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Robotics team wins in an upset at the Colorado regional competition

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Thirteen members of the Flaming Chickens robotics team traveled to Denver for spring break to take their robot for a spin before attending the world championships in Atlanta next month. The main goals were to update their robot and get more drive practice. They entered the competition with guarded expectations because NASA engineers mentor some of the competing teams who had admittedly superior robots.

The Flaming Chickens employed competitive analysis and captured data on each team at the competition. They devised an alliance of overlooked teams, dominated every other alliance, and went on to defeat the giants of the tournament. The crowd went wild.

The Flaming Chickens came home with two trophies: the Regional Champions award and the Innovations in Controls award for their tightly integrated control system that accurately controls and kicks the soccer ball.

 

Viola Vaughn from Sénégal to speak at Catlin Gabel on April 7

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Vaughn, a CNN "Hero," is founder & director of 10,000 Girls, dedicated to the education of girls

Viola Vaughn, founder and executive director of the nonprofit 10,000 Girls (http://10000girls.org) in Kaolack, Sénégal, West Africa, will speak at Catlin Gabel on Wednesday, April 7, at 12:45 p.m. in the Middle School Commons during her tour of the United States.

Dr. Viola Vaughn

Vaughn is an American with an Ed.D. from Columbia University who received a CNN “Hero” award in 2008. She is a social entrepreneur who has built 10,000 Girls from an idea to a vibrant program currently serving 2,567 girls in 10 towns and villages in rural Sénégal. She periodically tours the U.S., speaking and participating in conferences to raise awareness of her organization's success in helping West African girls succeed as students and entrepreneurs. During her time in Portland Vaughn will also speak at Portland State University.

Video of Viola Vaughn #1          

Video of Viola Vaughn #2            

Video of Viola Vaughn #3

Viola Vaughn and the 10,000 Girls Project from Memory Box Productions on Vimeo.

10,000 Girls has two primary programs: after-school education and skill-building, helping girls stay in school and complete their educations; and entrepreneurship, teaching a craft or trade and business basics to older girls who have already left school and need life skills to become self-reliant. The educational component provides tutoring and resources to help girls succeed in school. Older girls, who are no longer in school, learn sewing, baking, and other marketable skills, creating products such as dolls and table linens, which they sell locally and online. The girls also grow, harvest, and produce hibiscus, which they transform into tea and hope to export to the U.S. as Certified Organic. The girls in the entrepreneurial program have decided to donate nearly 50% of their earnings to the program, making 10,000 Girls entirely self-sustainable. In Sénégal – where 54% of the citizens live below poverty and 48% are unemployed  – 10,000 Girls transforms the lives of  participating girls and their families.

The dynamic Viola Vaughn, a long-time resident of Sénégal, dramatically describes the challenges and joys of running 10,000 Girls and speaks with passion about her organization's mission. She can relay fascinating stories, including how she convinced banks to open accounts for young girls, a first in Sénégal; why the girls chose to bake and sell cookies to raise money (like America's Girl Scouts); and the what poignant questions the girls pose at summer Democracy Camps in  Sénégal. 
 
In Portland, Violla Vaughn hopes to connect with individuals and organizations interested in the education of girls, as well as with businesses that might want to sell 10,000 Girls' products. She will also encourage individuals intending to volunteer for 10,000 Girls in Senegal.

 

"Student among top 10 in science talent search"

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Beaverton Valley Times article, March 2010

Catlin Gabel team wins third Mock Trial contest

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Portland Tribune article, March 2010

Yale Fan among top 10 winners at national science competition

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Senior Yale Fan has placed among the top 10 honorees at the Intel Science Talent Search in Washington, D.C.

Yale placed ninth among the top 10 winners, earning him a $20,000 award for his research that demonstrated the advantages of quantum computing in performing difficult computations.

Yale's winning research project is titled, "Adiabatic Quantum Algorithms for Boolean Satisfiability." Yale explained that quantum computers are computers that rely on principles of quantum mechanics to accomplish certain tasks exponentially more efficiently than classical computers. He exhibited new numerical and theoretical results on the power of quantum computers for certain classes of NP-complete problems, which are the hardest computational problems whose solutions are easy to verify. This work implies that quantum computers could outperform classical computers for a class of hard problems and gives new insight into the capabilities of exciting prospective technology based on theoretical physics.

