Thank you to co-chairs Will Rosenfeld '14 and Katie Zechnich '14 for their commitment to financial aid fundraising and community spirit. Special thanks to Mother Nature for the great weather!
Thank you to the PFA for organizing this favorite parent community meeting of the year. Standing room only! Thanks also to the senior panelists: Katie Fournier, Theo Knights, Liban Sheikh, Alexis Shoemaker, Lewis Holland, and Erin Wynne. College counselor Kate Grant did a great job of setting the stage and moderating. Here are a few highlights.
What advice do you have for students coming into the Upper School?
- The preseason sport team practices start in August, so joining a team is a great way to get to know other upper classmen and ease the transition.
- Try something you have never done before or are afraid to do!
- There are many opportunities so it is easy to overbook yourself. Choose one or two things that you really want to focus on.
What do you see as the strengths of the Upper School?
- There are so many connections you make with your teachers both inside and outside of the classroom. "My teachers are some of the best grown-ups I have ever met!"
- Since many faculty members are involved in extracurricular activities themselves, they understand if you need an extension because of a mock trial competition or a late soccer game.
- The new schedule has allowed students to get some work done during the school day. Getting credit for working on the school newspaper has also helped balance the workload.
What are some of the weaknesses of the Upper School?
- Communication and coordination between teachers regarding major assignment deadlines could be improved, particularly in humanities.
- The homework policy is not followed by many teachers and not enforced even though this issue is brought up every year.
- "The homework is challenging but that's good."
- Catlin Gabel students should show gratitude for all the opportunities that are given to them. It’s important to find ways to learn resilience and fight for something you care about in an environment where everything is available to you.
- We need more interaction with the outside world.
What are your senior internship projects?
- Projects range from fixing typewriters to working with a photojournalist with the Oregonian to helping a fashion designer with her first show.
What were your best moments at Catlin Gabel?
- Interacting with the teachers.
- Getting positive feedback and learning what you are good at.
- The last day of junior year and the “I did it!” feeling.
- Getting the college acceptance letter.
- Working with other students to achieve something together, for example designing all of the costumes in a production.
What about some of your worst moments?
- Failing at something: but that’s a learning experience.
- Freshman English.
- Arriving as a new freshman and not knowing anyone.
- Being slammed with schoolwork.
Tell us about your global trips.
- Taking trips during sophomore year works well. There is a trip for everyone.
- Nepal was amazing. It was a very different trip from the France trip, which was designed around learning the language. In France, we had homestays and went to school with the French students.
- This summer, one panelist is walking 500 miles from Geneva to Rome. The group is doing training hikes together now.
- “After every trip, I come back with a new best friend.”
How did you spend your summers?
- Answers ranged from getting a job or internship to taking a college class to traveling with family to chilling out and having a good time.
How would you rank the degree of difficulty of the four years in the US?
The consensus from easiest to most difficult seemed to be: (1) sophomore year– because we have figured out the workload, (2) junior year, (3) first semester of senior year because of the added pressure of college applications, (4) freshman year.
What advice do you have for parents?
- Let your child fail on his or her own and learn from mistakes. Trust that they will mature as they move through the US.
- Let your child do what they want to do when it comes to extracurricular activities and don’t interfere. Let them figure out their passions.
- Continue to support your child if his or her interests change.
- Don’t panic if your child does not do well. Be supportive. Your child will come around.
- Do encourage your child to communicate with his or her teacher.
- Don’t hound your child about homework unless it’s a huge issue. If they want to take the night off, then it is his or her decision.
- Let them grow up and figure it out on their own. Give them space.
Third grade teacher Marcelle Donehower took these photos. She and groundskeepers Jesse Selman and Mike Wilson organized the day.
The Flaming Chickens won the Chairman's Award at the Pacific Northwest District Championships, just as they had done at the Oregon State District competition. They will compete in St. Louis against the best teams in the world. Only three other teams from Oregon qualified for the world championships. The Chairman's Award recognizes the team that has done the most to increase the appreciation and expansion of STEM education in their communities. The Chairman's Award team of sophomores Iris Ellenberg and Jacob Bendicksen, and freshman Robin Attey did a fabulous job of presenting.
Daniel is one of three Oregonians and one of fewer that 200 students nationwide to make it to this level of competition. He placed in the 98th percentile—worldwide—of 9th grade students who took the qualifying test. All the best on your next set of exams, Daniel.
Catlin’s robotics team, the Flaming Chickens, won the Chairman’s Award at the Oregon State University district competition. This most prestigious honor is given to the team that "best represents a model for other teams to emulate and best embodies the purpose and goals of FIRST,” the nonprofit that organizes the competitions.
