Mavericks Making Waves is our latest roundup of exceptional student and faculty accomplishments and activities happening beyond Nueva's walls.
Seventh-grader Kayla L. Named CEC Festival Winner
This past weekend, seventh-grader Kayla L. was awarded Overall Best in Festival of the Citizens Environmental Council (CEC) Student Film Fest for her video, “We Have a Climate Crisis – Who’s to Blame?” The CEC film competition invites students in grades 4 through 12 who live or attend school in San Mateo County to create videos focused on topics of environmentalism.
“I care so much about this topic, and creating this video felt like an extension of my learning from Nueva,” Kayla said. “I've always been interested in film, although it's a relatively new medium for me. Creating this video was a fun challenge. The intention was never focused on winning—more so spreading an important message. Nevertheless, I'm so grateful for the platform I've been given by winning. Many people have even reached out to me, telling me about the changes they plan to make to their daily lives! I'm now even more inspired to push for change—and in new ways, too.”
In addition to winning a small cash prize, Kayla has earned a guest spot on the podcast, “Earth to Humans,” and a complimentary pass to the Women in Film event.
Nueva Students Earn Honors in Scholastic Art & Writing Awards
As part of their writing courses, students are invited to submit their work to external competitions. The Scholastic Art & Writing Awards, sponsored by Writopia Lab, is one such competition. Seven Nueva students, six upper school students—Sian B. ’21, Anouschka B. ’22, Molly C. ’22, Stephanie L. ’23, Abby P. ’21, and Sophie T. ’22—and one middle school student—seventh-grader Colin C.—received recognition for 19 pieces of work in the Bay Area Region: 12 Honorable Mentions for promising works, five Silver Keys for distinguished works, and two Gold Keys for the most accomplished works. A total of 2,500 submitted pieces of work were submitted and reviewed by the panel of professional novelists, editors, teachers, poets, librarians, journalists, and other literary professionals.
“Over time, students feel more confident taking creative risks when they learn from reading diverse and established authors and texts, as well as through experimentation,” said English teacher Amber Carpenter, who served as faculty mentor for four of the students who earned recognition. “To see students draw recognition for their writing achievements is awesome.”
Seventh-grader Colin C. Wins Top 300 Broadcom MASTERS
Seventh-grader Colin C. was selected as a Top 300 Broadcom MASTERS (math, applied science, technology, and engineering for rising stars) for his independent science fair project, “How Does an Antlion Sandtrap Pit Capture Its Prey?” The project combined math, physics, and biology. Broadcast MASTERS is one of the top middle school science and engineering fair competitions in the United States, and the Top 300 are selected by a panel of scientists, engineers, and educators from around the country.
“I started working on this project at the beginning of remote learning,” Colin said. “Ever since I saw an antlion trap an ant during one of our trips, I had been wondering how something so small (and blind!) could capture prey 10 times its size that can walk vertically up a wall but can't escape such a trap.”
So, Colin used this curiosity as the basis for his project, in which he discovered that the antlion digs a trap that triggers an avalanche.
Colin added, “It was really fun to be named a Broadcom MASTERS Top 300 and see all the other cool projects other middle school students did. And a judge commented on my project how refreshing it was to see a hands-on physics project linked to a basic biology question.”
Nueva Students Place in “F=MA” Physics Exam
In February, 21 Nueva students took part in the F=MA exam, a national standardized physics test that serves as the gateway to the US Physics Olympiad Team (USAPhO) and sponsored by the American Association of Physics Teachers. This exam, in which students volunteer to participate, is a very challenging free-response, calculus-based exam covering all topics in introductory physics: mechanics, electricity and magnetism, thermodynamics, fluids, relativity, waves, and nuclear and atomic physics. Two students, junior Maya A. and eighth-grader FanFan J. placed in the top 350 and will move on to the next-level exam, USAPhO, which will be administered on two days in April.
“Being invited to take the next-level exam is a significant honor,” said Mark Hurwitz, upper school physics teacher. “The students who volunteer to take F=MA are generally the best in their schools, so to finish in the top 350 nationally is really a feather in the student’s cap. Many of these are seniors in their respective schools, so the fact that Nueva's qualifiers are an 11th-grader and an eighth-grader marks them as precocious as well as hard-working and skilled.”
Congratulations to Maya and FanFan, as well as all of the other test-takers at Nueva, who volunteered to take a challenging physics test in their free time.
Sixth-Grader Camille C. Wins National Code/Art Contest
Each year, Code/Art, a nonprofit dedicated to increasing the number of girls studying computer science, hosts the National Coded Self-Portrait Contest, centered around a particular theme. Inspired by this year’s theme, #CodeYourCity, sixth-grader Camille C. coded a self-portrait, choosing to portray her values and her environment in the portrait. Part of the requirements for entry was that Camille’s self-portrait be generated using a computer program she coded herself. Her hard work paid off, as Camille was awarded the first place prize in this national contest.
“I had a lot of fun coding our unique Bay Area—including our gorgeous mountains, water, and, of course, the Golden Gate Bridge—as well as my social justice values—supporting BLM and LGBTQ+ communities,” Camille said. “Most important, I shared the need to stay safe and healthy. Thank you to my computer science teacher, Angi Chau, for all of her mentorship!”
Art Teacher Reenie Charriere Featured in “Think Outside the Walls” Art Exhibition
Reenie Charriere, who helms the art program in first- through sixth-grades, was recently announced the latest artist in open i art space’s “Think Outside the Walls” series. The gallery, open i art space, is a space that allows artists to submit a wide variety of media, from contemporary painting, digital art, and sculpture to photography and video. Reenie’s work and background aligned perfectly with this latest series, as it focuses on artists who have second jobs in addition to their work as artists.
“Everyday situations stir Reenie Charrière’s investigations of what lingers in the environment,” the site says of Reenie’s work. “Her practice involves collecting and transforming everyday materials, especially throwaways. As a mixed media artist Reenie playfully pushes materials in unexpected arrangements bringing a surprising beauty to what may be discarded. Her artwork also reveals and questions the abundance of waste in our consumer-dependent society.”
“It’s an honor to be featured in this exhibition,” Reenie said. “To me, having these virtual galleries means that people are able to continue to connect to the art world even while it’s not safe to visit galleries in person.”
The exhibition is currently entirely virtual and can be seen by visiting the exhibition website.
Students Present Oceanography Research at STEMxYouth Summit
Inspired by the “Weather in a Tank” project at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, students who have participated in the Nueva-Stanford Earth Science Collaboration program have been working to create oceanography teaching tools that are more accessible to high school students across the country. The team of students—sophomores Lucie L., Thomas R., William F., Abi W., Albert H., and Livi P., and freshmen Celine H., Lauren S., and Adam K.—created a cost-effective fluid dynamics turntable, complete with a 3D rendering of the prototype. They are currently developing an accompanying guide on how to build the model. In March, team members Lucie and Celine had an opportunity to present their research and project at the fourth annual STEMxYouth Summit, hosted by Marymount School of New York.
“The summit was great,” said Al Davies, who has served as faculty mentor since the beginning of the Nueva-Stanford collaboration. “It gave the students a schedule and goal, and they received great feedback, which will drive them forward.”