Senior Kevin Ellis was also one of the 40 Intel STS finalists in Washington, D.C. As an Intel STS finalist, Kevin won a $7500 award.

Over the past 68 years, Science Talent Search finalists have gone on to win seven Nobel Prizes, two Fields Medals, three National Medals of Science and 11 MacArthur Foundation Fellowships.

Congratulations to Yale and Kevin!

Read the Oregonian article from May 17.

Students, teachers, and staffers blog about their work and travels

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Classes, groups traveling near and far, and individuals are publishing on the website to share their work with the Catlin Gabel community or other specific audiences.

Any student, teacher, or staff member can maintain an individual blog or contribute to a group blog on the Catlin Gabel website. Some blogs are open to everyone visiting our website. Most blogs require login.

You can always find blogs from the Quick Links menu. Happy reading!

 » Link to all blogs

Links to specific blogs

Nepal 2010
Japan 2010
Cuba 2010
Senior Projects

Urban Studies

Honors Art Seminar
Science Projects
Spanish V Honors
French 2

External blogs
Paul Monheimer in Israel
The Catlin Coverslip

Richard Kassissieh, for the education technology community

Classroom pages
Middle and Lower School teachers use classroom pages more often than student blogs. The function is similar.
Second grade
Fourth grade

Fifth grade

Sixth grade
Lower School French

Seventh grade

 

Rose Perrone ’10 and Vighnesh Shiv ’11 selected for 2010 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose

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At the March 13 regional science expo in Gresham, Rose won first prize in electrical and mechanical engineering for her project, "The Effect of Vibratactile Training on Navigational Ability." Vighnesh won first prize in computer science for his project, "BeatHoven: Automatic Music Transcription Algorithms and Implementation." Their presentations qualified Rose and Vighnesh for the international fair later this spring.

Other students who competed at the regional science expo include:

Brynmor Chapman ’10, first prize, biochemistry
Anthony Eden ’11, second prize, computer science
Lucy Feldman ’10, second prize, animal sciences
Juliah Ma ’10, third prize, chemistry
Anders Perrone ’11, third prize, energy and transportation
Kalifa Clarke ’10, honorable mention, microbiology
Terrance Sun ’13, second prize, physics and astronomy
Philip Paek ’11, competed in the medicine and health sciences category

Congratulations to all, and good luck to those who will compete at the Intel Northwest Science Expo on April 2.
 

Mock trial team wins state championship. Next stop: nationals in Philadelphia

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Competing against high schools many times the size of Catin Gabel, our Blue Team prevailed at the state competition. Congratulations to co-captains Eli Coon and Becky Coulterpark, and team members Talbot Andrews, Conor Carlton, Nina Greenebaum, Andrew Hungate, Grace McMurchie, Kate McMurchie, Megan Stater, and Leah Thompson.

Many thanks to volunteer coaches Bob Bonaparte '73, Nell Bonaparte, Cheryl Coon, Jim Coon, Barb Gazeley, Anushka Shenoy '09, and Pat Walsh.

» Link to Portland Tribune story

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Jazz pianist, senior

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passion: jazz piano

“Music is a big part of my life. I played classical music for many years, but when I learned about jazz at a music camp I went to in the summer before 8th grade, it really excited me. The instructors there told us that if we loved music, we might consider pursuing it as a profession.
 
That planted a seed for me. I didn’t decide to be a professional back then in 8th grade, but eventually I did. I slowly began playing more jazz and learning more about music. I started to practice jazz more diligently in my sophomore year and developed an ambition to be a great musician. The end of that year, I auditioned for the American Music Program, directed by trumpeter Thara Memory. The first time I played for him, he took me outside and told me I didn’t know anything about jazz, and that I would have to catch up a lot to get into music school and get a scholarship. But he let me into the group. It’s a pre-professional program for high school students, and Mr. Memory starts from the assumption that we should be the best high school jazz band in the country. The group has won national competitions, including the Next Generation competition associated with the Monterey Jazz Festival, and Wynton Marsalis’s Essentially Ellington competition in New York.

