Farewell Shikata ga nai

Last Friday, our students were treated to a performance of Farewell Shikata ga nai, an ode to creator Gabrielle Kazuko Nomura Gainor’s Japanese family and community’s persecution in American concentration camps during WWII. The work combines dance, Asian American theater, and live taiko drumming from Seattle Kokon Taiko – a group with which LWGMS founding parent Stan Shikuma P’01 performs – and deals with Nomura’s feelings about what happened to her jichan (grandfather) and her great-grandparents, along with 120,000 Japanese Americans during World War II.

The piece was powerful and beautiful, and we were honored to be given access to it. Thank you to Ms. Christine for connecting us with Gabrielle Kazuko, and for the group of dancers and performers who touched us so deeply.

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe tells the story of four children who wander into a wardrobe and discover Narnia, a land cursed by an evil witch. It turns out that the only way to defeat this evil force is for the children to work together and put their faith in love, magic, and a unicorn! It’s a bit like students at L-Dub who put their faith in each other as they tackle the adventures of middle school and rely on love and friendships to make the world a better place.  And, it never hurts to use the power of unicorns, too! This cast made the adventure through Narnia come alive as the sixth graders brought energy and enthusiasm to every song and dance whether they were wood nymphs, animals, or minions. The seventh grade came to every rehearsal with ideas and creativity as we revamped some Beatles songs, adding music to the adventure of putting on an L-Dub play. We may not be the “Fab Four,” but we did put a little band together with ukuleles, guitars, drums, a cello, and a piano to add live music to the L-Dub stage. The eighth grade crew did it all: painted, sewed, glued, built, filmed, strummed, 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 at the theater get to sit back and enjoy the magic of Narnia.

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 Artistic Director, the patient and talented Ms. B, who spends her time at places like Goodwill and Michaels finding the best costumes and art supplies to make the actors shine even brighter. Theater week comes together because Ms. Colleen and Ms. Eva coordinate the many moving parts, while Ms. Mutschler and Sra. Jacquie 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 Stumptown for coffee, 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 using love to make the world a better place!

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...

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.

The WIZard of Oz!

The second show of the year for L-Dub’s Drama Department features another girl’s quest. Quite similar to Alice, Dorothy’s journey takes her on an adventure that includes singing, dancing, and general mayhem; a perfect combination for our school full of energy and talent. The entire cast and crew of The Wizard of Oz brought so much energy to every phase of the show, from adding scenes, songs, and dances, to creating beautiful projections and sets. There was no end to the girls’ willingness to try a new dance or sing a new song. In fact, there were some great ideas added just days before opening night. The hardest part of directing this show was limiting the girls’ energy and ideas – if we had another week of rehearsals, I’m sure there would be even more great songs, additional scenes, new characters, and some major dance numbers. 

As with any LWGMS production, there are so many people who contribute to the girls’ experience: Ms. Lindsey creates skillful and beautiful accompaniment: Ms. Chelsea makes magic happen with hot glue, cardboard, paint, and well-curated trips to Value Village: Ms. Eva and Ms. Hearn encourage the actors to speak with conviction and volume; Ms. B takes the eighth grade crew members and teaches them how to run a seamless show; Anne Gienapp coaches the girls to sing with precision and harmony; Ms. Colleen makes sure the girls are where they need to be; and the eighth grade crew brings enthusiasm, organization, and leadership to their sisters’ production. The entire L-Dub community contributes to these shows from faculty and staff to family members who drive set pieces and kids to the theater, and then come to the shows to cheer on the girls. 

We hope you enjoyed L-Dub’s version of a trip down the Yellow Brick Road!

Check out all the photos on Smugmug!

Greek Mythology Trading Cards

After studying Greek Mythology in 7th grade Humanities, each girl made a "trading card" for a Greek god, goddess, or monster. Trading cards include basic information about the assigned god/goddess/monster, including families ties, special powers, and personality. Students also sketched simple illustrations and symbols for their trading cards.

Alice Was Wonderful!

Alice in Wonderland is 150 years old this year, and the LWGMS Drama Department decided to throw her a birthday party – L-Dub style! As we tell the story of a curious girl on an adventure through another land, our inspiration comes from the 1970s (with a little Taylor Swift and Katy Perry thrown in for good measure). Without any real logic to Lewis Carroll’s classic tale of Alice’s trip down the rabbit hole, we embraced any idea that came along and created a show that highlighted the talents of eighth graders’ dance, art, and sewing skills; seventh graders’ singing and acting chops; and sixth graders’ energy and excitement. We added new and old songs throughout the rehearsal process as well as new characters and additional scenes. When anyone questioned how a new idea might fit in the storyline, the answer was always, “It’s Wonderland, so anything can happen!” We hope you will enjoy our wacky tale of Alice, a girl on a quest to find out who she is.

