Fall 2016 Issue
Battle of STEM vs AMAT:
Join us for the Chili's Battle against AMAT from October 31st- November 4th. Help us raise money and take down AMAT! Booster Club will receive 15% of the sales if you show the flyer below.
Freshman Camp Inspires Once Again in 2016
By: James Davis
Annually, the STEM Academy hosts Freshman Camp, a day which lets the incoming freshman get a taste of STEM before school starts and get their minds in gear for the hard work coming up. This year’s Freshman Camp has once again inspired students and prepared them for the new Project Lead the Way curriculum.
The incoming freshmen began by coming into the lecture hall, where STEM academy facilitator Casey Helmick told them what to expect. The students were also given helpful tips from the graduated seniors, such as Leila Aghili, along with current seniors on what to expect from STEM and how to get motivated. The students had to complete team building exercises and did a fantastic job. According to Kim Garrett, the Project Lead the Way teacher, “They were always trying to come up with innovative solutions and trying, even though they may have not always worked.”
This was an excellent opportunity for the teachers to get to know their students before the year started, so everyone can get to work as quickly as possible. The teachers and students were very optimistic. Ms. Garrett said the teachers would "get in there and work with them on the projects and activities so we can know them when they come into class, and it’s not the first time that we’ve seen them.” The outlook seems like it’s mostly positive for the freshmen, and they’re all now prepared for a new year to begin!
By: Daniel Bin-Mitende
STEM is all about education and takes a lot of work. Having to worry about education and extracurricular activities at the same time can be tough but there's a certain STEM student who overcomes this obstacle. Being an athlete is a privilege and for a person to excel at what they do while keeping up with school work is astonishing. David Wilson has been acknowledged by his teachers and coaches and meets all the criteria to be an athlete.
The Athlete Spotlight goes to David Wilson, a STEM student who plays football for Northwest. David stated that he “always focuses on the game and blocks all the excessive noise outside the field." He tries his "best to give the team the best shot at a W.” He focuses on one play at a time and doesn’t think ahead. He will do anything he can do accomplish his goal. David represents STEM in a brilliant way and will continue to do so both on and off the field. When asked about how he keeps up with school, David responded with “I always put school before sports,” and that he can have a “second option if football doesn't work out.”
Coach Poe also had a say in how David excels in football. When asked how he chooses his athlete of the month, Coach Poe states that "I always try to pick the athlete who brings the team to life and David does that huge success. It’s not all about making plays but it’s always about enthusiasm and being tough on the field. Coach sees everything he stated in David.
Coach Morgan was an All-American high school football player but was also good in academics. When asked how he kept up with school while playing football he responded with "I was an All-American quarterback for my high school football team. I stayed focused in school and didn't let football control my academics,” Coach stated. When asked about how he sees David life in the future he responded with "David reminds me of myself when I was young and he will be extremely successful if he keeps up his work on the field and off the field."
AVID Arrives at NHS
By: Owen Ndayizeye
AVID is a course in high school that helps with college and career readiness. AVID helps students that want to be very successful in their education and future careers in the real world. This is done by teaching organization skills, collaborative skills, and how to handle rigorous courses. Even though this class is not associated with the STEM Academy, many of the activities done in the class are very similar to STEM. STEM uses collaborative skills just like AVID through many team projects. The academy also uses organizational skills by helping students know how to manage their time on homework and in class, similar to AVID.
The teacher of AVID at Northwest High School is Kristinn Holbrooks. In AVID, she enjoys most seeing her “students have success.” She enjoys helping all her students when they come to her for assistance with any classwork that they may be struggling on. Then the best feeling for her is when her students set goals and are able to achieve them. Even if it isn't her goal that his being completed she still is happy knowing she was a part of helping that student complete it.
For AVID, the class helps the students with their other classes by helping give studying tools. That is only one example of the “habits of learning and success” that students will take from the course of AVID. The biggest thing that helps with this is the weekly assignment of notes from each class that all the students have to turn in. It helps with preparing them for quizzes and tests and keeps students from just sitting around in class since if they don't do the notes they could fail the specific class, but would also have a bad grade in AVID.
