Mavericks Making Waves is our latest roundup of exceptional student and faculty accomplishments and activities happening beyond Nueva's walls.
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Nueva Equestrians Excel at AVA National Championships
Three Nueva students, sixth grader Lauren J., eighth grader Emi Y., and ninth grader Mariana M. recently competed at the American Vaulting Association National Championships in Durango, Colorado. The annual event hosted qualifying equestrian vaulters from many different levels, from novice to international levels. The trio of Nueva equestrians had some impressive results with Lauren placing eighth in her division, Mariana placing fourth in her division, and Emi winning the national championship in the bronze category.
“Competition is always fun for me, and generally the whole experience is what makes it special,” Emi shared. “Some highlights include meeting new people, as well as seeing familiar faces from all around the country, getting to watch high level vaulting, and being with friends while doing each other’s hair and makeup”
For Emi, the spirit of friendship, teamwork, and community—pillars of the Nueva experience— were at the core her reflection on the event.
“Of course, winning the national title is incredible, but the support is outstanding when it comes to family and friends. The moment when you run into the arena when everyone is clapping for you is incredible. And getting to share that experience with your teammates and horse makes it 100 times more special.”
Senior Yash N. Named One of Five Finalist for International Children’s Climate Prize
Senior Yash N. was recently named one of five finalists for the international Children’s Climate Prize. Awarded annually to a young person between the ages 12 to 17 who are taking action to bring sustainable solutions to help curb climate change, this prize was originally started at the UN Climate Change Conference in 2016, and the winner receives SEK100,000 (approximately $11,000 USD) to continue to develop their project.
Yash was recognized for his work on a project he began in the ninth grade: a mobile app called Deep Waste, which applies artificial intelligence to provide accurate and instantaneous waste classification.
“A huge environmental problem is inaccurate waste disposal due to human confusion,” Yash explained, “which contributes to nearly as much to climate change as all the cars on U.S. roads. DeepWaste originated as my ninth grade Quest project and over the three years since has turned into a full body of work with a research publication, app on the App Store, several awards, and I am now commercializing the research through real-world pilots at Nueva and Williams College this fall.”
The selection committee shared its excitement about Yash’s project in last week’s press release announcing the finalists: “DeepWaste is an impressive project, self-teaching, accessible, scalable, and the development potential is enormous. Yash and DeepWaste are right on time and contribute to increased awareness and knowledge.”
The winner will be announced at a ceremony in Sweden on November 8.
Sixth-grader Eli W.’s Short Story Named Winner in Stone Soup Contest
“I should’ve smelled the smoke.”
This line comes from sixth-grader Eli W.’s short story, “Phoenix,” which was selected as one of the winners of literary magazine Stone Soup’s September flash fiction competition.
Founded in 1973, Stone Soup is the leading national magazine and website that is written and illustrated entirely by students through age 13. The publication runs monthly “flash” contests, inviting young writers to submit work in response to a specific prompt. This month’s prompt challenged writers to craft a story about themselves with one small twist: the story had to take place inside a parallel universe where they led a different life.
Eli was inspired to write “Phoenix” after participating in a recent fire drill in the middle school.
“I had been considering the prompt for September, as I did not have an idea of what to write yet,” Eli said. “However, when the fire drill started, the whole plot just popped right into my head, so as soon as I had time, I just wrote the whole thing in like 30 minutes!”
Eli decided to start writing for flash competitions because she wanted to practice writing with concision.
“I really like writing off a prompt as well, because it lets me experience, experiment with, and practice many different types of writing,” Eli said. “I want to try to submit every month, or as often as possible so I can build that muscle. Sometimes it's challenging to write with fewer details, as I love to add details about things like settings and clothing.”
Eli added, “To me, writing is a way of touching other people, especially during Covid. I feel like it's a way to make people aware of issues in a beautiful way. The two flash fictions I wrote were more tragic, focusing on topics like fires and guilt. I feel like it's easier for people to understand, become passionate about, and listen to things that are presented in an interesting, creative, and pleasing way. Writing is a device that you can use to sway people. It's really powerful if used in the right way, and I know that it's a skill that's worth it to practice.”
Senior Adrienne P. Represents Nueva at American Legion Auxiliary California Girls State
Community service, civic engagement, and strong academic standards are what stood out to the American Legion Auxiliary Unit 105 about Adrienne P. ’22. It was these qualities, along with multiple essays and an interview, that impressed the Unit 105 members, and Adrienne was selected to represent not only the unit but also Nueva at the 2021 California Girls State.
The program is a one-week intensive meant to teach high school-aged young women the ideals and principles of American government. During the program, delegates model the California government, electing congresswomen, senators, and mayors, developing and voting on propositions; and even writing a bill in a personal area of interest.
“Girls State was truly a life-changing experience for me,” said Adrienne, who joined the virtual program along with more than 400 young women selected from across the state. “Not only did I learn an immense amount about civic engagement and our core governmental processes, but I also had the unique opportunity of connecting with girls from very different backgrounds and interests, who all shared the same commitment to serve and our communities.”
Following CA Girls State, Adrienne—along with two other young women who represented their high schools in Unit 105’s district—met with Unit 105 members to share the civic lessons she learned, her legislative projects, and the impact of networking with other accomplished young ladies.