proud of these girls...
STEAM Camp round two starts in August. We can't wait to see what Ms. Klema and Ms. Caitlin have planned for the next group!
Check out all of session one's STEAM Camp here!
At the beginning of the 2012/2013 academic year, LWGMS faculty, staff, and board members began planning the launch of the first ever STEAM program (and summer camp!) for middle school girls in Seattle. At the April auction our community came together and raised a much appreciated $42,000 to outfit the STEAM Studio, support the STEAM faculty, and get our girls immersed in Design Thinking. We're so very excited!
From our head of school...
Why I think STEAM is better than STEM
There has been a focus on STEM education in the United States for decades, and a worthy push to get more girls interested in STEM fields as well. Women continue to be underrepresented in STEM fields. In fact, according to research conducted by the EdLab Group, there has actually been a decrease in girls in STEM fields. The STEMconnector report identifies potential interest in STEM fields at the high school level. Among the highlights:
- There has been a decrease among female interest in STEM careers over the past decade.
- The gender gap in STEM interest had remained steady over the past 20 years but it is now increasing at a significant rate.
- Overall, student interest in STEM decreases as they advance through the school system.
I believe that there has been a historical cultural error that has encouraged us to think that there is some inherent binary division between the kind of people interested in (or good at) math and science and those interested in the arts and humanities. It is this error that causes girls to think that STEM classes and STEM fields aren't for them. What is needed is for us to reunite art and science and recognize that even in the most “sciency” science lab and the most mathematical accounting desk, there is a need for creativity, problem-solving, and empathy.
Those are the skills inherent in design thinking. Once we embrace the A and all that goes along with art and design, girls will see the value in the other four letters and we will have a more diverse – and better – workforce in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.
"Art and science – once inextricably linked, both dedicated to finding truth and beauty – are better together than apart." – John Maeda, President of RISD
I believe that all students should learn to take appropriate risks and make mistakes. A pedagogy grounded in design thinking not only allows for mistakes, it encourages them. Students are asked to identify a problem, ideate solutions, prototype a solution – and this is the best part – see how and why that solution is not perfect, and try again. I can think of no better time for girls to become comfortable with the design thinking process than middle school. It will poise them to be open to taking every opportunity high school has to offer and to be comfortable with being imperfect or even completely wrong occasionally – and that is how we teach girls to be self-confident, independent, and creative thinkers and learners.
Head of School
Last Wednesday we were honored to watch the Class of 2013 graduate from Lake Washington Girls Middle School. Each of the girls wrote and delivered her final speech to the 200+ guests. Speeches were filled with the personalities and unmistakable character of this group of 18 wise-beyond-their-years, creative, compassionate, and goofy girls, and we loved every one of them. Thank you to Sra. Charito for her inspirational faculty address, to the Glee Club for their wonderful and moving performance, and the Class of 2014 families for throwing the graduates a lovely sending off party.
Class of 2013: You will be missed every day. Keep us posted on all of your adventures, truimphs, and even your ever-important reslience-building failures.
You can see all of the graduation photos here.
Not many people get to meet the athletes that inspire them, and I consider myself really lucky to be able to say that I have. I was asked by my teachers to write a speech about the impact of basketball on my life for the showing of a documentary about the Seattle Storm. I agreed and being myself, wrote a poem. I performed it on the night of the film showing, and I guess I really moved some people, because the owner of the Storm invited me to perform it again, only this time, in front of the team before their first game. I was honored, and that Sunday I went to Key Arena and read it to them. It was an amazing experience, and the players were really nice and seemed to enjoy hearing a young girl talk about a sport they play professionally. I got their autographs, and we took a picture. It was very inspiring to see what hard work can get a person, and watch those strong women play a sport that I love.
If life is a basketball game,
it’s the state championships
because we only have one chance.
Sometimes the ball is stolen from us,
sometimes it feels like we can’t win.
But as long as you fight hard,
you can move around the obstacles,
you can learn the game
and think ahead
thats what I’ve learned.
The first time I played basketball
was in third grade.
They handed me a too big, green jersey
and told me to mark the tallest girl on the other team.