The course of AVID is a very big reason to many students success. With the help of Coach Holbrooks and the many senior tutors, the students are very successful in their other rigorous courses.
By: Thomas Doughtie
STEM’s Graduate spotlight is Austin Navarrette. Austin was a class of 2016 graduate and is currently attending Case Western Reserve University and playing on the football team there. He also a representative for his Residence Hall Association, and he is a member of Cru which is a Christian group on campus. He also plans on getting involved in a fraternity in the spring.
When asked about his experience in STEM, Austin said, “STEM prepared me for an intensive course load and to teach myself material outside the class.” His teachers said he was a hardworking kid and a great student. Austin says right now it’s hard to manage his time because of football, homework, and the other activities but he says, “A lot of the skills that I learned in STEM really helped. Using a planner and managing time efficiently are vital here. There are a lot of distractions but you have to know when to have fun and when to sit down and do homework.”
Coaches and teachers both say that Austin is a great student-athlete and he is very determined student. Also his coaches said that he was a very hardworking kid and he was a leader. Austin enjoyed his time in STEM and he appreciates what STEM has taught him.
Jacqueline Delong, one of Austin’s engineering teachers says, “As a person, Austin has good morals, positive, and a good Christian. As a student Austin is hardworking, takes criticism well, is not afraid to speak up, turns in quality work, and works hard to reach his goals.” Brad Clark one of Austin’s football coaches said, “He’s a hardworking athlete and a great leader.” Austin enjoyed his time in STEM and he appreciates what STEM has taught him.
By: Branden Seigl
One of the first projects for juniors in STEM is the paper airplane project. This project is multi-course combining chemistry and aerospace together. Students had to design an airplane to accomplish obstacles including load carriage, flight distance, and maneuvering. They also were required to make it through a bonus obstacle going under and over two P.V.C. pipes. Students had to ultimately adjust their designs and possibly even completely remake a design.
Two of the students who participated in the project were Josiah Jenkins and Hector Almada. Both said that they struggled designing and building their planes. Josiah went through four designs until he found the one he felt most comfortable with. Hector got lucky and only had to fold one plane. When they were asked what obstacle was most challenging, Hector replied, “The undercover obstacle because of the lack of control surfaces. I was not able to provide enough lift to complete the obstacle.” When Josiah was asked he said, “The 90 degree turn was the hardest because my plane was designed for strait shots.” Both students struggled in some way but were able to complete the task while learning more about aerospace through trial and error.
STEM aerospace instructor Elizabeth Mitias and STEM chemistry instructor Kim Hendrix combined their two classes by teaching scaling for chemistry, aircraft stability, control surface, and plane axis. Ms. Mitias said, “The airplane project began as just an engineering project and then chemistry was added.” According to Mitias, the project has been getting bigger and bigger. She said, “This year’s airplane project is the biggest it has ever been.” Her favorite part of the project is watching the planes fly at the competition. This project will continue to teach future students about aerospace and chemistry for many years to come.
Seniors Prepare for Life After STEM
By: Praveen Pai
During the first six weeks of school, STEM engineering teacher Jacqueline DeLong provided STEM seniors with an opportunity to interview with local businesses. The main objective of this project was to prepare students for real world internship/job application scenarios. Over the entire course of the project, multiple pieces had to be written to professionally portray an accurate and persuasive representation of each student to the interviewer. Products for this project include a business card, cover letter, resume and references, and an update to the students’ e-portfolio. Each part of the project had to be carefully drafted and reviewed over the course of a week in order to be prepared for the actual interview.
This was the first senior project to use the new engineering notebooks. All components of the project were documented, from the resume to the business cards. Over time, all aspects of the interview were refined and better understood by each individual STEM senior so that everyone was prepared to succeed on their interviews.
In total, there were four companies that participated to interview students. Those companies were Fidelity Investments, Heights Venture Architecture, Lockheed Martin, and Bell Helicopter. Each company and interview posed a different scenario for interviews that each student had to react accordingly to.
