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Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Installation artist, senior

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passions: creating art installations, outdoor exploration
Interest: track & field

“For my first art project I hung an old picture frame with a picture of a galaxy set into it on the big, inviting blank wall of the science building, hung to appear like a window of the building itself. Another time I set up a spider’s web of wires, with tin can phones on the ends, connecting six trees in the campus forest. You could hear the sounds of the trees groaning in the wind through the wires.
 
I have two projects right now of trees wrapped in string. There’s almost nothing more stereotypically organic than a tree, and the strings contrast as a straight line you don’t often see in nature.
 
Art is a key facet of how I see myself. I enjoy the outdoor program just as much. I’ve been to truly amazing places not many people know of, and seen many wonderful things. These trips are a source of inspiration, and I think about these places every day.
 
My art is a product of wanting to explore methods, tools, and ideas—and wanting to do something different for the first time. It’s realizing my daydreams and not always about other people seeing it. It’s very personal.

Sometimes something clicks and I think about an idea a lot. The vast majority of ideas I come up with are things I’ll never do, but that’s not an unfortunate thing. Is that art? Thinking about it, for me, is as important as the actual creation.”

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Computing researcher, senior

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passion: computer science
Interests: robotics, Go, mycology

“My research in computer science is an evolving project. At the end of my sophomore year I found a book in teacher Andrew Merrill’s office. I devoured it in a few months, and it changed how I thought about computer science and algorithms. So the beginning of my junior year I got interested in starting serious research on functional programming. Andrew let me do an independent study so that I could focus on my research. We meet once a week to talk about my research. He gives great suggestions on new directions.
 
I began to explore the practical applications of functional programming, and this turned into my science fair project. I showed how to use something called effect types to convert a program that doesn’t use parallel processing to one that does. I ended up publishing and presenting my research at the International Symposium on Application and Implementation of Functional Languages.
 
I work a lot on my computer but as much time in my research notebook, doing proofs and sketching ideas. I like working on the robotics team, writing software. I like to play Go for the social aspects of the game. I like to solve problems.
 

The idea of having a machine that can exhibit intelligent behavior was very exciting to me, and it’s the main reason I became interested in computer science. Creating a thing that has creativity, intelligence, and knowledge is like creating life.”

Mt. Hood ski extravaganza

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The perfect weekend

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On a flawless weeek ten students from Catlin Gabel school took the Nordic ski challenge and skied from Timberline Lodge down to Government Camp.  Twice!  With ideal snow conditions, these students, many of them new to the sport of cross country skiing skied down the Glade Trail all the way to Government Camp.  It was so much fun they decided to do it again.  Admittedly on the first run there were a few falls, several per minute actually, but soon everyone got the hang of it and they made the 2000 foot descent with style and whoops of laughter.  That night everyone stayed in the Huckleberry Inn and wandered beneath the stars through this Alpine village.  On Sunday the group completed a ten mile ski tour in the Bennett Pass area east of Mt. Hood.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 The Last sign of Alex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Actor, researcher, senior

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passions: theater, scientific research
Interests: journalism, teaching & mentoring

“I’m co-editor of CatlinSpeak, our student newspaper. Working for the paper is always fun, and I love when we hear from others that our writers are doing something valuable. My hope is to pursue a senior project in journalism. I’d like to work for a college paper someday.
 
Acting is a great challenge. When you’re doing it right—and this has only happened to me a few times—you forget anyone’s watching. In the big triumphs, you walk off stage and feel like you’re still on because you’re still that other person. Acting is a chance to study the life of someone else. I learn something each time I play a role.

I have an internship at Shriners Hospital, which is a part of OHSU. I found a niche in a lab that studies structural protein in connective tissue, and its relation to symptoms of Marfan syndrome. I study mice for connections between genetics and physical appearance, and even made a discovery over the summer. The moment I looked at a slide I had made and realized I was seeing something no one had ever seen before was thrilling. It’s wonderful to know I’ve helped with research that has the potential to help people. The science community is full of quirky, intelligent people, and I get to talk with the people I work with about things I couldn’t learn from anyone else.”

