April Raven Report: A Letter from Head of School Mary Rose Guerin

April Raven Report: A Letter from Head of School Mary Rose Guerin

Janet Erskine Stuart, RSCJ once remarked that "every joy ought to broaden our horizon," and as we witness the emergence of tulips and the myriad blessings that May bestows upon us, I am thrilled to share the abundant growth and joy blossoming from a Spring season brimming with scientific exploration.

The science journey of our students at Forest Ridge continues to flourish, nurturing them into innovative and globally-minded leaders. They learn to perceive challenges as opportunities for growth and develop a profound awareness of how their actions resonate beyond themselves. It has been exciting to see all the inquiry-based science practices being applied both on our campus and beyond.

Both the 5th and 6th grade students had STEM-focused experiential learning opportunities during their Immersive Week. 5th grade students participated in Wild Wilderness where an instructor from Islandwood Camp led them through learning activities throughout the week. Students hiked all around Seattle and the Eastside applying their new environmental science knowledge. In between hikes, students engaged in an array of fun activities -- including spending time in our gardens harvesting herbs for their own homemade tea! The 6th grade spent Immersive Week at Camp Coleman applying their growing knowledge of ecology to a new environment. To prepare to make connections and apply knowledge at camp, students read Whale of the Wild by Rosanne Perry in English and made interdisciplinary connections in their science course.

Some of our Upper School students and budding scientists also spent their Immersive Week applying their knowledge beyond our campus through an exciting multi-night trip. Students in the Seas the Day course studied marine science by traveling around the Puget Sound exploring tide pools and kelp beds, visiting marine labs, learning from experienced marine scientists, navigating on the water, and protecting the oceans through service.

Beyond Immersive Week, Forest Ridge students are growing their scientific knowledge and skills. 7th grade students tackled the question “Why are the impact craters on the moon all generally circular if the objects making the impacts (mainly asteroids) are not circular?” with a hands-on lab outside.

In addition to the great work of our students, we’ve been delighted to welcome outside experts to inspire them and connect their learning in science to applications beyond their classroom studies. Last month, the Upper School hosted Dr. Linda Eckert and Dr. Pat Ngatchou, parent of Kenza ’24, for a conversation around global health (their collective work in different but complementary contexts – one clinic based, one lab based), with a special focus on the treatment of and prevention of cervical cancer.

Dr. Eckert has just published Enough: Because We Can Stop Cervical Cancer. This book, which is written for the general public, is a call to action as it centers the stories of women with cervical cancer from six continents, wrestling with the economic, political and gender issues that stand in the way of ending this preventable cancer. Students enjoyed learning about this important topic and then had the opportunity to engage in hands-on workshops facilitated by both Dr. Eckert and Dr. Ngatchou.

Our Upper School STEM club also hosted Dr. Ariel Knight ’04, Clinical Assistant Professor, Surgery – General Surgery, from Stanford to learn more about the intricacies of being a surgeon and a critical care physician.

Angela Fritz, who spoke at Middle School Global Days this fall, is returning to campus Monday, May 6 to present to our middle school students and some of our upper school students, as well! She will be speaking about her path to becoming a physical therapist, what physical therapy is, and what being a PT for babies and working the NICU looks like.

In the upper school, the STEM club and Science department hosted the annual STEM fair. Visitors to the fair were able to learn so much, including what a daphnia was, how frequently to change cleaning products if you need to kill bacteria, that too much salinity can, quite literally, kill some living organisms, how to better bake things with the right acids, that gluten free focaccia can still be tasty, that acid rain and snails don’t mix, that music does alter your heartrate and breathing (with the option to try it yourself!), that you can beat a lie detector (and that you can build a homemade one!), that you can turn nickel into copper, that mice can also suffer from traumatic brain injuries, that slime mold is super creepy and smarter than you ever wanted to know, that you can buy luminol off the internet, that garlic doesn’t really need that much water to grow, that algae is incredible, and so much more!

Congratulations, also, to the five Forest Ridge students who participated and won awards in the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair—Catherine E. ’25, Minh N. ’26, Amy C. ’25, Ria B. ’24, and Jamie K. ’25! Ria was also in the final round of judging to qualify for the 2024 Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair in Los Angeles.

All the hard work of our students is paying off as we’re proud to continue the tradition of 100% of seniors being admitted to all types of colleges such as Cal Arts, Parsons, MIT, Stanford, Notre Dame, UCLA, and the University of Washington, Seattle to name just a few. Be sure to join me and fellow parents and guardians on Friday, May 17 to hear from Nikki Danos, Director of College Counseling, at our Parent/Guardian and Student Breakfast. To learn more and register for breakfast, click here.