Our caravan of minivans was greeted with a beautiful rosy sunrise early Tuesday morning as we headed out of town en route to the Malheur Wildlife Refuge. Student’s handled the long hours in the car well, entertaining themselves and training their eyes to look at the tiny details that make desolate Eastern Oregon fascinating. We arrived at the Field Station, our home away from home for the next few days, and settled into the dorms before exploring the surrounding areas. Around us we could see the snowy Steen’s Mountains, high buttes and low plains, and Malheur Lake. The sun set to a chorus of coyote howls. After dinner we played several wild games of hide and seek and cops and robbers under the brilliant stars before going to bed for an early start the next morning.
We woke early the next morning (some would consider this still nighttime) to meet the naturalist who would teach us about the birds of the area. Some of us had an easier time getting up than others, but luckily nobody was left behind. The naturalist took us along a dirt road way up on a butte in hopes of finding a sage grouse lek (a gathering where males strut to impress females). Each van had a radio so our naturalist could tell everyone about the places we were seeing, and the birds we would hopefully see. After several miles he stopped us and as we peered out the window in the pale dawn light, the puffy white chests and radiating tail feathers of sage grouse appeared. We had found the lek! We listened to the clucking noises they made and watched as the birds strutted around. Our naturalist was so knowledgeable about the area and the birds and we were lucky to have him with us.
As we drove back to the Field Station we kept our eyes open for other animals. We saw some smaller birds and deer, but we were really hoping to see wild horses. We knew that of all the places we would visit, this was the only one we might have a chance to see them. As we got closer & closer to the main road our hopes of seeing the horses dropped. Suddenly, a voice over the radio announced that the first van had spotted wild horses! They were beautiful. A herd of pronghorn stood next to them, providing scale to the huge horses. The pronghorn raced off, but the horses stayed, and we got to watch them for some time as the stallion gathered his herd and studied us.
Climbing and Mountain Winterim 2010
Though our meticulously-laid plans were thrown out the window again and again, we somehow we pulled it all together and created an incredible adventure!
Our group of nine students and two leaders met on Tuesday morning at Catlin and loaded into two mini-vans for four days of climbing and road-tripping. We drove to Smith Rock State park and hiked to Student Wall, where we did a safety de-brief and set up an area to teach climbing, belaying, moving over a fixed line, and rappelling. It was the first time any of us had basked in sunshine for weeks!
That night we drove to Skull Hollow campground--we had the entire place to ourselves. We went on a stealth (and my stealth I mean "playing techno as loud as possible in a minivan") mission to gather firewood and had quite the scorcher during dinner.
On Wednesday morning we drove back to Smith and headed off to the Dancer/Jete/Combination blocks area. Students and leaders led climbs and toproped a number of excellent lines (note: Double Trouble is AMAZING!!!). We ended our day a bit early to get to the trailhead of Mt. Washington before dark.
In driving to the trailhead, we found a viewpoint of Mt. Washington that showed that the peak would be impossible to climb. Like "Mountain of Death" impossible. We decided to try to another peak. Driving back East, we called friends and family and used iPhones to find a peak in climbable conditions. Peter suggested Mt. Thielson and the students made a decision to head South. We drove to Thielson and slept in the parking lot.
On Thursday we woke early and left the trailhead at 8am for our summit bid. Snow conditions were not good for XC travel. We gained the ridge below the massif and the students led up the southern slopes until 12:30 when we stopped for lunch (much of which had been forgotten!). The weather had become ideal for spring mountaineering and we did some “snow school” training on the sunny flanks. Though the summit pyramid looked snowy and daunting, we made our way upwards.
At 3:00 we arrived at the final pitch below the summit and scouted for a safe, clean line up the SE or SW ridge. Neither offered safe climbing, so we backed in the sun below the summit pinnacle. We boot-skied, glissaded, and plunge-stepped back to tree-line, putting our heads down for the long descent back to the car.
On Thursday night we found an incredible campsite up a creek off the Umpqua and enjoyed our last night out—all of the students slept under the stars!
Friday was a final breakfast and a long drive back to Portland, dotted with stops for Ultimate Frisbee, gas at the slowest pumps imaginable, and AMAZING milkshakes.
Ultimately this trip was about getting a diverse group of students together and empowering them to create the most incredible road trip possible.
Take a look at our journey by clicking any of the pictures below and watching a slideshow. Put on some music (no techno, please) and enjoy!
Senior Kevin Ellis qualified to represent Oregon at the international fair after presenting his research at the Northwest Science Expo on April 2. Seniors Rose Perrone and Yale Fan, and junior Vighnesh Shiv, who had previously qualified for the international fair, also presented at the Northwest Science Expo.
Yale Fan won first place in physics and astronomy, the U.S. Army Scientific and Engineering Excellence Award, the Army Outstanding High School Project Award, and a scholarship to Lewis & Clark College should he choose to attend.
Kevin Ellis won the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Special Award in Computer Software Engineering and second place in computer science.
Rose Perrone won the IEEE Special Award for Best in Systems, Man, and Cybernetics Engineering; the IEEE Best in Engineering Award; and second place in electrical and mechanical engineering.
Vighnesh Shiv won the IEEE Special Award in Computer Software Engineering and an honorable mention in computer science.
Seniors Brynmor Chapman and Lucy Feldman won statewide awards at the expo. Brynmor won second place in biochemistry. Lucy won honorable mention in animal sciences.
Senior Juliah Ma, juniors Anders Perrone and Anthony Eden, and freshman Terrance Sun also presented at the Northwest Science Expo.
The Upper School Library and Pegasus are jointly celebrating National Poetry Month.
(Swans on St. Stephen's Green, Ireland. Photo by Sue)
I cannot see what flowers are at my feet,
Nor what soft incense hangs upon the boughs,
But, in embalmèd darkness, guess each sweet
Wherewith the seasonable month endows
The grass, the thicket, and the fruit-tree wild;
White hawthorn, and the pastoral eglantine;
Fast fading violets cover'd up in leaves;
And mid-May's eldest child,
The coming musk-rose, full of dewy wine,
The murmurous haunt of flies on summer eves.
--excerpt from "Ode to a Nightingale" by John Keats (1795-1821)
Come see the transformation of the windows as students write their favorite poems on the glass. Pick up a volume of poetry from one of our book displays, and revel in the beauty of poetry.
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, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Links to specific blogs
Middle and Lower School teachers use classroom pages more often than student blogs. The function is similar.
Lower School French
Rose Perrone ’10 and Vighnesh Shiv ’11 selected for 2010 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in San Jose
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.
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.
From the Winter 2010 Caller
Passion: jazz piano
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.”
From the Winter 2010 Caller
Passions: science, photography
Interests: diversity, dance, writing, languages
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
From the Winter 2010 Caller
Passion: community service
Interests: basketball, health care
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."
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