 

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Singer-songwriter, artist, senior

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passions: guitar, singing, visual art

“I like songs that tell or imply stories. It’s a form of communication, a different language. When you’re playing with others or singing together you establish an understanding that’s hard to find anywhere else. Once a week on campus about seven of us eat lunch, talk about music, play, and sing, which I love. I’ve also done some performing locally.

 When you play something crisp and simple, someone will remember it more than a blazing guitar solo. Last summer I went on a creative binge and wrote and recorded 20 songs that were sort of folk-bluegrass-rock. From the first song I wrote to the last, they got quieter, more delicate.
 
I’ve also become more prolific visually. I’m getting more into sculpture, have done a lot of drawing and painting, and have started throwing pots after school. I consider it a constant experiment. I like working with layers and layers as I figure out the medium.
 
It’s hard to separate visual art and music from each other. They inform each other. If I can’t communicate something on paper, I can turn it into a song.
 
More and more I like working with people. This is my first year as a peer helper, and learning to listen is important. It’ll come to my generation to communicate to people. Whether you’re communicating through music, or learning a language, or interacting with others, there’s so much to be gained and nothing to be lost by making a connection and trusting someone.”

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Computer scientist, junior

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passions: computer science, game development
Interest: robotics

“Last summer I did programming at OHSU in the radiation oncology department, which deals in cancer research and treatment. I worked side by side with a medical physicist from China, Dr. Junan Zhang. I was the main programmer on many small projects that would contribute to cancer research in some way.
 
My main work involved the CT scanner, which produces a series of images of the patient in slices. I wrote a program to help researchers and doctors view this image data, which before was not easy to use. I found a way to convert the files to a picture format they can view, and I developed the user interface design that made it easier to see and use the images. Among other work, we also wrote a program that made it significantly faster for the image data to compile, because before there was a very long delay before cancer researchers could get the results.
 
It was a meaningful experience for me. I had never had a job before, and at OHSU I was in a professional environment with scientists.
 
I do computer science on my own time. I’ve been working on a 3D game engine, a graphics library for the GameBoy Advance, and a compiler for my own programming language, called Hayaku. I don’t know what the future holds. I may go back to OHSU during breaks to work on my projects some more. I’m still in contact with Dr. Zhang to help with any code I’ve written. I’m interested in math and science, but I’m not as passionate about them. My driving passion is for computer science.”

 

Interests, Passions, Magnificent Obsessions: Writer & explorer, senior

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From the Winter 2010 Caller

Passions: writing poetry and prose, outdoor exploration
Interest: environmental studies

“I’ve always been observational. I was quieter when I was young, and lines of poetry came together naturally. Writing is satisfying, a way for me to sift it all. I write precisely and slowly. Sometimes I’m frustrated because the ideas come but the words don’t, and I just sit there for 45 minutes. But eventually I get where I want to be.

Starting in 8th grade I got good feedback on poetry that I’d written and was pointed to entering contests. I got self-motivated from the contests that I won. But mostly I won because I kept on throwing stuff out there, and some of it stuck. I found out that poetry is not just childhood rhymes but is about seeing emotion in the world—and it’s an art form that gets to people.

Sometimes I can’t make sense of a situation until I write it down in poetry. I get the same release through words that I get in mountain climbing or rock climbing. The outdoor program has influenced my poetry. My recent poems have all been about nature and being outdoors. It’s a challenge: loads of people write about nature, so can I as a teenaged girl say anything new about it?

My class in environmental science and policy is really important to me now. I’ve changed my second choice of major to environmental studies. I see my role in poetry, but environmental studies is about the physical side of life. It’s affected my decisions about eating, shopping, how you get places. You can’t not pay attention to these things. My general job is to change.”