Naturally, I was terrified.
I am small now, and I have always been.
I remember looking up at the girl who was seemingly huge
in comparison to the other eight year olds
and being determined to beat this team.
I told myself it was life or death,
that we needed to win.
But something about losing makes a person,
so they’ll never have to feel that way again.
Losing makes a team push themselves,
makes them practice more,
brings them closer.
People say practice makes perfect.
Well, I’ve found that it doesn't.
No, practice makes better,
and better isn’t good enough.
So we practice until best.
There is something about sports
that makes a person feel accomplished.
Like they’ve done something for themselves
with nothing but hard work
and the only tool they use is their own body,
makes a person feel like they’ve become something
with their own legs and hands,
like you don’t need anyone,
like you can go places on your own.
An athlete is not simply someone who plays a sport.
An athlete lives their sport,
dreams of playing the game.
We are thirsty for challenge,
drink up competition with a straw.
An athlete is an athlete on and off the court.
Basketball is not defined by one game,
but by the work that was put into each time you step on that court.
One shot does not define a player,
but a player defines the number on their back.
Every practice is a chance to be somebody,
to make something for yourself.
So if I’ve learned anything from basketball,
people play sports
the same way they live life.
And if life is a basketball game,
it’s the state championships
because we only have one chance.
Yesterday was the final school day of the 2012/2013 school year, and what a day it was! The girls were BUSY cleaning their locker and classrooms, the Class of 2013 ran through their graduation ceremony and speeches, and we all gathered together to celebrate one another and a great year. It was an emotional day that ended with the
L-Dub moving up ceremony where all of the girls pass through to the next grad and final farewell to Ms. Straley.
You can see all of the photos from our last day here. (Sorry we didn't get everyone in the moving up ceremony - the girls were moving so fast!)
What an amazing All School Art Show our community enjoyed last Friday! All 68 of our girls, Ms. Lindsey, and Ms. Klema displayed their entire year's worth of creativity and work. Inspired by artists, trail blazers, nature, life, emotions, children's stories, as well as three dimensional every day objects, the 2013 Art Show really was ART AT LWGMS. We are so proud of each and every one of our artists.
We were also so happy to hear a few numbers from the Glee Club, led by Joe Orlando P'14 and Anne Gienapp P'14, and to see our resident dancers perform. And a big thank you to Chopstix food truck for coming by to feed our masses!
You can see all of the Art Show photos here.
Yesterday, the Class of 2014 participated in AppDay - it was great! The girls spent almost four hours programming their Chromebooks, laptops, iPads, and iPhones; they learned to draw amazing designs (like the spirographs ones of our youth) with the Turtle program; and they learned the beginnings of making a game in which you tap an icon (either a monster or balloon or whatever they chose) to gain points with the Monster Slicer or Bubble Bouncer program.
The girls embodied persistance. With the programming, if they didn't get it right, they'd get an error message. Sometimes it was easy to figure out where they went wrong, but other times it wasn't. There were a number of volunteers walking around to help out, but often the girls figured the issue out on their own or with one another's help. None of them settled for the bare minimum project either; they were all trying to add more colors, or shapes, or backgrounds, or sounds.
Ask your girls to show you what they learned. They can also show you how they did the coding, and if you're a neophyte like most of them, you'll appreciate how confusing it can be.
Thank you so much Ms. Rooks and Rob McCann P'14 who took the girls and offered valuable programming advice, and to Ms. Straley who spent most of Wednesday readying our fleet of Chromebooks to handle the programming.
Check Sadie '14 and Helen '14 - and another picture of a table full of 2014s - on Geekwire!
The 8th grade, directed by our fearless leader, Ms. Hearn, crewed by a group of hard working 7th grade students, and costumed by the creative and generous Jan Frederick P'09, '14, put on two amazing plays last weekend: Miss Beth by Don Zolidis and Sadie and the Package by Ben Kingsland, based on a Tweet by Emilio Rodriguez.
The girls were on fire - playing "mean girls," teen idols, and zany adults - and the house was packed. Check out the photos here!