Teams that win the Chairman’s Award run the best engineering outreach programs in the world, and the Flaming Chickens are no different. They run three offseason competitions each year in the Catlin Gabel gym, demo their robots at events around Portland, and give back to the community through projects like ScumBot, which is funded by the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeams grant. They also contribute to the community – high school members coach Middle School LEGO robotics teams, and they’ll be showcasing their program at Spring Festival on May 4.
Pacific Northwest District Championship
Thursday, April 10 — Saturday, April 12
8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Admission is free
Come cheer on the Flaming Chickens as they compete against 64 teams for a spot at the World Championships in St. Louis. The prime time to come is Saturday at 1:15 p.m. for the final rounds. If you come, be sure to check out the pit area in the basement where teams feverishly repair their robots between matches.
See schedules and live streaming links at http://oregonfirst.org/events/pnw-frc-championship/
Game animation video (sorry about the advertising at the start -- it's worth the wait)
The PFA’s Catlin Community Coding event was a great success, with more than 220 participants learning basic programming and processing skills. After an overview of what coding is all about and a shared meal, students from Honeybees to teens and their parents gathered around iPads and laptops to engage in a variety of online coding challenges. It was a wonderful opportunity for the community to come together to explore the creative and inspiring world of programming through applications such as Lightbot, Scratch, App Inventor, and Flappy Bird.
Parent instructor Suresh Srinivas noted the tremendous energy in the room as children and adults engaged fully in grasping the concepts. A 1st grader got to the final level of LightBot. An adult exclaimed, "Yes, I got it!" Participants reflected on the evening with words like awesome, great, educational, and humbling.
The evening's agenda, which provides some great resources for learning about coding, is posted below.
The PFA extends a special thank you to the volunteer instructors and presenters: parents Suresh Srinivas, Matthew Galaher, Drew Bernard, Maggie Kean, Tim Rayle, and Adrienne Hill; faculty-staff members Robert Medley, Andrew Thomas, Johny Nguyen, José Ruiz, Meredith Goddard, and Rob van Nood; and students Aidan Bernard, Nate Sale, Soha Ahmed, Andrew Hill, Anaga Srinivas, Lukas Stracovsky, Roy Stracovsky, and Iman Wahle. We were thrilled to support an event that included families from all four divisions, food, and exploratory experiential learning. Thank you all for a fun evening.
Six CG students presented their science research at the invitation-only Northwest Science Expo at PSU: seniors Nick Petty and Kristin Qian; junior Valerie Ding; sophomores Nic Bergen and Anirudh Jain; and freshman Nikhil Murthy,
Nikhil placed 1st in chemistry and received the Outstanding Chemistry Project Award from the American Chemical Society. Nikhil's project was chosen to advance to the International Science and Engineering Fair.
Valerie placed 1st in physics and astronomy, won Best of Fair, and these awards: Outstanding Geoscience Award from the Association of Women Geoscientists; Outstanding Applied Chemistry Project Award from the American Chemical Society; Outstanding Chemistry Project Award from Iota Sigma Pi; the National Honor Society for Women in Chemistry; the Sustainable Development Award from the Ricoh Corporation, and an OSU Engineering College scholarship. She qualified for the International Science and Engineering Fair at an earlier competition.
Anirudh placed 2nd in chemistry and received the Naval Excellence in Science and Engineering Award from the Office of Naval Research, US Navy and Marine Corps
The Upper School Science Olympiad team took home four gold, one silver, and five bronze medals! Congratulations to seniors Katie Zechnich, Dina Zaslovsky, Erin Wynne, Jonathan Yau, Lewis Fitzgerald-Holland juniors Valerie Ding, Forrest Kwong, Brendan Edelson, Eric Wang; sophomore Iman Wahle; and freshmen Maria Chang and Adolfo Apolloni.
The Middle School team earned four gold, six silver, and four bronze medals in 23 events. Congratulations to 6th grader Jimmy Maslen; 7th graders Alexander Yu, Andrei Stoica, Arman Asgharzadeh, Avi Gupta, Harry Popowich, Matt Leungpathomaram, Nicholas Springer, Noor Wahle, Robbie McMonies, Spencer Shoemaker, Sydney Nagy, Tyler Nguyen; and 8th graders Sarah Daniels and Roy Stracovsky.
Eric and Nikhil are members of 11-person Bethany team Batteries in Black, which won top honors at the FTC West Super-Regional Championships in California. Eric is team co-captain. They will fly to St. Louis for the world championships April 23–26. The team is a Washington County 4-H team composed of students from five high schools. Last year, they placed second at the World Championships. Best of luck to Batteries in Black!