 

 

Robotics team wins top honor at regional competition, qualifies for world championships in Atlanta

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Catlin Gabel's Upper School robotics Team 1540 won the prestigious Chairman's Award at the Oregon regional competition for their extensive support of other teams. Check out the three-minute Chairman’s Award video created by Tucker Gordon and Henry Gordon http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IxPocQQC5Cs.

The Chairman's Award qualifies Team 1540 (the Flaming Chickens) to compete at the world championships in Atlanta, April 14–18. This is the fourth consecutive year Catlin Gabel’s robotics team has qualified for the world championships, the most of any team in the Northwest.

Junior Henry Gordon ’11, marketing manager, fabrication co-manager, and Middle School FIRST LEGO league coach, was one of two finalists for the Oregon regional FIRST dean’s list for student leadership and commitment to the ideals of FIRST, as well as for contributions to his team and community. Henry is in the running for one of 10 FIRST dean’s list awards granted at the World Championships.

Congratulations, Flaming Chickens!

Follow Your Passions!

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By Lark P. Palma, PhD, Head of School

From the Winter 2010 Caller

Five o’clock on a South Carolina summer morning. My rounds started early, for a young girl. First I took care of my horse, Cricket—feeding, mucking, a ride on the beach, then out to pasture. Then I attended to my 35 rabbits, gathered eggs from the six red hens that scratched around the house, and released the ducks to the creek. Finally I wrangled Thistle the collie and Ginger the lamb for walks on their leashes.

Animals were my first great passion—and my parents allowed me to have them if I cared for them well and showed responsibility. I was filled with the same passion when I first played school in my room, lining up all of my stuffed animals and dolls, assigning arbitrary grades from A to F and relegating some to smart status, some not so smart. At school I watched with rapt attention how my teachers would teach us. At home I would either try to do it the same way or try to modify the techniques that didn’t work for my little class.

It was not until I became a teacher myself that I understood that, as someone with a passion for teaching, I could go beyond what’s expected and work with students to realize their own personal goals and passions. I finally saw that the very best model for teaching and learning centers on the relationship between the student and the teacher. What happens collectively as a class is important, but the one-on-one time a student and teacher have together is the most critical element.

It was a breakthrough for me when I realized that and learned—thanks to Roland Barthes, John Dewey, and others—that children are not receptacles for knowledge from adults, but teeming petri dishes of their own ideas and imaginations. How little my teachers in the fifties and sixties understood that—although teachers in Ruth Catlin and Priscilla Gabel’s schools certainly did get it.

Catlin Gabel is a school where teachers are drawn to teach, and we select them to do so, because they understand how children’s minds work, and they want to be surrounded by colleagues who feel the same.

This Caller is filled with stories of alumni and students who have pursued interests, passions, and yes, even obsessions. Graduates who fall into this category are legion, and the students and alumni represented here are just a small sample. Why would a school of this size produce so many people who lead with their passions and know themselves well enough to do that?

For one, Catlin Gabel provides an unfettered, free-ranging approach to solving problems, approaching assignments, and celebrating process over product. I learned to be a good rider because I studied my horse, paying heed to her temperament and the look in her eye, and treating her in a way that reflects that knowledge. In the same way, the students profiled here, whether involved in a sport, an academic pursuit, or an art, learn the value of deep concentration and focused attention. For example, visual artists, like the ones you’ll read about, see relationships among all disciplines, in color and in shapes, and takes those elements to create an original. But mostly, we at Catlin Gabel encourage students fully and unabashedly to follow their passions. And of course, there is the child herself, who has the gift inside. Parents, teachers, and the overarching ethos of the school only undergird those passions.

Alumnus, alumna, or current student, their uniqueness binds us all together and makes for a very, very interesting place to teach. Enjoy these stories.

