Fall 2017 Issue
STEM Welcomes its Newest Freshmen
Jacob Ruhl & Blake Chiles
The annual STEM camp for our incoming freshman has returned, yet again, over the summer, and it went off without a hitch. On July 25th, the freshmen teachers invited the soon-to-be fish to Northwest High School to meet and work with all of their new peers. By collaborating with each other in team-building activities, the freshmen were introduced to the academy’s value in teamwork and communication, as well as how much fun the academy is.
STEM camp uses a variety of team building activities to “help them understand the importance of teamwork,” in the words of Ms. Goodwin, a freshman biology teacher. These activities range from an intense game of Giant Jenga, to a strategic task of creating an object that can launch a ball and land on a target. These incoming fish also took part in other challenging activities and games such as: bean bag toss, minute to win it, walking planks, and hacky sack.
The freshman always get something out of it. For some, it’s teamwork, background knowledge or as freshman Brandon Odell put it, “The one thing that made it memorable would be making more friends and talking to juniors and seniors.” Sunny Curtis, a volunteer upperclassman that helped out during the event, explained it very well, saying that “you never know what to expect.” This event is a great opportunity for the new students to learn what STEM’s all about, or at least get a few service hours for the veterans.
The evening was a great help for STEM’s newest members, and an event to remember. Thanks to all of our upperclassmen who volunteered to help out at the camp!
Gearing up for Robotics
Benjamin Nance & Juan Medina
Texan Robotics, under the Leadership of Kim Hendrix, is back in session! With new designs and new members, they’re firing on all cylinders getting ready for competition. We sat down with some of the team to ask some questions about the team and what it’s like.
We first asked, ”What made you join Robotics?” Coach Hendrix responded, “They needed a new coach last year, and I had coached previous years before, plus I was the first they asked.” Ms. Hendrix is called the “Mom” of the team because she tries to make sure everyone is on top of things and cleans up after themselves. New member, STEM Freshman Clark Strong, said he joined because he loves working with 3D printing and the software behind it. Clark works mostly with the 3D printer and the printing software. Senior STEMer Hector Almada-Hill shares his first time seeing the STEM robot Jorge,” When STEM came and recruited at my middle school, I saw the robot Jorge, the face of STEM, and instantly knew I wanted to be a part of Robotics.”
Of course, since this is Robotics, we had to ask about the robots they build. This year they have added a couple of robots. The first robot is going to be used at football games and pep rallies. “The Spirit robot has a cannon on it that can be used at all sporting events and pep-rallies,” says Hector. They’re also building a fire rescue robot that will compete at the BEST competition, which will also encompass a video game feature called Power Up, that will be presented at the FRC, or the First Robotics Competition. Ms. Hendrix has also set the big goal of rebuilding their Steam Punk Robot from scratch.
Lastly to close it out, we asked what some of their favorite parts of robotics were. Ms. Hendrix said she enjoys sitting back and watching the kids smile as they’re getting to know what they are going to build. She really looks forward to, ”Getting the kids to learn and enjoy the Engineering Design Process, as it will make their lives much easier.” We also asked Freshman STEM student Clark, who said he really looks forward to new experiences with the team and learning new skills he can use.
All around, the robotics team is very excited to be back in season. If you’re in STEM and are thinking about joining, Ms. Hendrix looks for students who are, “Self Motivated and are looking for challenges.” Come out and support the Robotics team as they will be participating in the BEST competition in Plano on October 20th!
Graduate Spotlight: Hayden Garner
Chase Stuhldreher & Seth Bauer
The STEM graduate being interviewed is Hayden Garner, class of 2017. We decided on Hayden since one of our editors was friends with him through our Robotics program.
Hayden has started his own business with another STEM alumni, Nathan Fusselman. The two opened High Performance Steel, a custom cutting and engraving service, this summer right after graduation. The company uses the latest of technology to cut acrylic, copper or steel as well as engraving metal, acrylic, glass and wood. The STEM academy is starting a project with High Performance Steel, the company is working on making key chains and benches for the STEM academy.
