Biochem Students on Scavenger Hunt

Sophomores in Mr. Schlenker’s Biology & Chemistry 2 class could be found rooting around in the woods behind the science building last Thursday morning, conducting their annual “Ecology Scavenger Hunt.” Over the next few classes, they would make far richer—and lasting— connections between what they encountered in the woods and their subsequent assignments than if they had spent that time examining online or print images of specimens.


Rivers Students Share Summer Experiences

Rivers students are gearing up to return to campus, eager to share the various activities that have kept them busy all summer, including sports camps, summer jobs, and travel with family and friends. Others have already posted their summer adventures on Rivers’ social media channel——where they’ve chronicled Rivers-sponsored programs ranging from an internship at Amazon Robotics to making paella in Cádiz, Spain. Check out the photos and posts about Rivers’ service learning trip to Montana, Spanish language immersion program, and science and business internships, all providing students with remarkable hands-on experiences.


Students Win National Medals

Three Rivers students were recognized this month for work submitted to the National Scholastic Art and Writing Competition. Ashley Burgarella ’18 won a Gold Medal for her short story entitled “Biography of Rosemary,” Gianny Cepeda ’18 won a Silver Medal for her photograph “Youthful Determination,” and Grant Regan-Loomis ’22, won a Silver Medal for his photograph “Cobweb.” All three pieces received Gold Keys in the Boston Globe Scholastic competition in January.

Service Learning in Montana

In June, a small group of Upper School students and teachers Tori Wilbur and Yoshi Fujita will head to Montana to volunteer at a Cheyenne reservation. They will spend some time at the nearby Boys & Girls Club teaching the kids how to program robots made from Legos, so they’ve been busy practicing building and programming at Rivers. They’ll also have time to do some sightseeing in Yellowstone National Park, try whitewater rafting, and immerse themselves in the culture of the reservation and the community.

Student Wins Writing Award

Rivers student, Bethany Pasko ’19, received the Will McDonough Writing Contest award through the Boston Globe in March. Bethany’s essay, entitled “Abdication of Accountability—The NCAA’s Sportsmanship Transgressions,” won first place in the 11th-12th grade category, and was inspired by her research into current events related to NCAA oversight of collegiate athletics. The writing contest was open to students from grades 4 through 12 and garnered over 900 submissions.

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Hands-on Look at Medicine

Thirteen Rivers freshmen and sophomores had a unique opportunity during spring break to experience the world of medicine up-close and personal. They attended a three-day STEM mini-course offered by Harvard Medical School’s MEDscience program. During the program, they were presented with a series of “patients” whose symptoms they had to diagnose and treat as a medical “team.” They practiced their skills on STAN, the same simulator used by Harvard medical professionals and students as well as Rivers’ Anatomy and Physiology students during their own MEDscience program each spring.

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Model UN Honors

The Model UN Club traveled to the University of Connecticut in November for the annual UConn Model UN Conference where Alex Klein ’18 and Maddie Cornetta ’19 each won Best Delegate awards and Thando Khumalo ’19 received a Most Improved Delegate award. Prior to the conference, students were assigned countries to represent on committees that are based on real-word scenarios or historical situations. The committees were designed to be cooperative and focus on finding solutions to issues like a refugee crisis as opposed to ones where countries would be pitted against each other.

Rivers’ Bioethics Program

Rivers’ Bioethics Program gives students an opportunity to delve into a bioethics topics under the guidance of ISD teacher Dr. Julian Willard and mentors from Harvard’s Center for Bioethics. Aliza Bloostein ’17 and Michelle Ryder ’17 were the inaugural members of the program and their research papers focused on gene editing and patient non-compliance.

Have a look at these impressive papers

Summer in Spain Program

Rivers’ Summer in Spain program is an opportunity for students to immerse themselves in the language and life of Spain by living in Cádiz with Spanish families and studying both in and outside of the traditional classroom setting. Students attend classes each morning taught by native Spanish-speaking teachers, and travel to sites in and around Cádiz, exploring the region’s history, religion, architecture, and art, and its influence on present day culture and life.

Science Internships

For the past decade, Rivers has placed rising seniors in internships at local medical and research institutions. This summer’s experiences range from shadowing a clinical endocrinologist to working in Brigham and Women’s Hospital Surgical Robotics Lab. New this year was the addition of Amazon Robotics to the roster of sponsors. “I spent a lot of my time testing robotic arms,” said Charlie Leslie’18. “I learned so much from this experience, from basic coding to what it is like to work in a business environment.”


Whaling Museum Visit

“Each fall we take advantage of the fact that the whaling industry was based here in New England, and take our students to the New Bedford Whaling Museum, which has such informative exhibits,” said Grade 6 teacher Ari Kaplan. “Later in the year the students will write sea shanties and create captain’s logs in which they must design a route for a sea exploration voyage and defend their choices based on their studies of wind and currents.”



Students in the Upper School’s Human Anatomy and Physiology course travel weekly to Harvard Medical School for hands-on lessons in Harvard’s simulation center, using STAN, the simulation mannequin that doctors, nurses, and medical students use during their own training. “The simulation activities are geared toward encouraging the students to work as a team to try to diagnose and treat the ‘patient,’ who is exhibiting symptoms in the system they are studying each week,” said science teacher Dr. Jeff Meropol. “This allows them to practice critical-thinking and problem-solving skills.”