 

Girls Cross-Country Ski Trip

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 We set out for the mountain on a warm, sunny Saturday morning, ready for anything. We arrived at Teacup Lake, packed our day-packs, and slathered on sunscreen. Who knew summer arrived in February?! There were several beginner skiers and they all picked up the sport easily, quickly wanting to take the most difficult trails and ski down hills. The first big hill we went down was intimidating at first, but we all skied down it, and were proud of ourselves at having accomplished that. We lunched in a sunny patch with a spectacular view of the mountains.

After lunch we discussed our options. The girls had a choice between lots of short trails or one big long trail (the challenge trail), and they opted for the challenge trail. We started off, and although they claimed they were tired, the girls set a fast pace. When we got to a fork with a big hill or a flat section, they always chose the hill. We took several breaks along the long trail until we got to another fork where we had a big decision to make. We could go the short, flat way back to the bus, or we could go up a big hill (Screamer Hill), and then down a fast, steep hill. In the end, they all chose to go up the steep, long hill. Although this hill was a struggle, they all made it look easy, and were proud of themselves at the top.
 
We skied back to the bus and drove to the lodge. After storing our stuff in our room we went outside to build a lifelike snowwoman, sled, and “surf. As it got dark we came inside to warm up, and get cozy. We played foosball, pool, ping-pong, and Life before dinner was served. Lots of hot cocoa was sipped. After dinner we watched a VHS version of Mrs. Doubtfire before debriefing the day and settling into our sleeping bags.
 
 
 
 
 
We woke the next morning and ate breakfast before discussing the plan for the day. The girls wanted to ski somewhere where they could make their own trail and avoid groomed tracks, and eventually selected White River. The girls also wanted to pour maple syrup on the snow like they do in Canada, and so after a little cajoling, several of them went and asked for some syrup. After their sugary treat, they sledded for a while before we headed to White River to ski.
 
 
 
We made our way up the canyon with the girls leading the way through the trees. The snow was heavy and deeper than the day before as we were not on a groomed trail. At this point we came to a steep hill above a snow bridge over a small creek that the girls wanted to cross and continue into the trees. We explored this area for a while, not without a few tumbles, before skiing back to the open part of the canyon to find steep hills to slide down. We skied on a bit further and up a ridge before returning to our first slide. At the end of the day we piled into the bus and headed home, with a quick stop for doughnuts on the way.
 
 

 

CG and Nepali students meet to talk about fast food

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Sattya Media Arts Collective presents Catlin Gabel youth media exchange

Invitation for young people in Kathmandu to meet with visitors from Catlin Gabel School in Portland, Oregon, USA

If you have anything to say about the arrival of corporate food culture in our city, take part in a discussion with youth from the country where it all began—United States.  Exchange points of view and discuss the recent coming of KFC and Pizza Hut to Kathmandu with youth from Catlin Gabel, a high school in Portland, Oregon.

Portland is well known for being a progressive, environmentally conscious city where all things local, organic, and fairly traded thrive.  While fast food outlets exist there, a growing number of people actively support locally owned restaurants and farmers, as well as the globally renowned Slow Food Movement.
The Slow Food Movement was founded in 1989 to counteract fast food and fast life, the disappearance of local food traditions and people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from, how it tastes and how our food choices affect the rest of the world.”

Is fast food something American young people support? What role does fast food play in their lives? What kind of food choices do their families make? What kind of image do fast food companies portray through advertising? Is fast food especially popular among their friends? Is it popular with any particular segments of American society? Would they like to work at a fast food chain?

On March 6, prior to the discussion, we will screen the movie, Food, Inc., which examines how today’s “food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment.”

Since the recent establishment of KFC and Pizza Hut (both owned by Yum! Brands, “The World’s Largest Restaurant Company”), people in Kathmandu have quickly embraced them open arms, not addressing any of the major concerns voiced by people who have been eating fast food for decades. So let’s ask some questions.

Do Nepali consumers really know what they are getting? Why have people been lining up to eat at KFC and Pizza Hut? Is fast food cool?  Is it a status symbol? What does it mean to Nepal’s culture now that it is here? For our environment? For our health? For our local farmers? Who is making the profits? Why should we care? What can we do?

