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Last week Nueva welcomed many alumni back to campus. Through a social mixer, an Admissions event, and an assembly on the Hillsborough campus, the energy they brought was palpable as they shared new experiences and reflected on their Nueva education.

 

Class of 2017 Alumni Reunion

On Wednesday, January 3, Nueva’s Writing and Resource Center at Bay Meadows was aglow with the embraces of friends and the warmth of the New Year as more than 30 members of the inaugural upper school graduating class shared in a reception. It was a delightful evening of sharing, reminiscing, and reconnecting with one another, and with current Nueva students, faculty, and parents.

Alumni Event“It was awesome reconnecting with everyone after we scattered ourselves across the world,’ said Jeremy T., currently taking a gap year and working as Engineer-in-Training at Kitty Hawk, a start-up of Google co-founder Larry Page. “Hearing friends' experiences and learning about all the diverse environments being explored was totally exciting.” Jeremy plans to attend Worcester Polytechnic Institute in August 2018 and hopes to stay connected to his classmates. “I look forward to continuing our conversations as we continue to traverse physical and intellectual landscapes.”

Stephen Dunn, Nueva’s Upper School Division Head, welcomed the students with a brief address: “We’re thrilled to have you back, and excited to hear all what you’re doing.” Many faculty members attended, enjoying the opportunity to spend time with their former students. Taryn Grogan, Nueva’s Director of Admissions, reminded students to stay in touch. “We love seeing you back at Nueva and want to hear from you frequently,” Taryn told them. Stephen introduced and thanked Nueva’s Assistant Director of Advancement, Magda Lara, the host of the evening. Magda will be instrumental as Nueva’s alumni program continues to grow.
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Some couldn’t get enough of Nueva during these early January days. Briana D., a freshman at Brown University, joined current students in several of their Intersession classes, enjoying the opportunity to sink into learning at Nueva one more time. “Coming back to visit Nueva both during Intersession and for the alumni reunion felt like I had truly come home. I was so excited to see all the friends, teachers, and faculty that have been, and continue to be, so important to my emotional and academic well-being. I will definitely be on campus as much as I can during my winter break!”

Stephen reflected on the evening with alumni. “It has been so rewarding to hear about their first semester after Nueva. They shared wonderful experiences, whether at college or taking a gap year. They are enjoying well-deserved success in their next steps and clearly have the interpersonal resources and confidence to tackle any of the challenges they have faced or will face.”

 

Nueva Over Time: Alumni Share the Value of a Nueva Education

On Thursday, January 4, Nueva’s Admissions team hosted the annual “Nueva Over Time” with alumni, alumni parents, and current upper school students sharing their Nueva education with prospective families, illustrating how Nueva shaped them.

FS AlumniAdmissEvent Swetha 300pxThe Admissions team facilitated an exciting program for over 100 attendees, putting each of them to work thinking, listening, interpreting, and creating throughout the evening.

Beginning in a reflective mode, attendees got acquainted by sharing their personal educational experiences. From this starting place, Nueva alumni, alumni parents, and current students were asked:

How has your Nueva experience
   • developed your academic potential?
   • shaped you socially?
   • fostered your emotional development?

The speakers tackled these critical questions, expressing how Nueva prepared them for life after graduation and how they’ve adapted to new environments and new communities. Prospective families received unfiltered views of the Nueva experience, and after each question one participant from each table shared the learnings with the larger assembled group.

The groups reported that, academically, Nueva students felt self-directed in their learning and interdisciplinary in their thinking. They emphasized that because of the many opportunities they had at Nueva to design their own studies and projects, they do not hesitate to tackle new subjects and to dive deeply into subjects that pique their curiosity. They consistently describe their world view as interconnecting disciplines, fondly remembering classes and projects at Nueva that developed this perspective. Many said they will be pursuing majors that weave together their multiple passions, and perhaps even designing their own majors.

Students said they were well prepared for their classes, especially for the writing demands of college. Some talked about the challenges of adjusting to bigger numbers of students in classes, navigating large lectures, and dealing with grades, all of which they felt prepared for.

FS AlumniAdmissEvent Ari 300pxNueva faculty frequently emerged as a significant element of these students’ experiences. Students recounted feeling heard throughout their time at Nueva, knowing that their ideas truly mattered. With relationships built upon mutual respect, many students said it was very important to them to stay in touch with Nueva teachers, genuinely connecting over mutual interests. Socially, students told stories illustrating Nueva's culture of inclusion, and the lack of competitive atmosphere that enables Nueva students to support one another with genuine affection and compassion. With social-emotional learning a founding principle of Nueva’s 50+ years, students said they developed a keen sense of who they are in the world and know how to effectively connect and collaborate with one another.

One student, Ari N., a current Nueva senior, told the story of his first recess in the forts at Nueva when he joined in fourth grade. “I met one of my best friends to this day that first morning,” Ari said. “I was observing the great new fort they were building, and in less than 10 minutes, they had invited me to join in!”

Now in his ninth year at Nueva, Ari added “We are encouraged from a young age to be connected to our inner selves.  This understanding allows us to share authentically, to genuinely support friends no matter what they’re going through, and to be excited for the successes of all students. We know we’re all in this together.”

Nueva Alumna Kira S. Brings A Cappella to Friday Assembly

FS AlumniEvents KiraS. 500pxOn Friday afternoon, January 5, a Yale University a cappella group, Mixed Company, featuring Nueva alumna Kira S. (’12), performed for the entire Hillsborough community during the weekly assembly. Prior to the event, Kira said she was “beyond excited to share this new group and our music with the Nueva community!” The group, led by musical director, Sofia Campoamor, has been part of Yale’s musical community since 1981. Over the years, the group has toured all over the world, performing for the likes of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. In 2012, the group appeared on national television in China, drawing an audience of millions.

Nueva's students and teachers thoroughly enjoyed the set, which included popular songs from many genres and decades of popular music. The performance provided an excellent and energetic exclamation point to the first week back from winter break. 

 


January 10, 2018

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