Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart

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Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart
Hic et Nunc
Here and Now
9101 Rockville Pike
Bethesda, Maryland, (Montgomery County), 20814
Type Private
Religious affiliation(s) Roman Catholic
Established 1924
Head of School Catherine Ronan Karrels
Grades K12
Gender Girls
Enrollment 690 (2013)
Color(s) Blue and Gold         
Song Coeur de Jesus
Athletics Independent School League
Accreditation Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools[1]
Newspaper The Here & Now
Yearbook Ridgeway
Admissions Director Mary Tobias
Athletic Director Jason McGhee

Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart (previously known as Stone Ridge Country Day School) is a pre-K through 12 independent, Catholic school for girls located in Bethesda, Maryland, in the Washington, DC suburbs. It is located in the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington. Stone Ridge offers a competitive college preparatory curriculum within a dynamic and diverse community. Stone Ridge is located across the street from the National Institutes of Health and next door to National Naval Medical Center; this location offers easy transportation via Metro.

The school known today as Stone Ridge was established in downtown Washington, DC at 1719 Massachusetts Avenue, NW in 1923. By the end of the Second World War, the school had outgrown the building known affectionately as "1719." In 1947, the Society of the Sacred Heart bought 35 acres (140,000 m2) of land and their estate, known as "Stone Ridge," in Bethesda, Maryland from Mr. and Mrs. George Hamilton. To this day, the original mansion of the Hamilton estate, a grand neo-Georgian edifice built in 1904, is known as "Hamilton House". Over the years, multiple additions have supported the growth of the school. The most recent additions include an indoor swimming pool and major landscaping work.

Ranked as one of the most academically challenging schools in the DC Metropolitan area, one hundred percent of Stone Ridge graduates go to college with countless alumnae attending schools such as Georgetown University, Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, and Bucknell University. Notable alumni include Cokie Roberts, Maria Shriver, Joanna Sturm, and Kathleen Kennedy Townsend.

For many years, Sister Anne Dyer led as the head of school, but she retired in 2005. From 2006 to 2007, Dr. Richard Barberi served as interim head, and was replaced by Catherine Ronan Karrels (the first lay head of school and graduate of the school) in fall of 2008. Their mascot is the Gator.


Madeleine Sophie Barat founded the Society of the Sacred Heart, an international educational order, in 1800 in France. Her desire was to provide young women with as strong a religious and academic training as that available for young men of that era.

In 1818, Rose Philippine Duchesne brought Sacred Heart education to North America. The first Convent of the Sacred Heart in the United States, and the first free school west of the Mississippi, opened its doors in St. Charles, Missouri, at that time the western frontier. The first Sacred Heart School in Maryland was established in 1871 at Rosecroft in St. Mary's County. That school was forced to close two years later in the face of overwhelming hardships. Fifty years later, the Religious of the Sacred Heart returned to the Washington, D.C. area, and opened a new school at 1719 Massachusetts Avenue, in northwest Washington, D.C. For more than a generation they carried on the work of education there, but by the end of the Second World War, the school had outgrown its quarters in the city.

In 1947, the Society of the Sacred Heart purchased 35 acres (140,000 m2) of the estate known as “Stone Ridge” owned by Mr. and Mrs. George Hamilton in Bethesda, Maryland. The Hamilton estate thus became a Country Day School of the Sacred Heart, directed by the Society of the Sacred Heart. That same year, on September 25, the school opened with 150 students, 25 instructors, and 7 lay assistants. As the school grew, a new wing was added to the main Hamilton House to accommodate classrooms, study halls, a playroom, and dining rooms. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, further additions for the Lower and Upper Schools and the Religious Community were built. Tennis courts replaced blacktop used for roller skating. A gymnasium opened in 1963 and an addition in 1974 provided expanded athletic facilities.

With increased enrollment over the years, a new academic building opened in 1996 with classrooms for the Upper School, as well as science, computer and foreign language labs, administrative offices, a media center, library, an assembly room, and lecture hall. At this same time, a new, 7,000-square-foot (650 m2) gymnasium opened complementing two existing gymnasiums. As a result, pre-existing athletic facilities with basketball and volleyball courts, music and drama rooms, expanded to include more office space, a weight room, and gymnastics room where a climbing wall was added in 2000. Additional outdoor tennis courts, playing fields, and a swimming pool added in 2001 complete the partially wooded campus. In 2002, the Sophie Center space for Middle School assemblies and performance arts was enhanced with an improved stage and the installation of new seating risers. At the north end of the center, the original windows were replaced with two sets of double doors leading to a spacious wood deck with outside access. In 2003, improvements to the existing Book Barn and maintenance buildings were completed. The spring of 2003 also found the outdoor grotto and prayer garden devoted to Mater Admirabilis completed with landscaping and granite benches located on the hill adjacent to the gymnasiums.