Join us on Saturday, March 20, 9 a.m.–noon, at Today’s Youth Asia venue at Babermahal Revisited for a fun, informative conversation with youth from the United States. If you are 15-18 years old and interested in taking part, email us as soon as possible at collective@sattya.org.

We will screen the movie on Saturday, March 6, at Crehpa (time to be decided). Nepali participants are required to attend the screening prior to the program on March 20.
 

Questions posed to Nepalese student applicants:

Do you know where your foods come from?

What is your diet like? What do you wish it was like?

What do you think about KFC and Pizza Huts’ presence here?

What is your perception of America and from where have you gathered this perception?

Which TV channels do you prefer to watch and why?

Making Global Trips a Community Experience

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Global trips have served as an extremely powerful experience for the lucky children and adults who get to go but have had limited value for the rest of the community. The students who traveled have an amazing memory that is difficult to explain to their peers. Their assembly presentations often feel disconnected, out of context in the daily life of the school. The students who stayed home have little understanding of what happened during the trip. Beginning and Lower school students are only vaguely aware of the experiences of their older peers. What if our entire school community could participate in each trip that goes out, even though they were not traveling themselves?

In recent years, Catlin Gabel’s global trips have become increasingly “academic,” with students seeking to better understand specific topics through travel. Students have studied history, culture, language, comparative religion, and natural history while abroad. The trips slated for 2010-11 make this trend more explicit and specific, exploring topics such as …

These topics provide experiential subject matter that directly relate to the current subject matter in many of our classes. What if we integrated the current year’s global trips into our courses? All students would participate in a shared, compelling learning experience. They would learn how the typical school content and skills relate to real-world issues in international locations. They would have first-hand contact with peers who travel to these destinations and either virtual first-hand or second-hand contact with individuals in those countries.

The traveling students would serve as school ambassadors for a collective learning effort, carry their questions to the destination country, and report back to the community what they discovered, either live or after the trip. They would experience their trip in the context of a schoolwide effort rather than in isolation.

We hereby invite you to integrate instruction on next year’s trips into your lessons, enriching your courses and our whole community through these travel experiences.
 

Mock trial team advances to state

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Both the blue and white mock trial teams had a great day at the 2010 regional trial. The Blue Team advances to state to compete against the best teams in Oregon. This year’s case, State v. Lane, is a criminal case where the defendant, a rap artist, is charged with inciting a riot and arson.

Congratulations to Catlin Blue team members Talbot Andrews, Conor Carlton, Becky Coulterpark, Eli Coon, Nina Greenebaum, Andrew Hungate, Grace McMurchie, Kate McMurchie, Megan Stater, and Leah Thompson.

Catlin White team members include Rohisha Adke, Amanda Cahn, Rachel Caron, Audrey Davis, Layla Entrikin, Brian Farci, James Furnary, Mira Hayward, Thalia Kelly, Jackson Morawski, Grant Phillips, Charlie Shoemaker, Henry Shulevitz, Curtis Stahl, Lynne Stracovsky, Terrance Sun, Karuna Tirumala, and Michael Zhu.
 

Students lead CG response to Haiti earthquake, community raises $28,000

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The world looked on in horror when the January 12 earthquake rocked Haiti. Immediately, Catlin Gabel students of all ages got to work organizing fundraisers to help the devastated island. Alumna Caitlin Carlson ’00, communications officer for Mercy Corps, came to campus to talk to about the essential need for cash in the coming months. We set up a web page aimed at inspiring students and consolidating our community efforts. Student-led bake sales and the Lower School read-a-thon raised $28,000 for Haitian earthquake relief. Our contributions will make a difference in Haiti: $16 provides a child’s "comfort kit” that includes a blanket, sketchpad, crayons and toys, $43 buys 110 pounds of rice, and $75 equips a Port-au-Prince resident for two weeks of recovery work.