Hayden said that STEM has gave him “better social skills” and that he was happy that he attended STEM because he liked how interactive and hands on the academy projects were. Hayden said that “building rockets was my favorite” because of the interaction and just the process that he went through to build it.
Jacqueline Delong, one of Hayden’s favorite teachers enjoyed teaching Hayden because, “He was a good kid, he was usually on task, never disrespectful, he worked hard, and helped others if needed.” Hayden has been having a blast of a time since he has been out of STEM and is appreciative of the skills he has learned.
These responses show how helpful the STEM Academy can be and that once students get through the academy they will not regret it. Hayden was a hard-working student who would always give help if needed. He was always enthusiastic towards others. Hayden has enjoyed his time in STEM and is glad that he had the chance to be in it.
Spectacular Staff: Mr Brown
Kaiman Berkey & Jayden Smith
The “Feature Teacher” is boiled down to a STEM teacher that makes a difference every day in his/her student’s lives. Mr. Brown teaches Computer Science and POE (Principles Of Engineering). Mr.Brown is 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.” as stated in Mr. Brown’s STEM profile. “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.” -Mr.Brown.
Mr.Brown has taught for 14 years, 7 of which have been in the STEM Academy. Mr.Brown teaches an innovative and more creative way of learning known as PBL (Problem Based Learning) classes. PBL classes are classes that require you to do many projects and allow you a hands on experience and a different way of learning besides taking notes. “I will most likely remember all the work I put in programming this year and the physics review from last year” Xander Addington, who is a student in Mr.Brown’s Computer Science class and a Junior in the STEM program. Mr.Brown is the teacher of Sophomores and Juniors, and by the time you’ve taken both of his classes you’ll pay tribute to all of what he’s done.
Although only the first six weeks (only 5 weeks long), Mr. Brown has already left his mark as an influential person in each student’s life. He’s strict with what you need to do but very understanding with uprising issues as well as doesn’t take no for an answer. “Mr. Brown is very helpful and cares about each student's success. He has helped me to learn challenging new material" Cade Duke, a sophomore in Mr. Brown’s POE course, explained.
As a student taking his second class in my Junior year I can attest that Mr.Brown will not let you fail his class if you show even a shred of effort.
UIL Spotlight: Band
Kaden Morrison & Xander Addington
Everyone at Northwest High School is involved in some type of way. Almost every student here loves diving into a sport, club, academy or UIL team. Some of these students even take on multiple challenges and do two or more of these extracurricular activities during their high school career. Some of those who dare to go above and beyond are Jacob Ruhl, Sam Harper, and Geoff Hanthorn (and MANY more), students committed to both the STEM Academy and performing in the Northwest Band.
Jacob Ruhl, a Junior in the STEM Academy, was interviewed with some questions on his high school career and his two in depth school interests. Jacob has played the clarinet for 5 years and has been a part of the Color Guard for a year since joining last year. For those who don’t know, the Color Guard are the accompanying members of the band that spin flags and rifles during the marching band shows. Jacob says his two major commitments do conflict each other often but if comes down to it he would choose STEM activities over band because he feels STEM requires more out of him and contributes to grades more. He says that he is very committed to both Band and STEM, having had many memorable moments from both. He said, “The best and worst time in band was saying goodbye to all of the seniors because they taught me so much and we became very close over the course of my freshman year.” Jacob thoroughly enjoys both STEM and Band and can’t wait to graduate with all of his accomplishments.
Sam Harper is a Sophomore this year in the STEM academy and also plays saxophone in the band. He stays in band because not only does it benefit him physically and academically, it’s also a fun experience. Sam has been playing for about 4 ½ years now and keeps his schedule running smoothly through the time management skills he’s learned from STEM. Sam is also in charge of 3D printing on our STEM robotics team. He said, on his favorite band experience, “My favorite has been going to marching competitions. It’s just all about getting together with people and getting stuff done.
Geoff Hanthorn is the section leader of the trombones in band and one of the STEM Seniors. For him, band started as more of a hobby in middle school and grew into something he really enjoyed doing. He has been playing his instrument for 6 ½ years now and though the schedules of STEM and Band conflict, he prioritizes his schedule in order to keep a fairly even split. When asked his favorite experience in band, Geoff replied “Marching. And Jazz. They have more looseness and a lot more activity.”
