Saints In Action, Spring 2022

Saints In Action, Spring 2022



If you missed the news on social media, Head of School Kirsten Adams has a new fluffy, gentle, and cuddly family member she’s willing to share, Aggie the St. Bernard. Aggie is already a big hit on campus.


Seventh graders conducted a lab to investigate how the surface area of our food plays a role in efficient digestion as part of their study of the digestive system. The goal was to test the dissolving rate of Alka-seltzer in three different conditions, whole, broken, and crushed. The Alka-seltzer represented the food we eat, breaking down the tablets was mechanical digestion, and the dissolving of the tablets was the act of chemical digestion.


Honors Chemistry students learned what it’s like to be a NASA scientists when they analyzed CheMin energy emission data to solve for the empirical formulas of Martian rocks! The Chemistry and Mineralogy instrument, or CheMin for short, performs chemical analysis of powdered rock samples to identify the types and amounts of different minerals that are present. The CheMin was installed in Mars Rover.


March 3 marked 100 days until graduation for our seniors! The faculty cheered them as they arrived at school, where they were greeted with a huge balloon arch, banner, and bubble machine. At lunchtime, there was a pizza party and a photo booth, and the seniors were presented with commemorative baseball hats.


An open forum on the Ukraine was hosted by the Upper School History Department. Students and faculty asked excellent questions about the historical context, causes, and future implications of the current crisis.


Lower School students came to school in comfy pj’s and snuggled up with books to celebrate Read Across Saints Day! There were drop-in story times, mystery readers, and members of the Upper School Book Buddies Club, who stopped by for a reading visit. Local author Kristi Guillory Reid (“Harper Counts Her Blessings”) visited with first graders and author Amina Luqman-Dawson (“Freewater”) visited with the fourth and fifth grades. What a day!


During a Middle School Saints Advisory bonding activity, students had to build the tallest tower with tape, marshmallows, and spaghetti. A fun, collaborative exercise!


Early Saints (age 3) were excited to have a visit from the Alexandria City Fire Department in conjunction with their exploration of transportation through the lens of community helpers. They learned that each helper has a different type of transportation—from police vehicles to sanitation trucks—with different responsibilities, and then shared all the different ways that they can be community helpers in the classroom, on the playground, or at home.


To study for their upcoming test, ninth grade Saints used hexagonal thinking to find connections between terms before writing their responses! Hexagonal thinking is a way to review material and make connections between people, events, and key concepts. History Teacher Kate Hardwick uses hexagonal thinking in a variety of ways, including as warm up and review activities before a test. She either gives her students terms in the hexagons or the students create their own terms and then connect them together in a logical way and with explanations for each of the connections. This engaging activity is a great way to have the students demonstrate their understanding of the key terms and concepts.


In the sixth grade Academic Skills class, students learned about growth vs. fixed mindset. A growth mindset means that you believe your intelligence and talents can be developed over time. A fixed mindset means that you believe intelligence is fixed—so if you’re not good at something, you might believe you’ll never be good at it. With this lesson in mind, students created bumper stickers to encourage their classmates to be positive and do their best!


To relaunch our composting program after the pandemic, the Sustainability Committee invited all students to submit creative and educational posters or videos about composting. More than 60 students from all three campuses participated. Each participant chose from a variety of Green Saints Award, including sustainable stainless-steel water bottles and straws, reusable tote bags, nature books and games, winter hats, stuffed animals, and pens all made from recycled plastic.


Kindergarten students used the Stop Motion Studio app to create an animation to illustrate their chosen word or phrase—in Spanish! In an innovative project using skills learned in their art, technology, and language classes, the students drafted a storyboard that included a character who solved a problem by using the four Lower School character traits, honesty, respect, responsibility, and compassion. Next, they created a clay character during art class to animate using green screens in the technology lab. Everything was put together using the app, including an audio recording of the title in Spanish.


Alex Deas ’24 hosted an invasive plant/storm debris cleanup at Fort Hunt Park to support the National Park Service. It was a thoughtful way for Upper School students to spend time outdoors while earning service hours.


Fifth grade students presented the play, “I Am a Thief” for their kindergarten buddies! The plays were student-run and required creativity, dedication, and teamwork to make blocking decisions, painted the flats, and designed the costumes!


Lower School students enjoyed the 19th Annual ARTStravaganza, a day devoted to the arts. Professional artists joined our teachers in sharing their energy, passion, and knowledge with our students. Saints attended an array of lively workshops which gave them hands-on opportunities to learn about percussion instruments, shadow puppetry, magic, fiber art, theater improv, Hawaiian Music & ukulele, and much more. The students also had a chance to talk with the artists about their lives, how they discovered their passions, and the dedication required to master their crafts. The day culminated with a concert presented by Delta Spur, one of the Washington D.C. area’s hottest country bands.


The Middle School MERIT team, a group of tech-savvy teachers, offered a series of lunchtime activities called “Tech Tango” to Middle School faculty and students. The focus of the MERIT team (Making Education Relevant & Interactive through Technology) is to support the technology curriculum integration program and enhance the use of educational technology on their campuses. The first activity, “Loving Logo,” gave participants an opportunity to blend their creative and “techy-side” together. The Merit Team was on hand to support them while they designed a key chain or pet ID tag using the online design program, Canva, to later be engraved on wood using a laser cutting machine. During the process, students and faculty had to figure out how to get their information onto the small surface in both a functional and aesthetically pleasing manner. To produce their masterpieces, they had to consider contrast, layout, and other design elements, as well as learning how to use the design software and format their final projects to the correct specifications. Other Tech Tango sessions included “Spring into Action” and learning how to make a gif and “Top Spin” in which participants used LEGO robotics kits to design a top that would spin the longest.


Students, faculty, and parents took the lead in “green” efforts across the school from April 18-23, celebrating both on- and off-campus. 

The Saints community made an effort to reduce their carbon footprints by biking, walking, skateboarding, or carpooling to school. The school also ran a “no idling” campaign, encouraging SSSAS drivers to turn off their engines while waiting in carpool lines. The school recommends idling for no more than ten seconds, to help protect the health of our community and environment.

Other activities included a community mural painted by Lower School Saints with some help from the Upper School Branching Out Club who stopped by for a visit; junior kindergarten classes had a live presentation from a local group about “Who Polluted the Chesapeake” including a Live Oyster Demo; kindergarten Saints learned about the benefits of worms and planted beans, cucumbers, and spinach in their garden; the fifth graders visited Huntley Meadows Park to take a guided hike with a wildlife expert through the wetlands habitat; Lower School Girl Scouts had a clean-up at Lucky Run Stream; and the Middle School held an Earth Day chapel in the Fort Ward amphitheater. Additionally, students and faculty on all campuses wore green/blue for Earth Day on April 22. 

Whether in the classroom, at a chapel service, or on a bike ride to school, our students, faculty, staff, and parents aspire to fulfill the mission of living a more sustainable life. Through education and a belief that every positive action makes a difference, our Saints aim to contribute to a healthier planet for future generations.

Cinderella — Dreams Really Do Come True

The Upper School Stage One Players presented four magical performances of the musical, “Cinderella,” by Richard Rodgers (music) and Oscar Hammerstein II (book and lyrics) based upon the fairy tale “Cinderella” by Charles Perrault.

Winning Artists and Writers!

Fourteen Saints received top honors for their artistic and literary skills in local and regional contests and exhibitions.

In The Phillips Collection

Jack Gans ’25: “A Fall Day”

Jack’s sculpture was submitted and accepted into The Phillips Collection current exhibition, “What a Relief” in Washington, D.C. Visit

Charlotte Barnes ’27: “Bliss”

Gold Award, 2D Art
Alexandria Library Teen Winter
Creativity Contest

Ellie Minor ’23: “Get with the Times”

Honorable Mention, Comic
Regional Scholastic Award

IN THE NCECA Exhibition

Makayla Jones ’25: “Cookies’ Jar”

Makayla’s piece was selected by the the National Council on Education of the Ceramic Arts to be exhibited at the 25th Annual National K-12 Ceramic Exhibition at the NCECA 2022 Conference.