Kevin Ellis and Yale Fan describe their award-winning projects

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Recorded at the upper school assembly of February 18, 2010.

Paulina Lake XC Ski, February 2010

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Paulina Lake XC Ski, February 2010

An ambitious trip (with inauspicious beginnings) hits big!

This past Valentines Day, a group of eight students and three trip leaders met at Catlin for an adventure into the snow and wilderness.  It started with a drive to Bend over Santiam pass.  There was no snow on the road and we were concerned that there would be little snow at Paulina Lake.  Fortunately, we were able to score some firewood from a dentist who served lemonade (long story).

We stopped in Bend to rent XC skis, boots, and poles (note for the future: purchase insurance--more later).  We drove to Tenmile sno-park, 30 miles south of Bend where we donned our skis and headed off into the snow at around 2:00pm.  There were, unfortunately, a great many snowmobilers.  The students were not impressed by the snowmobilers.

We skied until near dusk on a fairly difficult trail.  Though a couple of students were challenged, most of the skiers were successful, despite relatively heavy packs, and we made a decision nearing sundown about whether to continue.  Our namesake was the deciding vote in pushing on, and we made easy mileage to the lake along the groomed trail.  Once at the lake, we again had to make way over challenging terrain.  Darkness was following and our leaders made a wrong turn and there was some heated debate as to how best to proceed.  We turned around and made our way back to the lake where there was easy skiing along the shore.  Once the going got difficult again, we decided to make camp in a gorgeous stretch along the frozen shore.

We made an extensive camp with tents, a kitchen, and a fireplace with benches.  Food was warm and spirits were high.  A few extra jackets and layers were distributed and everybody was warm.  We debriefed and, though most lows were about our time on the wrong trail, students were happy.  We went to sleep around 11pm with students assuring me that they were warm with hot water bottles, dry clothes, etc.

Monday morning was about 30 degrees and very pretty.  It took nearly three hours (!) to pack up camp.  We then skied back to the groomed trail and made a push toward the Paulina summit.  Students happily self-distributed among like skill levels.  There was a very competitve race to the highpoint.  The trip leader did not win this race.  We then all turned around and raced back down the hill.  The trip leader did win this race, though the assistant trip leader believes that it may not have been as fair as she wold have liked.

A long ski down brought us back to the bus where we were once again greeted by the "power sledders."  We drove back home over Santiam pass.  The students were happy and excited the whole way home.  When we got back to campus, we had the whole group help clean up the gear and put materials back in the OP shed.  Students were dismissed at 7pm and all went home to warmth and coziness. 

So put on a mix tape and watch the slideshow!

 

 

 

 

Student government presents cell phone guidelines

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Letter to Upper School students and faculty

Hello Everyone,

The moment you’ve all been waiting for has arrived. We have decided on a cell phone “policy.” Throughout all of our discussion, the experiments, and the survey, we have always sought a solution that would preserve and improve the social atmosphere on campus. We have also sought a solution that could be accepted by everyone and embraced so as to work not as a top-down rule that required enforcement, but as an organic initiative. We believe in the responsibility of students here and we also believe their opinions matter, because they define the culture of the school. When people wrote in the survey that they need their cell phones during the day in order to manage their calendar and call their parents and organize their carpools, we took that into account. When other people said that they enjoyed the decreased use of cell phones during the first experiment, we listened to that also. Combining all of these sources of input and keeping our original goals in mind, we came up with a policy.

First of all, there can be no use of cell phones in the classroom. This is already an established rule, but must be acknowledged and upheld by students in order to prove our level of responsibility with cell phones and also to prevent cell phones from interfering with the educational productivity of the school. There also are no cell phones allowed at assembly as a common courtesy to the presenter and to everyone present.

Cell phones also cannot be used in the library in accordance with the rules set by the librarians. The library is a place for studying and the potential of cell phones to disturb others is great.

Cell phones cannot be used in the science building either. The science building does not contain any common (lounge) spaces and so students in the science building are in class (where cell phones are not allowed anyway).