I’m excited to be working on music and aiming for a career as a musician. My hope right now is to get into a good music school and get a scholarship. I want to develop my own musicianship, and I want to play with like-minded musicians who share my ambitions.”

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Photographer & scientist, senior

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passions: science, photography
Interests: diversity, dance, writing, languages

“Since elementary school I’ve dreamed of becoming a pediatrician and working in other countries. I’ve volunteered at a cancer rehabilitation center in India, and I’ve worked with kids as a volunteer. I love kids, and I love science.
 
Two years ago I started experimenting with the camera and Photoshop, and I started doing a lot of portraiture. I posted my work online, and I began getting outside referrals. I’ve done one wedding, and I do portfolios for models and family portraits. I like to shoot in the city or in nature with no fake lighting and no backdrops.
 
I love portraiture. It’s satisfying to take pictures of people and see them in different ways. It’s great to make them feel beautiful and capture their emotional qualities and their uniqueness.
 
I plan to go to medical school. It’s hard to find colleges with strong programs in both medicine and art. I want to be a doctor, but I also love travel and would like to document it in photographs.
 
I’m co-leader of Speed-Ujima, the diversity club. It’s really important to me because I’m part of a minority group in the Upper School. It’s important to let people know that being different is okay and that they shouldn’t hide it. We get the word out that we won’t tolerate racism.

Rahee means traveler in Urdu and Hindi. It’s a piece of fate, from the time I was little, and it’s come true.”

Self-portrait: Rahee Nerurkar

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Dedicated to community service, 10th grade

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passion: community service
Interests: basketball, health care

“I’m really into community service. My mom believes that you should give as much as you can to others who don’t have as much as you do. She’s instilled that into me. Lots of people have more than me, but I have something I can give back to others.
 
I do a lot of different projects, often with my church. As part of the Extreme Makeover Schools program in north and northeast Portland, I helped build a community garden at an elementary school. I volunteer at the library for summer reading. I help kids get signed up, give them prizes, and read to them. I like working with kids. I also volunteer at the Food Bank.
 
Last year I went with a group of African American and Jewish students to New Orleans to rebuild. We went down and did hard physical work in the Ninth Ward, the poorest section of New Orleans. There are almost no houses, and there’s debris everywhere, compared to the wealthier areas, which are almost completely redone. It was hard to see.
 
My godsister and I have done a lot of service work together, and it’s fun to work with someone else. You don’t think about how long it’s taking you.

I’d like to be a physician’s assistant. You don’t have to go to medical school, and there are a lot of programs. I want to work in an inner-city hospital and clinic where there’s less access to health care and fewer doctors."

What to Read During Winterim & Spring Break

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We’ve got some great new titles…

At last!  You’ve got some free time, and we’ve got some great new titles as well as some old friends.  Here’s an overview of just a few of the new arrivals:

Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime, by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin
If you followed the Obama/McCain election with interest, you’ll love this zippy read.  Described by a reporter for the Associated Press as “the hottest book in the country,” (http://tiny.cc/dXAYC)Game Change will make the members of the History department giddy with excitement.  The book is based on numerous interviews with the political teams and candidates, with some dialogue invented to help get inside the heads of the participants.  It’s a book that falls somewhere between fact and fiction, and it’ll feed your curiosity.

Food Rules, by Michael Pollan
At last, a wise, commonsense little book by a well-respected writer about food. Pollan's advice is at times hilarious: "It's not food if it arrived through the window of your car."  Another chapter quips, "Don't eat anything your great-grandmother wouldn't recognize as food."  This is a quick, bracing little book.  