After living in convent quarters on the fifth floor of the school since 1959, the Religious of the Sacred Heart moved into a single family home in May 2004. There are sisters now living in two houses located in the Parkview neighborhood, adjacent to the Stone Ridge campus. The vacated space on the fifth floor houses new classrooms, counseling offices and tutoring rooms, the health facility, and a common area for faculty. In 2005, significant renovations took place on campus: the Early Childhood Program opened; a new light-filled Visual Arts Center atelier has enhanced the drawing and painting curriculum; and the swimming pool was enclosed with a retractable roof, creating a state-of-the-art aquatic center complete with locker rooms, a classroom, observation decks, and spectator seating. In 2015 a turf field was added to the campus. It is lined for field hockey, soccer and lacrosse.


In accordance to many Sacred Heart Society traditions, Stone Ridge School celebrates congés. There are two congés a year in which students participate in community-building exercises and games instead of attending class; these days are a favorite among the students. Additionally, prior to her first day at Stone Ridge, a student will be placed on either the blue team or the gold team. Throughout the year, the teams compete to win points through attendance at sporting events, academic honors, and volunteering. At the end of the year, on the all-school father/daughter Field Day, the winning team is announced. Other traditions include the annual Upper School bonfire, Prize Day, and the class ring ceremony for juniors and seniors.

The tradition of the school is undeniably Catholic, and while the majority of the Stone Ridge community is Roman Catholic, many students and faculty belong to other religious traditions.[citation needed] There is diversity also in the race, nationality, and culture of the students.[citation needed] However, the commitment to the goals and criteria is consistent throughout the Stone Ridge community. Stone Ridge girls compete athletically in the prestigious Independent School League, with traditional rivalries against the Holton-Arms School, Connelly School of the Holy Child, and Georgetown Visitation.


The Upper School One-to-One Laptop Program equips each participating student with an Apple Macbook Pro computer to facilitate learning within the world of technology. The students are given an assigned laptop for both school and personal use for the entire length of the program (from when they enroll in the Upper School to when they leave or graduate). Throughout their participation in the One-to-One Laptop program, students are strongly encouraged to embrace technology at every opportunity in their classes, for their individual studies and research projects and while engaged in campus life activities and events.

Weekend educational programs[edit]

The Washington Japanese Language School (WJLS, ワシントン日本語学校 Washington Nihongo Gakkō), a supplementary weekend Japanese school, holds its classes at the Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart.[2][3] The WJLS maintains its school office in North Bethesda, adjacent to Garrett Park.[4][5][3] The institution, giving supplemental education to Japanese-speaking children in the Washington DC area, was founded in 1958,[6] making it the oldest Japanese government-sponsored supplementary school in the U.S.[7]

Notable Alumnae[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ MSA-CIWA. "MSA-Committee on Institution-Wide Accreditation". Archived from the original on 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2009-07-31. 
  2. ^ "SRMap2015.pdf." Washington Japanese Language School. Retrieved on April 16, 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Home" (Archive). Washington Japanese Language School. Retrieved on April 16, 2015. "学校事務局 Holy Cross Church, Quinn Hall 2F. 4900 Strathmore Avenue, Garrett Park, MD 20896[...]校舎 ストーンリッジ校 Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart 9101 Rockville Pike Bethesda, MD 20814"
  4. ^ "Map" (Archive). Town of Garrett Park. Retrieved on April 30, 2014.
  5. ^ "2010 CENSUS - CENSUS BLOCK MAP: North Bethesda CDP, MD" (Archive). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved on April 30, 2014.
  6. ^ "English." Washington Japanese Language School. Retrieved on April 30, 2014. "Washington Japanese Language School c/o Holy Cross Church, Quinn Hall, 4900 Strathmore Avenue, Garrett Park, MD 20896"
  7. ^ "Andrew M. Saidel" (Archive). Japan-America Society of Greater Philadelphia (JASGP; フィラデルフィア日米協会とは). Retrieved on April 16, 2015.

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