These four restrictions are not new, but they must be adhered to in order to preserve our responsibility for our own cell phone use. The new aspect of our policy is to restrict cell phone use at school to practical purposes only. If you need to use a calendar that’s okay, if you need to call your parents that’s also okay, if you need to find a friend who you’re supposed to be meeting with to work on your history project that’s okay too. However, cell phones cannot be used for social purposes. Don’t text your friends who are elsewhere when there are so many interesting, amiable people around who you can talk to face to face. Don’t abandon a conversation with the person in front of you in order to take a phone call from another friend who is elsewhere. And when you are utilizing your cell phone for a practical purpose, use it conscientiously. Don’t text your parents while you’re talking to someone else. Don’t talk on your cell phone in a place where people are trying to study or talk or sleep. Basically, don’t be rude. During the school day you can use your cell phone when you need to, but do so in an unobtrusive way that doesn’t hinder your own or anyone else’s ability to enjoy their surroundings and this school.

If everyone embraces this idea of having a healthy social community, this plan will be a success. So only use your cell phones when you have to (for non-social purposes), use them discreetly, and encourage your friends to do the same.

Thank you in advance, everyone, for making this endeavor a success.

—Your CGSA

(Catlin Gabel Student Association)

Take Kindle for a spin

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Overnight checkout available through IT department

The Information Technology department now has an Amazon Kindle available to families for overnight checkout to evaluate whether or not they might wish to purchase one. The IT office is located in the upper level of the Vollum Humanities Building. Please email IT@catlin.edu if you wish to reserve the Kindle.

At this time, we do not anticipate formal school adoption of the Kindle or other electronic book reader, but we would like to support families that are interested in them.

Some Kindle features

The Kindle and other e-readers use a new kind of screen called "digital ink." As opposed to conventional display screens, digital ink screens do not use a backlight. The screen is easier on the eyes than a laptop screen and remains visible in bright daylight. Because the Kindle is not backlit you can't use it in the dark without an additional light source.

The Kindle does a good job increasing text size, changing screen direction, and altering the number of words displayed per line.

The Kindle can store up to 1,500 books at one time. It can display documents in the Amazon, Word document, HTML,  text, and PDF formats. It can also play MP3 and Audible files. Some file formats require conversion through Amazon's email system.

The Kindle can read the text on the screen aloud but it does so poorly and really isn't useful as a text-to-speech tool.

The Kindle includes some bookmarking and annotation features.

Note taking was difficult. It was uncomfortable to use the small keyboard to add text.

The battery lasts a long time—up to two weeks if you don't make extensive use of the wireless browsing capabilities.

The Kindle includes a web browser and wireless connectivity that uses the same 3G network used by cell phones. There is no charge for the wireless connectivity at this time. The Kindle must be registered in order to use the wireless capabilties.

Books sold by Amazon for the Kindle are sold in a proprietary format that can only be read using Amazon software. Currently, that software is available for the Kindle, Apple's iPhone, and Microsoft Windows. Amazon is working on software to read Kindle format books on Mac OSX and Blackberries.

Once you register your Kindle device with Amazon, you may purchase additional texts with one click. This could be a liability if you lend your device to someone else.

Some colleges, including Reed, have experimented with using these devices in their instructional program. We do not yet know whether these colleges are planning large-scale adoption. Read about Reed's experiment.

Other e-readers include the Barnes & Noble Nook and the Sony eReader. Reviewers suggest that they each have their pros and cons.

The Kindle may prove useful to students who seek the convenience of an e-reader or benefit from the additional features such as changing text size. These devices are an example of an emerging technology, and we will watch their capabilities as the technology matures.

 

In the news: Larry Hurst and his lecture on green alternatives to burial

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Beaverton Valley Times article, January 2010

Larry Hurst will deliver the Esther Dayman Strong Lecture on this topic on Tuesday, Febraury 16, at 7 p.m. in the Cabell Center. Free and open to the public.