Secrets of Eden, by Chris Bohjalian
Do you relish a good murder mystery?  According to a reviewer for Booklist, Bohjalian "drops bombshell clues...and weaves subtle nuances of doubt and intrigue into a taut, read-in-one-sitting murder mystery." ( http://tiny.cc/zSP5M )

Leviathan, by Scott Westerfeld
Into Steampunk lit?  School Library Journal writes,"This is World War I as never seen before. The story begins the same: on June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife are assassinated, triggering a sequence of alliances that plunges the world into war. But that is where the similarity ends. This global conflict is between the Clankers, who put their faith in machines, and the Darwinists, whose technology is based on the development of new species. After the assassination of his parents, Prince Aleksandar's people turn on him. Accompanied by a small group of loyal servants, the young Clanker flees Austria in a Cyklop Stormwalker, a war machine that walks on two legs. Meanwhile, as Deryn Sharp trains to be an airman with the British Air Service, she prays that no one will discover that she is a girl. She serves on the Leviathan, a massive biological airship that resembles an enormous flying whale and functions as a self-contained ecosystem. When it crashes in Switzerland, the two teens cross paths, and suddenly the line between enemy and ally is no longer clearly defined. The ending leaves plenty of room for a sequel, and that's a good thing because readers will be begging for more. Enhanced by Thompson's intricate black-and-white illustrations, Westerfeld's brilliantly constructed imaginary world will capture readers from the first page. Full of nonstop action, this steampunk adventure is sure to become a classic." (http://tiny.cc/YdHr3 ).

Cheever, by Blake Bailey
This new biography is receiving enthusiastic reviews from a wide range of critics.  John Updike writes for the New Yorker, "A triumph of thorough research and unblinkered appraisal."  Publishers Weekly exclaims that "This Ovid in Ossining, who published 121 stories in the New Yorker as well as several bestselling novels, has probably yet to find a definitive position in American letters among academicians. This thoroughly researched and heartfelt biography may help redress that situation." ( http://tiny.cc/dBBkw)

Get Me Out!  A History of Childbirth from the Garden of Eden to the Sperm Bank,by Randi Hutter Epstein
The cover will make you laugh, but the contents will give you the shivers.  Health care and obstetrics have come a very long way over the centuries.  Kirkus Reviews describes the book as “[A] sharp, sassy history of childbirth…. The author’s engaging sarcasm, evident even in a caption of an illustration of an absurd obstetric contraption—’Nineteenth-century Italian do-it-yourself forceps. The fad never took off’—lends this chronicle a welcome punch and vitality often absent from medical histories. Roll over, Dr. Lamaze, and make room for Epstein’s eyebrow-raising history.”  (http://tiny.cc/IsMzt)

 

 

Stop by, and we'll help you find something to enjoy over the break.  --Sue

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Community leader, senior

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passions: community leadership, environment
Interests: Japan, food, running, Tae Kwan Do

“I am a co-leader of three groups: the Japanese Culture Club, the Environmental Club, and the Baking Club. I’ve been taking Japanese since 7th grade and have been to Japan twice. Joining the Environmental Club seemed a natural expression of my interest in environmental issues, especially pertaining to food. I eat less meat, garden, cook for my family, and buy organic or local food. For the International Day of Climate Change, other Environmental Club members joined me on a zero-carbon outdoor program trip to the Columbia Gorge, traveling on MAX and bicycles.
 
Students can be apathetic, and I wanted to take leadership roles to help counter that. Sometimes young people feel that they don’t matter, and that’s the hardest thing. But people do care. Teachers and school administrators do listen to us if we seize opportunities when we can.
 
I spent spring semester away my junior year, working on an organic farm at a school in Vermont. This renewed my passion about the environment. It also helped me appreciate Catlin Gabel more when I returned, and I became more involved than I had ever been before.

I love what I have right now. I love baking, I love Japan, and I love Catlin Gabel. I don’t do what I do just to look good on college applications. People stress too much—I know I will go to college and make it great, wherever I go.”

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Robotics engineeer, junior

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passions: robotics, engineering
Interest: oldies music

“Robotics is my consuming passion. I’ve taken it upon myself to learn every job on our robotics team to see how they interrelate. Knowing how everything fits together is a huge advantage in figuring out more quickly what part is broken.
 
I learn best when I’m forced into a big situation and have to throw myself into it. I spent 250 hours in six weeks in the robotics lab during build season. I have no regrets. We built that robot according to specifications, and it hardly ever failed. That’s how I know I had done my job right.
 