STEM senior Julie Shafer stated, “Throughout this process, I learned how to better format my resume and cover letter, as well as how to make a professional business card.” According to STEM senior Alexis Russell, “This project taught me that as long as you are prepared, you can just be yourself and you will do just fine.” Thanks to preparation provided by each assignment and the e-portfolio, the interviewees were able to present themselves with confidence and professionalism, completing the project and earning valuable skills.
Check out our new STEM Promo!
Proud of our Graduates
The STEM Academy was started in 2009 with a small group of Freshmen and Sophomores. Since then, STEM has graduated over 200 students in five graduating classes, with the first group in 2012.
Our alumni have entered universities across the country, served our country by joining the military and have begun careers in various fields. We are proud of all of their accomplishments and have started a board to share their successes with current students. The bulletin board includes the alumni picture and a statement of where are they now.
Next time you are in the STEM hall, check out the successes of our STEM Alumni! We are excited to add the Class of 2017 to the board soon!
By: Owen Ndayizeye
This year, STEM Leadership day was held at the newly renovated Outdoor Learning Center (OLC). After hosting the event on-site at NHS last year, the students and teachers were thrilled to head back to the OLC and to be the first group of students to expereince the spaces. "This place is awesome!" stated senior Bailey Smith.
Leadership Day is the first big event for all STEM students. It gives all students a chance to meet other gradelevels and to work together as a team. Many of the same activities from previous years were used to bring out the leadership and teamwork skills of the STEM students. The Leadership Day is new to all the freshmen that have just entered STEM, but the sophomores, juniors, and seniors all have experienced the event so they are expected to lead the new students in the team activities. There are also teachers and assigned seniors that overlook the teams, helping lead them in the right direction during the day.
One of the seniors that helped assist a team of students during Leadership Day was Yaz Khan. He said one of his favorite parts of Leadership Day was being "trusted with leading a group of students and being given a walkie talkie to use with other team leaders.” He said that he is "comfortable with the tasks because he has done them multiple times” in his previous years of STEM.
Another student, Daniel Bin-Mitende, is a junior in the STEM Academy which means he will most likely be leading his own team next year. The academy is based around a lot of group work so enjoying that will make it easier to be successful on your work. There are many skills learned and Daniel states that he “utilizes the teamwork skills into the projects we do at school.” Most of the work in STEM is done in teams so these teamwork skills are very important for success. He also said he will use his “responsibility skills and take charge” of the activities of Leadership Day if he leads a team of his own.
Freshman Sakina Zaki is a new student to the STEM Academy so it was her first time experiencing Leadership Day. Freshmen are usually more accustomed to working alone so the new environment of Leadership Day helps prepare them for the new environment of STEM. She said, “ I most enjoyed the wood stick activity of walking tree to tree.” With the new team skills she learned she said she could use them for “speaking up for herself and making new friends.” This is from the perspective of someone brand new to the academy and their first experience with the teamwork environment of STEM.
Leadership Day was successful in helping the students get ready for the new year and also introducing the freshmen into the new environment they will be experiencing.
My Morrie and Me
By: Luke Wilson
Tuesday with Morrie is a story about a professor that is dying from ALS, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Even though Morrie’s death was tragic, through his death he taught others to live, especially his former student Mitch Albom, the author of the book.
After reading the book as an English I summer reading assignment, the freshmen where assigned to interview their “Morrie,” a person who has positively influenced their lives. They were assigned to create Interview questions for their “Morrie” on topics such as the meaning of life, love, death, regret, and forgiveness. After the interview the students wrote a memoir about their “Morrie” and how they positively changed their lives. The freshmen were also asked to create visuals in their project such as a book cover, a video, or a poster. Students were asked to share their memoir and visuals with their “Morrie” after the project was over.
Freshman Michel Grice said that is grandfather is his “Morrie.” When asked why he chose his grandfather, Michael said, “My grandfather, he’s very generous… he pushes people to be what they want to be. He thinks what you think of yourself," meaning that his grandfather doesn’t try and make someone what he wants them to be. He wants people and pushes people to be what they want to be and not to listen to the degrading things other people say.
Freshman Ryan Torres said that the most difficult part of the project was organizing the structure of the memoir. He said that he learned that "an essay without many guidelines is a lot harder to write even though that is something I have always wanted."