This year’s marching band has put in many hours of hard work to produce this year’s show, Born of Fire, and these students are only a handful of the STEM students participating in Band this year. We wish the Band good luck with its competition season this year.
STEM OLC Field Trip Recap
Logan Bishop & Kael Castillo
The STEM Outdoor Learning Center field trip this year just recently took place, and many students agreed that it was it better than ever. Ms. Helmick and her team really pulled out the big guns in showing us a wild, fun, and team-building time. This year they introduced many different fun and interactive games like Rescue Jorge, Protect the Cups, and even a classic: building a card tower. Ms. Helmick rigorously plans out each and every part to ensure that all of the STEM students can have a blast.
The OLC is a yearly field trip that everyone in STEM must go to, but honestly, it’s worth missing an entire day of school. Each grade level is spread among various groups evenly, and it creates a great opportunity for people to get to know one another, and work together to achieve various goals. Another great thing about this year’s OLC trip was that they showed us how wild and adventurous the OLC can really be. Being outside under that Large Pavilion, and doing other amazing activities in the Great Hall really gave us the full experience that this breathtaking place has to offer.
Thanks to the various student and teacher volunteers, we were able to get some insight on how they felt about the OLC and what they recommend for next year. We conducted an interview various students and teachers on what they thought of the OLC and its activities. Junior STEM student Steven Besa said “I enjoyed the cup stacking game the most because my team won by a mile.” He was talking about the notorious cup stacking game in which players had to use string and a rubber bands in order to stack the cups in a specific pattern. “It was challenging but my team managed to pull through” said Sophomore Nicholas Bianco on the exciting but fast paced activity ‘Rescue Jorge.’
Many students told us their recommendations for next years OLC trip. “I would like to do the plank activity again because it is a classic,” said Junior STEM student Joseph Tester on an activity we have done at previous OLC trips. Randy Saldivar, a Junior STEM student said “Next year, I would definitely like see some more fast paced interactive activities like a water balloon run.” The STEM student council loves to hear other students recommendations so it wouldn't be unlikely to see these activities next year.
We even got to interview one of our favorite teachers, Mr. Brown himself. We asked Mr Brown if he liked this year over last year and he said, “This year was better ...less walking!” Mr Brown also expressed his thoughts about his group's teamwork, “It went well, as expected.” There was no shortage of great teachers at the STEM OLC.
Working Outside the Box: Non STEM Careers
Blake Kaercher and Randy Saldivar
STEM can benefit you in many ways not only in engineering fields. When you leave STEM not only will you be leaving with some engineering skills and knowledge but skills that will help you in the real world. You will be better prepared and set for your field of work no matter what your interests are. We interviewed a former graduate from STEM and asked how STEM helped them.
Axel is a 2015 graduate from the STEM Academy at Northwest High School. Axel is 20, he is a very smart man that attends UTA (University of Texas at Arlington) and is studying mechanical engineering. But outside of school Axel has his own clothing brand that he started up all on his own. It is a very successful company so far, he puts up new clothing every season and almost releases new clothes every month.
We interviewed Axel about how he applies what he learned in STEM now. Axel stated “...As a STEM student you are being taught life lessons. All of the skills we learned weren't only for academics, they were also life lessons and I use those skills everyday; for example, I have my own “little” clothing brand and in order for it to run smoothly I have to be putting out creative material, and constantly thinking about the next move and how to stay one step ahead of the game.” This shows how engaging teachers are towards your learning and the impact they have towards the student.
We asked Axel which his Favorite teacher was and why. He stated “All of them, every single STEM teacher including those that I never had a class with have all taught me something or had some positive input to my learning experience. They are really there to help you no matter what.” Teachers are very helpful and dedicated towards student success.
This is how STEM helps graduates. No matter what field you go into STEM will benefit you greatly. Come join us at Northwest High School.
Check out our "Profile of a STEM Student" based on student design and input.