I did some work last summer with the elephants at the Oregon Zoo. Three seniors had fixed some systems there for their senior projects, but there was still work to do. My mission was to build an apple launcher to help the elephants stay healthy and give the public a spectacle to watch. It was a difficult job, and I ended up building four prototypes. The best thing was that I got to learn in depth the process of engineering, from paper to the final design, including building it and seeing if it works. I thought about every decision in depth.

I would like to work in mechanical engineering, and I am interested in the automotive field. But I don’t want to work for a big company. My dream is to work for another company at first and then create my own start-up."

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Synchronized swimmers, 10th grade & 7th grade

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passions: Synchronized swimming
Interests: rock & mountain climbing, dance, gymnastics

K: “When I was 7, I took a synchronized swimming class and they asked me to be on the team. When my sister was 6 she came to watch me practice and by the end, the coach had her in the water. Synchronized swimming became a passion for both of us. Competition is really fun. We both make friends from all over the country and sometimes the world.
 
E: “Synchronized swimming is the ultimate team sport. We have to work together, and we depend on each other. It’s a ten-month- a-year sport, but has a lot of rewards. In the end it all pays off. We travel a lot for training and competitions with our family or our coaches, and we don’t always go to the same place. It’s crazy. We spend a lot of time in airports.
 
K: I’m trying out for the junior national team and hope to make it in the next couple of years. You need a lot of strength to be a good competitor. Training includes weightlifting, dance, Pilates, gymnastics, and yoga. Core strength is everything. My sister and I do lots of cross-training on weekends.
 
E: I’ve learned how to make a group effort and cooperate with others, and that’s helping right now in our collaborations in 7th grade world cultures class.”

K: Catlin Gabel’s arts program, especially theater, has helped me realize how I can better get across emotions, which is important in our sport. I’ve learned dedication, focus, and good time management from synchronized swimming, and that really helps me here in school, too.”

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Tango & aerial dancer, 10th grade

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passions: aerial dance, tango

“I started aerial dance classes in 2nd grade and now perform with AWOL, Aerial Without Limits. I love aerial dance because it’s creative, and I love music and combining it with movement in trying to convey a message. I particularly like to choreograph: I listen to music and imagine movements for a long time before I feel ready to put it together and try it out with my peers. I also like that it is a physical form of art— it takes strength and skill, and I have to constantly challenge myself. I see myself doing things I never thought I could.
 
It’s thrilling and a little bit scary. I can be up in the air 30 feet holding on to a piece of fabric without any nets or harnesses. I’m just on my own and have to be able to focus. Oddly, I’m a little bit afraid of heights, but that just makes it more fun!
 
Working in aerial dance has raised my self-esteem. At the beginning I knew nothing, but now I can actually help teach others, which is fun.

I also love tango. I’m going to Argentina this summer to study tango. I will also work with an aerial dance company to learn their style of aerial dance, which uses bungee cords. I am interested in how to creatively combine the two kinds of dance. I love both of these arts for similar reasons. Musicality—it’s fun to play with music, and tango is all improvised. You’re silent when you dance in tango or aerial, but there’s a lot of connection.”

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Scout, community enthusiast, 10th grade

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passions: Scouting, campus cross country trail bridge project
Interests: piano, cross country, golf, mock trial

“I transferred to Catlin Gabel last year. I love the beautiful campus and the friendly community here. There’s so much here that I enjoy being involved with, including clubs, sports, and extracurriculars in general. I decided to do my Eagle Scout project for the Catlin Gabel campus. Grounds crew supervisor Mike Wilson gave me permission to replace the eroding cross country bridge at the northeast side of campus (uphill from the track and field).
 
The dirt bridge needed work because it was eroding and had no basic structure. Construction of the new bridge took me and 20 fellow Scouts almost eight hours. We replaced the old bridge with boulders, drainage rock, and concrete, which will stop the erosion and provide a flatter surface for the runners.

I love so much about Scouting, which I’ve been doing since 1st grade. I mostly like it because of the outings we do, which I learn a lot from. I’ve also made plenty of lasting friendships with other Scouts. As the senior patrol leader, I’m in charge of my troop from this fall until early spring. I’ll stay involved for a couple more years, till I’m 18, which is the age limit for Scouts. Scouting has taught me to do my best in everything I do, and to lead others by example.”