After the projects were finished, students were asked to give copies of memoirs and visuals to their "Morries" as a thank you for their positive influence.
Battle of the Products
By: Thomas Doughtie
STEM biology instructor Sarah Goodwin started the year off with a PBL (Problem Based Learning) for freshman and sophomore students. Curriculum requirements have changed this year; freshmen are now required to take biology instead of physics, making this one of the first projects of the year for freshmen and sophomores.
In this project, students were asked to compare products to determine which one was the best value. The products the students could choose from were household consumable products. Each team also had to test a different product so that there would be variety in results. For the final product of the project, students had to make a website that could be accessed from a QR code.
When asked how the freshmen did on the project, Ms. Goodwin responded, “Some freshmen did really well for their first project, and others will use this as a learning experience.” With this project each group had at least one freshman and sophomore. She also said, “Most the sophomores were able to guide the freshmen along and help them" figure out what PBL is all about.
STEM freshman Austin Ahmad said, “It was a pretty easy project and kind of stressful but I learned a lot from it." Sophomore Steven Besa said, “Overall I felt like I did pretty well.” Also he said, “Since the freshmen aren’t used to the problem based learning process us sophomores had to take them under our wings and show them how to successfully create a project with problem based learning.”
By: Branden Seigl
The staff spotlight focuses on stem teachers that try to make a difference every day. Mr. Brown teaches robotics and principles of engineering. His STEM profile describes him as a “Versatile and resourceful technology education professional with high standards of integrity and reliability. Recognized as a can do, hands-on, proactive educator that can identify deficiencies, formulate strategic plans, and implement new techniques in challenging and diverse learning environments.”
Jim Brown has been teaching for 13 years and 6 of those years at STEM. He believes in PBL (Project Based Learning) and how it teaches them to problem solve, he says, “It's a very competitive world and I want my students to be prepared with the skills they need to meet and overcome the challenges they will face in the future.” He has been a part of students’ lives for a long time know impacting each and every one of their lives.
Although the school year has just started this year’s STEM juniors in his robotics class already look forward to his class, Students in this case Lawrence Thayer and Payton Blakely think his class is “fun and very exciting.” Mr. Brown’s teaching revolves around PBL “He puts us on a path and is around to guide us and when we hit a point he gives us the next step” He is also a very serious man being “straight to the point and doesn’t mess around” Students leave his class with life skills and robotics knowledge ready to overcome obstacles and succeed in life.
Profile of a STEM Student
By: Daniel Bin-Mitende
This year was an interesting year because a new project came up for the class of 2018 STEMers. The Profile of a STEM Student is a new project that all STEM Students must complete during the first week of school. The first week of STEM students review STEM skills such as work ethic, contracts, and plagiarism. This year the juniors reviewed STEM skills by doing The Profile of a STEM Student project which included PBL (Project Based Learning). Students were given a task to make profile of how a STEM students should act and the expectations from a STEM student. The facilitator of this project (Mrs. Mitias) was very excited to start this project with the junior class.
Jason Sanders the technician of Northwest High School wrote a blog about the project. When asked about what motivated him to write a blog about the project, he responded with “We look for projects or student work that not only utilizes and integrates technology to add depth to learning but also showcase authentic student learning in general.” He looks for projects that can have an impact long-term for students.
When asked about how he liked the project, STEM junior Eli WItherspoon responded with “ I really felt that this project helped me truly understand how a STEM student should act.” Eli believes that being a STEM student is different than being a regular student and this project helped him prove his theory.
When STEM facilitator Elizabeth Mitias was asked if she thought the seniors would have engaged learning STEM skills through Project Based Learning she responded by saying that “...they judged the project this year and really liked the process. I really think they would of liked it.” The seniors did not participate in the project but judged instead. Mrs. Mitias is also thinking about changing the project next year since STEM will be thinking about using these PoSG (Profile of a STEM Student) for the incoming freshman next year by showing them the PoSGs to give the freshman a clue on what is expected in STEM.
Check out Mr. Sanders blog about this: