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Stella Schola christens new building

LWSD Superintendent Dr. Traci Pierce (left) christens the new Stella Schola Middle School building with apple cider. - Courtesy Photo
LWSD Superintendent Dr. Traci Pierce (left) christens the new Stella Schola Middle School building with apple cider.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

Recently, Stella Schola Middle School christened its new building.

Housed in portables in the Lake Washington School District (LWSD) for the last 13 years, Stella Schola staff, parents, students and alumni families celebrated the completion of the new building with a dedication ceremony, christening and ribbon cutting. With more than 300 people in attendance, LWSD Superintendent Dr. Traci Pierce christened the foundation of the new building with sparkling cider and then — together with principal Erin Bowser and headmistress Brigitte Tennis — cut the star-shaped cake for everyone in attendance.

Stella Schola was founded by LWSD teacher Brigitte Tennis in 2000 after being prompted by students and parents. After establishing a philosophy of hands-on learning in a rich, classical learning environment based on historical themes, planning three grade levels of rigorous curriculum, establishing a budget, setting up assessment criteria, field trips and creating hands-on units, Tennis presented her idea to the LWSD Choice School Committee and was approved for opening a single seventh grade in the fall of 2000. After that class completed the year, wanted to return and proved their academic success through state test scores, an eighth grade class was opened. In the fall of 2002, the sixth grade was added.

The entire school was housed in portables behind Rose Hill Junior High. There was no office and Tennis did the secretarial work after school hours, until the school was granted a secretary in 2005, thanks to the advocacy of then-principal David Larson.

Now, 13 years later, Stella Schola has a student body of 90 with three full-time teachers, a secretary, and part-time instructional assistant, which is partially subsidized by the Parent Teacher Organization.

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