Ellie Minor ’23: “Windy Day”

Gold Key, Sculpture
Regional Scholastic Award

Emma Lacy ’23: “Ace” 

Honorable Mention, Printmaking
Regional Scholastic Award

Allison Kleeblatt ’26: “Under the Tree”

Bronze Award, Photography,
Alexandria Library Teen Winter
Creativity Contest

Ella Joshi ’25: “Solemnity” 

Silver Key, Printmaking
Regional Scholastic Award

Micah Gura ’25: “ Various”

Gold Award, 2D Art
Alexandria Library Teen Winter Creativity Contest

Reesey Lai ’26: “Over the Bridge”

Silver Award, Photography
Alexandria Library Teen Winter
Creativity Contest


Regional Scholastic Awards
Zoe Coval ’23: Honorable Mention, Poetry
Zoe Coval ’23:
Honorable Mention, Poetry
lona Michael ’24: Honorable Mention, Personal Essay
Oliver Nichols ’23: Honorable Mention, Critical Essay
Oliver Nichols ’23: Honorable Mention, Sci-Fi & Fantasy 

Alexandria Library Teen Winter Creativity Contest
Ariya Harrington ’26: Silver, Poetry
Ella Schneider ’27: Honorable Mention, Poetry
William Mount ’25: Gold, Prose (Short Story)
Grace Hendy ’25: Honorable Mention, Poetry

Read their award-winning writing.



Final Record: 20-4
Final IAC Standing: Tied for 1st
Final VISAA Standing: 2nd
Finished tied for 1st in the IAC regular season and beat EHS in the IAC Tournament Championship game. Impressive postseason run advancing to the VISAA Division I State Championship game.
ALL-IAC: Devin Ceaser ’22, Garrett Brennan ’22, Elliott Black ’22
VISAA First Team All-State: Devin Ceaser ’22
VISAA Second Team All-State: Garrett Brennan ’22
All-Met First Team: Devin Ceaser ’22
All-Met Honorable Mention: Garrett Brennan ’22


Boys Final VISAA State Ranking: Tied for 8th
Girls Final VISAA State Ranking: 19th
VISAA Boys 1600M All-State Honorable Mention: Noah Cummings ’22
VISAA Boys 4×200 Relay All-State Honorable Mention: Bradley Cruthirds ’24, Magnus Ellehuus ’22, Myles Sandy ’23 and Matthew Bezuneh ’23


Final Record: 11-11
Final ISL Standing: 4th (A Division)
Final VISAA Standing: 10th
Defeated EHS in a VISAA Division I first round match-up to advance to the VISAA quarterfinal for the first time in school history.
ALL-ISL: Nya Mason ’23, Belle Akeredolu ’24


Boys Dual Meet Record: 5-2
Girls Dual Meet Record: 4-5
IAC Championship Meet Finish: 4th
ISL Championship Meet Finish: 7th
Boys WMPSSDL Championship Meet Finish: 13th
Girls WMPSSDL Championship Meet Finish: 10th
Boys VISAA Championship Meet Finish: 17th
Girls VISAA Championship Meet Finish: 24th
Kylie Payne ’23 set a new school record in 1M Girls Diving with a score of 430.10.
ALL-IAC: Evan Ingraham ’25
VISAA Diving State Champion: Kylie Payne ’23


Final Record: 12-8
Final IAC Standing: 4th
Final MAPHL Standing: 3rd (A Division)
Defeated Good Counsel in the MAPL quarterfinal to advance to the MAPHL A Division semifinal against Gonzaga.
Alexandria Sportsman’s Club Athlete of the Month: Calum Wayer ’22
ALL-IAC: Calum Wayer ’22
MAPHL A Division First Team Forward: Calum Wayer ’22
MAPHL A Division First Team Goalie: Jack Sibbald ’25
MAPHL A Division Second Team Forward: Trey Knott ’24
MAPHL A Division Second Team Defense: Will Woodruff ’23


Final Dual Meet Record: 7-5
Final IAC Standing: 4th
Final VISAA Standing: 7th
National Preps Finish: 36 Overall (4th among VISAA Teams)
Andrew Lavayen ’22 earned the 100 Win Club and was voted Outstanding Wrestler at the VISAA Tournament.
ALL-IAC: Andrew Lavayen ’22
VISAA State Champion: Andrew Lavayen ’22
Alexandria Sportsman’s Club Athlete of the Month: Andrew Lavayen ’22
National Prep All-Americans: Andrew Lavayen ’22 and James Blackman ’24
All-Met First Team: Andrew Lavayen ’22
All-Met Honorable Mention: James Blackman ’24