As with any LWGMS production, many people contribute to the success of our shows: the music sounds great because of Ms. Lindsey, the sets and costumes look great because of Ms. Chelsea, the actors are loud and clear because of Ms. Eva and Ms. Hearn, and the volunteers get coordinated because of Ms. Colleen. Ultimately, the entire community contributes to these shows in so many ways. None of this would happen without the help and support of the faculty and staff who give up class time, drive set pieces and kids to the theater, and then come to the shows to cheer on the girls. Thanks to all the parents and family members who I’m sure spent hours listening to songs, running lines, and filling the theater with love.

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.


This year the Washington State Holocaust Education Resource Center (WSHERC) reviewed approximately 700 entries for the 2014 Jacob Friedman Writing, Art, and Digital Media Contest from students, grades 5-12, representing 64 classrooms from schools in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Alaska. 

This year the focus was on children, rescue, resistance, liberation, and refugees.

A panel of judges – educators, artists, and writers of various faiths and backgrounds – reviewed the entries. They looked for creativity, thoughtfulness, an understanding of the theme, as well as evidence of students relating their piece to a specific Holocaust testimony, text, or event. Judges wanted to know how Holocaust stories and events effect students personally, and how these students might change the way they react to future injustice.

All Lake Washington Girls Middle School sixth grade students entered the contest, and we are proud of each and every one of them for their thoughtful compassion and empathy.

Six members of the Class of 2016 placed in this year's contest:


1st Place: Mena, Grade 6, Lake Washington Girls Middle School, Seattle. Teacher: Lindsey Mutschler. "Hope. There was a reason that this word was scarce during the Holocaust. There just wasn't enough. People in the Holocaust suffered unmentionable horrors, horrors that left many scarred and hopeless, with good reason." READ MORE

3rd Place: Mara, Grade 6, Lake Washington Girls Middle School, Seattle. Teacher: Chelsea McCollum.  "When someone says the name, 'Hannah Senesh,' what words come up when I think of her? For a start, she was brave, courageous, loyal, and confident. She was a Hungarian Jew that parachuted into enemy country during the Holocaust to help Jewish communities." READ MORE


3rd Place (TIE): Maya, Grade 6, Lake Washington Girls Middle School, Seattle. Teacher: Lindsey Mutschler. Artist's Statement: The Anonymous Girl Diarist from the Lodz Ghetto was a young girl who lived in the Ludz Ghetto. She wrote in her diary every day for months. Her words were inspiring and really showed life in the holocaust in a beautiful, poetic way. For the contest, I wrote a poem in the shape of this girl. The poem tells of the girl’s words and their impact on me and my perception of the Holocaust. Surrounding her, there is barbed wire is made up of her quotes. I chose her because her words really changed my perception of the Holocaust: that girl could easily have been me.


Honorable Mention: Rachel, Grade 6, Lake Washington Girls Middle School, Seattle. Teacher: Lindsey Mutschler. Artist's Statement:  My art piece is of a bird cage with the names of the groups of people who were targeted in the Holocaust leaving the cage. The bird cage is black to represent the darkness of their world during the Holocaust, and also to represent being locked up and not able to escape. I chose to have the words colorful because it shows the diversity of the people and how they can’t just be a Jew or a Gypsy because that was how the Nazis saw them. I chose to do this art piece because it shows the victims growing and keeping hope even after the war.


Honorable Mention: Stella, Grade 6, Lake Washington Girls Middle School, Seattle. Teacher: Lindsey Mutschler. Artist's Statement: My art piece is a mix between markers and collage. My art piece represents Kindertransport. The scene in my art piece is of some kids from Kindertransport on a boat going back home. I did silhouettes instead of detailed drawings because a lot of the kids when they came back their attitudes and expressions had changed because during the war they had to grow up fast and be able to take care of themselves and many others. The Star of David is there to represent that they’re Jewish. I wanted to do a symbol for Kindertransport because I am a kid and I wanted to learn more while I was making this art piece.


2nd Place: Julia, Grade 6, Lake Washington Girls Middle School, Seattle. Teacher: Chelsea McCollum.  "Brundibar"

Those who entered the contest were asked to address its theme by creating a piece about a real person, event or story that inspired them. 

It is through the study of the Holocaust that our students and community learn about human behavior, social responsibility, moral courage, the importance of speaking out against intolerance, and the difference just one person can make.

Julia, Mena, Mara, Maya, Stella, Rachel, and the other winners will be presented with prizes and recognition for winning entries at an awards ceremony in Seattle on June 11.