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Mavericks Making Waves: January 2021
Rachel Freeman, communications/website manager

Students Shine in Prestigious Math Competition
Congratulations to all of Nueva’s deserving young mathletes who participated in the prestigious AMC 8 Math Competition!

The test, offered by the Mathematical Association of America (MAA), is the younger sibling of the AMC 10 and 12, which function as the opening qualifying steps for participation on the United States team that competes at the International Mathematics Olympiad. Interested middle (and some lower) school students logged on to take the first-ever online version of this test at a time of their choosing during a designated week in mid-November. Designed to challenge even the brightest of eighth graders, the AMC 8 is a demanding test of mathematical knowledge, cleverness, speed, and endurance. 

“Nueva believes that there are many ways to be good at math, and skill at math competitions is one of these many ways,” said Steven Chanan, middle school math teacher. “Everyone who participated in this year’s especially tricky contest deserves praise for their bravery and fine performance.” 

Many young Nueva mathletes distinguished themselves and earned awards: FanFan J. (8) earned a Gold award for finishing first in the school, Howard L. (8) and Colin C. (7) earned Silver awards for finishing second, and Anika G. (7), Ryan A. (7), and Camille C. (6) earned Bronze awards for finishing third. 

FanFan, Howard, and Colin also earned Honor Roll of Distinction awards for finishing in the top 1 percent nationally. Anika, Ryan, and Camille, along with Jackson O. (8), Nate B. (7), Daniel K. (6), and Pablo Z. (6) earned Honor Roll Certificate awards for finishing in the top 5 percent nationally. 

Finally, sixth-graders Camille, Daniel, Pablo, Darmook K., Analise C., Hubert C., Kaiyan N., and Miriam H., fifth-graders Shen H., Davina R., and Aiden Y., and fourth-graders Atticus L. and Brandon N. earned Certificate of Achievement awards for scoring 15 or above as sixth graders or below. Congratulations to all the participants!

Music Videos by Nueva Science Teacher and Nueva Science Rap Academy Students Makes Forbes List
Nueva made this Forbes list of the 10 best science parody music videos from the past 10 years! 

Tom McFadden, eighth-grade science teacher, has a knack for combining science education and rap music. Having loved science and hip hop since he was a child, Tom even wrote his thesis for his master’s in science communication on music in the classroom. 

So, when he joined the Nueva faculty in 2013, he began Science Rap Academy, an elective that combines student culture and creativity with high-level science concepts (Here is his students’ first video!). Now, both he and a group of his students are being recognized by Forbes for their creativity.

Tom—formerly known as ‘the Rhymebosome’—was individually recognized for his video, “Mitosis Bling,” a parody of Drake’s “Hotline Bling.” A group of his students were recognized for their parody video of “My Shot” from the musical Hamilton by Lin-Manuel Miranda.

In 2017, these eighth-grade students created the video from conception through production by researching, writing, singing, filming, and editing. This parody about vaccines always surfaces around flu season each year, and it became very topical in 2020 because of news of the COVID-19 coronavirus vaccines, earning it a spot on the Forbes list of “geeky yet goofy” videos.

“It's great to see the "My Shot (Vaccine Version)" video get its due, since it is one of the best ever,” said Tom, who has loved science and hip hop since he was a middle school student. “Since I've been making YouTube science videos for a long time now, I know most of the other people on the list, so it's fun to get celebrated alongside my friends.”

The music video, which stars Lucy B. ’21 as a patient learning about vaccines, mentions herd immunity and explains why vaccination is vital for those with immunodeficiency. 

“Creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking are the foundation for every Nueva class, including this one,” Tom said. “But by blending together so many different skill sets—science research, lyric writing, vocal performance, cinematography, video editing—the goal is really to have every student get a chance to shine and show off their talents, whether it is in front of or behind the camera!”

Here is a full playlist of the student videos. Enjoy!

Eighth-grader FanFan J. Earns Second Place in Renowned International Music Competition
Eighth-grader FanFan J. was recently selected as the second place winner for his age group in the international music competition, “Grand Prize Virtuoso.” 

To be selected, FanFan submitted two unedited video recordings in which he sang two pieces: a German piece titled, “Aus meinen Tränen sprießen,” and an Italian piece titled, “Ombra mai fu.” 

As a selected winner, FanFan received an invitation to perform in the Winners Concert at the Beethoven House in Germany, and while COVID-19 has halted the performance until summer 2021, he is excited to participate when it is safe. 

“This is the first time I have earned an international music competition award in Europe,” FanFan said. “I am very excited about visiting Beethoven’s hometown and performing in Beethoven’s house this summer.” 