Last night the newest members of the L-Dub family joined the current community for a potluck dinner and sister-group initiation ceremony. It was so great to see so many members of the Class of 2016 and their families again. We can't wait till you're all here every day! You can check out all of the photos here! (Please email us if you need the password.)
A note from the Fuerza Family Association...
On behalf of all LWGMS families, the FFA wishes to give a standing ovation to Jenny Zavatsky for directing another awesome musical! And to all the teachers and staff who helped make the show happen, we remain on our feet, gratefully applauding all of you!
We also want to give a hearty thanks to all of you who toiled "behind-the-scenes" designing sets, wrangling, baking, sewing, selling tickets, logo-wear and concessions, coordinating and selling flowers, unloading and getting all the sets, props, and costumes put away. Your tireless efforts, along with the magical costume designs and wonderful Wonka music really helped Ms. Jenny and actresses bring the play to life!
We also thank you for helping us host such a "funtastic" cast party for our Wonka girls! It was such a treat to watch our girls celebrate their dedication, hard work, and best of all, each other! Your generous contributions toward the party more than enough covered the costs. Everything extra will go directly toward benefiting our amazing Drama Department.
All your incredibly support just reinforces for our girls what true community can do.
The Class of 2013 did a great job presenting and defending their Science Fair projects to our panel of judges, their families, and our guests. Thank you to all of those who supported the 8th graders through their project preparation!
It was such a pleasure to welcome our girls' Loved Ones to the school on February 12. We enjoyed the company of so many kind, interesting, curious, and caring people, each one in some way responsible for the molding of the strong and intelligent young women we love to teach. Thank you for coming...and thank you for caring!
If you'd like access to more photos from the day, please email us and we'll send you the gallery password.
Spirit Week was such good fun. From 1920s day to SciFi and Fantasy, our girls came up with some great themes this year...and even better costumes!
Here are a few of the many photos. The rest can be found on our SmugMug account. Click through to access them.
Thank you to our friend John Platt of St. Clouds for welcoming our girls and families into his kitchen last week, and to the YWCA Angeline's Women's Center in Belltown for allowing us to cook for their guests.
This Thursday, on their days off during conference days, 36 LWMGS students and 15 parents/guardians will join John Platt, co-owner of St. Clouds restaurant in Madrona, in his kitchen for a special cooking project for the homeless. Mr. Platt, a former high school principal, is dedicated to “providing an hour of dignity and good food to people who find too little of both in their lives,” and created the Neighborhood Cooking Foundation to do just that. Each third Wednesday of the month he invites neighbors, friends, and a generous community of volunteers to come together and cook dinner for over 450 people utilizing the services of organizations such as the YWCA Women and Children’s Shelter, The Men’s Inn, the Cherry Street YWCA, Peace for the Streets, Tent City, and Jubilee Women’s Center. Our group will be cooking on a special Thursday L-Dub session for 150 women at the YWCA Angeline's Women's Center in Belltown.
YWCA Angeline's Women's Center is a safe, welcoming, supportive, and supervised drop-in center for homeless and low-income women 18 years and older. It serves as many as 300 women each day and more than 2,300 each year. Women who visit Angeline's can enjoy meals in the dining room, leave their belongings in large lockers, care for their personal hygiene in showers and bathrooms, and clean their clothes in the laundry rooms. They can take refuge from the cold, talk to counselors, get medical treatment, or simply sit and rest. On Friday, our students will serve the Angeline's women a hot meal that they've made, and sit down to eat with them as well.
Our students and families will be contributing food donations and ideas to Mr. Platt on Thursday, and together, based on the ingredients and skills in the room, the group will come up with the menu...and get to work!
Thank you to Mr. Platt and St. Clouds for inviting our school to support this good work, participate in this important lesson of giving back to the community, and to stand with (and hopefully lift the spirits of) other women.
This year's essay contest theme was: "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere." On November 20, 2012, every member of the Lake Washington Girls Middle School Class of 2013 submitted essays to the commission, and on December 28, 2012, three of our students received word that they had won the top three awards for their work. Quinn '13 won first place, Chloe '13 won second place, and Ada '13, third.