At Nueva, gifted learners are encouraged to learn by doing and learn by caring, and to explore their passions inside and outside the classroom. It is this empathic spirit that has inspired students to take action to help make their communities and the world a better place. Congratulations to all of Nueva’s problem solvers, changemakers, animal-lovers, and community helpers! Thank you for all you are doing to improve the lives and futures of those around you, near and far. Here we celebrate a few notable students who are making a difference:
Eleventh Grader Calista H. Wins Project: Change Scholarship to Ghana
Nueva eleventh grader Calista H. was awarded the Grand Prize of AFS Project: Change 2019, and received a scholarship to go to Ghana and work on social problems affecting human rights and sustainability. Calista’s grand prize–winning project proposal aims to ensure access to clean water and proper waste disposal in Ghana.
According to the American Field Service (AFS), “Project: Change encourages youth to imagine and build a more sustainable world, one community at a time. Because that’s what changemakers do. They use their compassion to understand the challenges others face, and help create new ways to face those challenges, together. They empower everyone to be a changemaker.”
Tenth Grader Noah V. Uses High Fashion to Fight Arthritis
This weekend, Nueva tenth grader Noah V. will serve as the youth honoree at the Arthritis Foundation’s 16th Annual Fashion Fights Arthritis event. Noah is one of about 300,000 children in the U.S. living with Juvenile Arthritis (JA), an often-painful disease that particularly affects the joints. First diagnosed with JA at age 7, Noah started attending the Arthritis Foundation’s free camp in Livermore for children with JA when he was nine, and has participated in AF’s Teen Retreat since he was fourteen. These programs provide a supportive community of and for kids with JA, and Noah has enjoyed the camaraderie of other kids without having to explain the disease to everyone.
Noah started his own fundraising campaign to help ensure that other children with JA will have access to the same programs and support that he has found so helpful. In addition to providing programs and services for children and families with JA and for adults with arthritis and other rheumatic diseases, the Arthritis Foundation is the leading nonprofit funder of research into this yet-incurable set of diseases that affect more than 50 million people in the US.
Ninth Grader Jack A. Wins Prestigious National Award for Health Advancement
This year, Nueva ninth grader Jack A. received the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Award for Health Advancement in the National Broadcom MASTERS Competition for his project Predicting the Future: Using Machine Learning to Forecast the Progression of Alzheimer's Disease, which stemmed from his Middle School Recital Project. This prestigious award recognizes a student whose work shows the most promise in health-related fields.
Jack was inspired to develop this machine learning tool following the diagnosis of his grandmother's Alzheimer's disease last year, and his tool predicts the onset of mild and severe impacts from Alzheimer's in cognitive abilities. Learn more about his project here.
Tenth Grader Lauren W. Wins CA-14 Congressional App Challenge, Awarded by Congresswoman Jackie Speier
Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-14) announced this year that Lauren W. is the winner of the annual California 14th Congressional District App Challenge. Lauren created DoNation, an app that helps nonprofit organizations list donations needed for areas devastated by wildfire to make it easier for donors to give to people in need.
"I created DoNation after the 2017 North Bay Wildfires," Lauren said. "Many wanted to donate but didn't know which items were needed. Charities had needs but couldn't instantly update or communicate their requests. By making it easy for charities to post requests, and for donors to see listings, and even search a map, DoNation seeks to be a mobile connection point for donations and help build a nation of giving."
Rep. Speier said she was impressed by Lauren's desire to help others, and even further impressed when she used the app. "Reading Lauren's description of DoNation made it obvious that she carries the public service gene," she said. "Her maturity at age 15 to recognize the need to help fire victims and then to have the technical know-how to turn that desire into an application is truly remarkable. Lauren is the ideal winner of this congressional competition."
The Congressional App Challenge is designed to engage students' creativity and encourage participation in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). It was authorized by House Resolution 77 to not only inspire more students to learn to code, but to engage members of Congress in developing and promoting science and technology and to reach every corner of our country.
Seventh Grader Aaron H. Wins Honorable Mention for Ambassadors of Compassion Short Story Contest
Nueva seventh grader Aaron H. was recently awarded an Honorable Mention by the Palo Alto Humane Society (PAHS) for the Ambassadors of Compassion story-writing competition for middle school students. The PAHS challenged students from the Bay Area to create an original fiction or nonfiction short story on the theme of compassion, specifically on how animals and humans can help each other in physical and or emotional ways.
The writing competition is part of PAHS’s recognized humane education programs. Inspiration for the writing contest came from the question, “How can a small, everyday action of kindness turn into something much bigger and in what ways can animals improve our days, our lives?” Aaron’s beautiful story, “Neverending” is about the legacy left behind by a dog named Mocha.
Nueva Future Problem Solvers Recognized in Competition
In April, the Upper School hosted the California State Future Problem Solvers Competition, where over 200 students from 21 different schools across California participated, including 26 Nueva students. Nine Nueva students took home awards at various levels for using critical and creative thinking to solve problems and global issues.
Eighth grader David F., in his first year of Futures participation, placed sixth in the middle division of the individual competition. Ninth grader Andrew C. took home first place in the same division, and was invited to compete in the International FPS Conference in June. In the junior division team competition, fifth graders Nate B. and Colin C. and sixth-grader Howard L., all in their first year of Futures participation, received second place and an invitation to the international conference.
Additionally, eighth graders Anoushka K., Lucie L., Abi W. (pictured top) and Riyana S. received third place in both middle division team competitions. Finally, ninth grader Jack T. received a second-place award for working on a team with students from other California schools that he met on the day of the competition.
The Future Problem Solving Program International is a dynamic program involving thousands of students annually from around the world. Developed in 1974 by creativity pioneer Dr. E. Paul Torrance, Future Problem Solving provides competitive and noncompetitive components for today’s curriculum via a six-step model that teaches critical and creative thinking, problem solving, and decision making.