Even in Rebuilding Year, Public Forum Debate Team Has Several Successes
Debate coach Les Phillips has called this year “a rebuilding one” for the Nueva Public Forum Debate Team. But don’t tell that to students on the team, because they have seen several notable successes thus far at both the varsity and novice levels. 

The public forum debaters compete in debate around the country—albeit virtually this year. In public forum, debaters debate specific topics for one- and two-month periods. Topics this year have included NSA surveillance and No First Use nuclear policy. 

At the Kentucky and Apple Valley tournaments in fall 2020, juniors Elena R. and Nikki A. reached the elimination rounds, finishing in the top 10 percent in the nation. At a tournament hosted by Yale, senior Kevin W. and junior Humza R. reached the elimination round, as well, finishing 17th in a field of nearly 300 teams from around the world. And two novice teams of ninth-graders Olivia C. and Christine Z. and seventh-graders Jordan G. and Katja G. went undefeated at their very first novice tournament. 

“Jordan and Katja have continued their nationwide reign of terror of this year, taking second place in the junior division at the University of Houston tournament,” Les said. “The entire public forum team is now preparing for the critical late January/early February series of very competitive tournaments run by Emory, Stanford, and UC Berkeley. We are also looking forward to competing in the National Tournament of Champions in late April, a tournament Nueva won in 2017!” 

Communications Team Wins International Marketing Award 
Earlier this month, the Nueva Communications Team won a 2020 Bronze InspirED School Marketers Brilliance Award for its special event, “Anti-racist Communications Strategy Session.” This competition is the only international one that recognizes excellence in private and independent school marketing and communications exclusively. 

The entries were judged by a panel of 69 marketing experts from around the world, and entries were scored on creativity, persuasiveness, design, copy, photography, and overall appeal. 

“Schools are at their best when they look beyond themselves and their students,” one judge wrote. “It was encouraging to see the Nueva School take on this important topic, and do it so well.”

“We wanted to provide a forum for communications professionals to brainstorm in a safe place how to navigate these uncharted waters,” said Nueva Director of Communications Antonia Ehlers. “Communication to our school community is so important—now more than ever—and it was wonderful to meet other communications professionals who are facing similar challenges due to our nation’s political landscape and the COVID pandemic. Our commitment to building a Beloved Community is unwavering, and I am so proud of our Communications Team—Rachel, LiAnn, and Mitzi—for making this event happen. We hope to offer another one again soon.”

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Six illustrations of people: writing on chalkboard, reviewing data, listening, locking arms, and lifting each other up stairs

Did you miss last week's Beloved Community meeting? We invite you to listen to the stories we shared (featuring artwork by Anisha K. '22!) and to learn more about the many ways we are trying to make systemic and cultural change at Nueva.

Mavericks Making Waves: May 2021

Mavericks Making Waves is our latest roundup of exceptional student and faculty accomplishments and activities happening beyond Nueva's walls.

Teachers Infuse Nueva Core Values into Virtual Travel Week

From cooking classes to guest speakers and art projects to field trips, Nueva Travel Week has offered students a variety of experiences designed to immerse them in places or themes close to home and around the globe. While the majority of travel week experiences this year have taken place virtually, one thing is certain: all of the trips have been infused with the core pillars of the Nueva experience, namely social justice, social-emotional learning (SEL), and design thinking. 

2021 Trips Week Deans’ Roundtable

Next week, Nueva middle and upper school students will be transported around the world via Zoom, as they meet with an array of experts to explore museums, cuisine, history, and current events. We “sat down” with a few of grade-level deans for a roundtable discussion about their hopes for trips week and the programs they are most looking forward to. We also learn about the intentionality behind planning the week's itineraries to ensure we preserve the values of this important part of the Nueva experience.

Nueva Student-Athletes Return to Action After Yearlong Hiatus

Nueva Athletics has been able to bring back a number of offerings this spring, as the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) provided guidance to schools across the state. We sat down with Nueva Athletics Director Chris Wade to learn more about what this means for our student-athletes.

The Music Never Stopped: Middle and Upper School Students Keep the Beat Over the Past Year

On March 15, a group of socially-distanced students sitting in hula hoops gathered on the upper school lawn to watch the first live music performance at Nueva since March of 2020. While campus might have been quiet over the past year, the music never stopped playing—thanks to the adaptability and flexibility of our students and music teachers, Jason Muscat and Jim Munzenrider.

Nueva Students Celebrate Earth Month

Last week, Nueva was recognized by the United States Department of Education as a California Green Ribbon School. Director of Environmental Citizenship Sarah Koning noted that Nueva students have been working hard on environmental issues all month.