Upper School News

  • Athletics
Basketball Players Get Physic-al
Rachel Freeman, communications/website manager

This season, the girls basketball team is in a unique situation: half of the players are also members of the Robotics Team 4904: Bot-Provoking. Because of this, the Athletics Department created a practice schedule that supports these players in participating as members of both teams. 

“In planning our practice schedule for the girls basketball team, we not only looked at coach availability and gym space, we also looked at what made the most sense to our players so they could pursue both of their passions,” said Athletics Director Chris Wade. “It’s really important to us that our student-athletes can pursue their different passions, and feel supported and encouraged in their pursuits.”

This creative problem-solving has led to full commitment from the players and a lot of success on the court. The team is currently 4–2 in the PSAL (Private School Athletic League), good for third in the league—“the highest the team has ever been,” Chris added. 

“I think this really highlights some of the athletics program’s best features,” shared sophomore Anya P., captain of the JV basketball team. “My coaches have always been amazingly flexible with my extracurriculars. This year, with the schedule that we have, it has been even easier to do my other extracurriculars and balance basketball with them.” 

“We are part of the FIRST Robotics Competition,” noted senior Tara S, co-captain of the Robotics Team and the varsity basketball team. “Every year, we are given a game and have to build a new robot completely from scratch that addresses that given challenge.” 

This year’s challenge aligns perfectly with these dual passions of the girls basketball players. “We are building a robot that can shoot balls into a high goal off the ground,” Tara shared.

“Robotics is a key piece of our pursuit to increase women’s engagement in STEM,” said John Feland, I-Lab engineer. “When women take on leadership roles, it inspires other women to do the same.” 

Said Assistant Girls Basketball Coach Laurel Donnenwirth, “The girls have handled their schedules better than any of us could have hoped for. I have coached at quite a few high schools, none of which would entertain the idea of [students participating in] two such large activities [during the same season]. Nueva then takes it a step further and provides the backing and support to make it happen.” 

“Balancing basketball and robotics requires a lot of commitment and passion,” Tara added. “I love both so I really didn’t want to have to choose between them, and I’m glad that I can find a way to be highly involved in both.”

It’s Nueva’s culture of discovery and choice that has provided the foundation for these opportunities. “We found intentional and creative ways to support our student-athletes’ commitments, and that really is the Nueva way,” Chris said. 

Come out and cheer on our Mavericks as they compete in home games next week:

  • Tuesday, February 4 at 5:30 p.m. vs. Design Tech
  • Thursday, February 6 at 5:30 p.m. vs. Summit Shasta
  • Friday, February 7 at 5:30 p.m. vs. Pacific Bay (Senior Night)

(Photos by Joy Feng)

Read More

Acts of Kindness Connect Upper School Community

"You are a motivator, a positive force, and an inspiration to us all. Thank you for setting the bar so high and for bringing such HOPE and deep empathy to this community.”

Imagine receiving this appreciation message . . . how would you feel? Valued? Appreciated? Loved? All of the above? The special sentiments above were written during Kindness Week, a tradition that Director of Social Justice and Equity Alegria Barclay started four years ago with the help of then Kindness Club President Anna Sandell ’18.

Upper School Students Explore the Ripple Effects of Dr. King's Legacy

On the morning of Thursday, Jan. 21, Nyle Fort spoke to upper school students about Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy, what it means to be an activist, and how young people can get involved in social movements. 

The organizer, minister, and scholar helped set the tone for the rest of the day’s programming, designed to explore Dr. King’s conception of justice and introduce Nueva students to young social justice activists. 

Catching Up with . . . the Peer Consulting Team

We recently interviewed Sean Schochet, upper school Science of Mind teacher, and the peer consulting team in the high school to hear about the warmth, friendship and support this outstanding group of young people offer Nueva high school and middle school students.

Catching Up with . . . Brian Cropper

Joyful and vigorous study is at the heart of the Nueva experience. We sat down with 12th grade dean, upper school history teacher, and Nueva alumnus ’05 Brian Cropper for a conversation about the inspiration for his newest class and his role as 12th grade dean. Brian also shares how his students and colleagues inspire him every day.

The Beauty and Joy of a Giant Six-foot Compass

One of the goals Andrew Alexander has for himself when he teaches his upper-school mathematics courses is to bring joy into the classroom. To launch the geometry unit in his Math 1 class, Andrew came up with a creative way to infuse joy and wonder into the learning: he constructed a six-foot tall compass and an accompanying 12-foot long straight edge.

The Power of Student Agency

The invitation for Wednesday’s roundtable event “Divestment: The Million Dollar Question” noted, “In response to student activism, the Nueva Endowment Committee is considering the divestment of its holdings in fossil fuel companies for the first time.”

This was very exciting news for students because for at least the past four-to-five years, the student-run Nueva Divestment Team has been working to convince the Nueva Endowment Committee of the need to divest. 

Ninth Graders Work to Create the Beloved Community

What does a community look like? What does it take to build a community and what are the difficulties that might arise? These questions serve as the foundation of the new curriculum in ninth-grade Science of Mind (SOM). Developed by Director of Social Justice and Equity Alegria Barclay, the revamped curriculum focuses on Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Beloved Community. The course is very much about antiracism, Alegria said, and antiracism is woven into all aspects of the course.

Activist Kenan Moos Headlines First Event of Special Upper School Programming

A new addition to the upper school schedule this year is a block for special programming on Fridays. For the first in a series of special guest speakers, Dean of Student Life Hillary Freeman invited Black Lives Matter activist and local Bay Area native Kenan Moos to speak. In a conversation moderated by student council equity and inclusion rep Fiona T. ’22, Kenan shared not only his background and life experiences, but also how he became an activist and how Nueva students can step up to take action.