In the early afternoon of October 7, 2014, despite some spitting rain, the whole school congregated in the upper parking lot on the Reservoir campus to celebrate the first step in what will be the “Lab School of Tomorrow” — a school that will include a new, incredibly inspired High School building with features and spaces that address the needs of kids with learning differences as well as a renovated and reimagined Middle School building, art wing, and theater.

Elementary staff and students arrived from the Foxhall campus, each head atopped with a bright yellow construction hat boasting the Capital Campaign logo. The High School band filled the air with music as everyone took their places. Speakers included Board Chair Mimi Dawson, Head of School Katherine Schantz, Capital Campaign Co-Chairs Davi Camalier and Hal Malchow, and most impressively, three students, Anika Eigen-Zuchi ’19, Sophie Sperduto ‘17, and Michael Bryant ’15. Each speaker spoke from the heart, underscoring their excitement, pride, and gratitude.

“On the first day I hated it. I didn't know anybody and I was scared,” says senior Michael Bryant, 11 years after the day he describes. After being calmed down with juice and crackers and some kind, supportive words, Michael went off to math — his most dreaded subject. “I told my teacher that I couldn’t do subtraction. She gave me three little blocks and told me to take one away.” When he answered correctly that two were left, she simply said, “There you go.” Michael added, “And at that moment I knew this was the right place for me.”

Anika Eigen-Zuchi talked about having more space and the freedom that comes with that. “At lunch when we’re at our lockers, we can barely move,” she says. But once the High School moves to the new building, “Junior High will be a well-oiled machine, running comfortably and smoothly.”

Sophie Sperduto talked about the excitement for high schoolers having a space to call their own and to give them their own identity … a place with spaces and style to match their teen sensibilities.
Then a group of students and adults, poised with shovels, dug into the dirt — each shovelful a gesture of pride and gratitude in their school as it is today, and what it will be tomorrow.
The celebration ended with a beautiful rendition of John Lennon’s “Imagine” from the band, featuring soloist Sayaka Yamamoto ‘18 … followed by cookies colorfully iced with a rendering of the new building.

In the evening, the event was fashioned more for parents, alumni parents of alumni, donors, staff, and faculty with cocktails, hors d’oeuvres, and again, wonderful music from the High School band. A last minute switch from outside to in caused not one wrinkle … the gym was filled with lights and balloons and music giving it a festive feel. Attendees enjoyed hearing from the same speakers as the day program plus a few more and a welcome visit from DC Council member Mary Cheh.

“For more than four decades, our faculty has delivered a fine education in small, retrofitted, outdated spaces. It is time to honor our faculty and students with a campus that they have earned and deserved; a campus that will open more doors of possibilities for our students — your children,” said Ms. Schantz. “We have great minds at Lab and we need a campus that can truly nurture these minds.”
 

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