April 2016 Davidson Academy Prospective Student eNewsletter

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April 2016

  Student to Student

Hello, prospective students!

My name is Rhiannon Moore, and this is my third year at the Davidson Academy. It’s hard to believe this is only my third year; the Academy has become my home to such an extent that it seems like I’ve been here my whole life!

Applying can be sort of a scary process, but trust me, it’s definitely worth it. The Academy is an amazing school, from academics to community and everything in between. If you’ve read these newsletters before, you’ve probably already read about our engaging classes and helpful teachers, our strong sense of community and support, and it’s all true. Here at the Academy, you’ll find a learning community unlike that of any other school; the students are invested in their education and the teachers go above and beyond to foster that love of learning.

When I first started at the Academy, I was pretty nervous for a number of reasons. I was scared that I wouldn’t fit in, that the academics would be too hard, and that I would be expected to get perfect grades on everything. In the end, it turned out that I didn’t have anything to worry about! The community at the Davidson Academy is truly incomparable, and I definitely wish I would have known before I started just how welcoming everyone would be. I made lots of friends easily, and I was happy to find that everyone was very accepting and friendly. You may think that we’re all “nerds” here; while it’s certainly true that we value academics, there is so much more to us than that! Outside of academics, many students pursue a variety of extracurricular activities, from sports teams to orchestras to speech and debate.

The academics here aren’t always easy, but they aren’t meant to be! I can honestly say that I’ve learned more in the past three years at the Academy than I did at any of my other schools. The coursework here is never boring, and though some assignments may be challenging, the teachers are always more than willing to give every student the help they need to learn and grow. No one is ever expected to be perfect, either; there may be a few assignments where you don’t do so well, but you typically have the opportunity to redo them so that you can learn from your mistakes.

Being a student at the Davidson Academy has changed my life for the better in so many ways, and every day I’m so grateful that I decided to come to school here. I couldn’t imagine life without the Davidson Academy; this school has been my home ever since I walked through the door on my first day, and I hope you’ll make it your home, too. We’d love to have you!

~ Rhiannon Moore, Davidson Academy Student


  Davidson Academy Program Updates

The Right Fit for You?

While the deadline to submit applications for the 2016-2017 school year has passed, it’s not too early to think about 2017-2018. If you are looking for an environment to better fit your social and academic needs, the Davidson Academy of Nevada may be the place for you!

If you are interested in applying to the Davidson Academy for the 2017-2018 school year, the application will be posted this summer. Please review the Qualification Criteria and How to Apply pages of our website for more information. The Academy is specifically designed to meet the needs of profoundly gifted middle and high school students who score in the 99.9th percentile on IQ or college entrance tests. On the Application Review Process page, you will find detailed information about the on-site assessment.


  Meet Ms. Liou, Academy Instructor

What subjects do you teach at the Academy?

Right now I'm teaching Introduction to Literary Studies and the World Cinema elective. Next year I'll be teaching Critical Theory, which is our most advanced English class, as well as a new history course I'm designing called "Understanding the Post-9/11 World" and a philosophy elective based on the science fiction series Battlestar Galactica. I'm also looking forward to collaborating with the foreign language department on a Language Exploration course, in which I'll be responsible for German and Russian.

What is your favorite part about working with Academy students?

Our students are incredibly fun to teach. There are a lot of reasons for that: they're passionate about learning and they like to be challenged, which makes my experience as a teacher really rewarding. They're so excited about new ideas, and they have a confidence I've rarely seen in people their age. They're active in their communities, and it's wonderful to see what they create - their poetry and musical performances, academic achievements, and social projects. I think the best thing, though, is that they are good people. They hold themselves to high standards of behavior, and they do a really good job of respecting and supporting one another.

What are a few of the more interesting or challenging projects that you have assisted Academy students with?

In Lit Studies the students learn how to write a literary analysis essay, most notoriously over the course of one rather grueling unit in which they analyze the same short story through nine different lenses. It goes on for two months, and by the end the kids are pretty tired of that story - but they learn so much. It's rewarding to see the tremendous growth they experience. At the beginning most of them find the assignments very challenging, and by the end they've got it down. You can see them developing their voices as writers and becoming much sharper and more critical thinkers. There's nothing quite like opening up a piece of writing from a student who was floundering earlier in the semester and seeing this polished, careful analysis and smooth prose. At the other end of the writing spectrum, I'm really enjoying helping some of the seniors revise their graduation speeches. Everyone who speaks has two minutes, max, to encapsulate their experiences at the school, thank those who've helped them along the way, reflect on the process of learning and maturing, and express their hopes and dreams for the future. It's the end of an era for them, and watching them find ways to articulate their different perspectives in a way that speaks to everyone else, too, is fascinating.


  Davidson Academy DECA Participants

Aspiring young businesspeople from all over Nevada recently convened in Las Vegas for DECA’s annual State Career Development Conference (SCDC). DECA, a career and technical student organization founded in 1946, is an international association that aims to equip students with skills in marketing, management, entrepreneurship, finance, hospitality, and more. Through participation in DECA activities, high school students are not only equipped with vital college and career readiness skills, but are transformed into the confident, bright business leaders of the future.

Those who look back fondly on their own experiences as high school DECA members may be pleased to know that Nevada DECA is as strong as ever; this year’s conference drew in over 2,000 attendees from all over the state, making the event the largest gathering ever hosted by Nevada DECA. This year’s state conference events included new dimensions to complement familiar favorites. In addition to staples like competitive events, the conference also hosted leadership workshops, games, social gatherings, and more, leaving attendees with educational experiences and fond memories to last a lifetime.

Although most of the conference’s attendees are based in Southern Nevada, Northern Nevada DECA members are not to be underestimated. In particular, the Davidson Academy of Nevada’s DECA chapter, while only a fraction of the size of most other Nevada DECA chapters, has succeeded in competitive events at the state level and qualified for the international level of competition year after year. This year’s Davidson Academy delegation was no different, and the chapter even received recognition for having the highest number of competitive event victories in the state. Additionally, two Davidson Academy students received the honor of becoming state officers; juniors Maya Gupta and Hayley Haas were elected as this year’s State President and Northern Nevada Vice President, respectively.

Fourteen DECA members from the Davidson Academy chapter are currently attending the international conference (ICDC) in Nashville, where they are competing against thousands of DECA members from all over the nation. There, they hope to not only succeed in competition, but to continue developing business skills and having experiences that will serve them well for years to come. DECA’s teachings are invaluable on their own; however, the club is far from being just another extracurricular. The priceless connections and friendships formed between DECA members and chapters help cultivate life-changing experiences that students will cherish forever.

If you’re interested in starting a DECA chapter at your high school, learning more about Nevada DECA, receiving competition advice, and more, please contact Northern Nevada Vice President Hayley Haas here. Be sure to also check out Nevada DECA's website.


  Student Activities

Aiden Choi - 2017 Davidson Young Scholar Ambassador

Hello, my name is Aiden Choi. Recently, with the help of the Young Scholar Ambassador Program, I have become the founder of the new project, The Healthy Hydration Operation, or for short, The H2Operation. Our goal is both to educate those around us about the dangers of unhealthy drinks, particularly drinks with high levels of sugar, the number one cause of type two diabetes and obesity in America, and to promote water, the number one beverage for the purpose of hydration in the world. It has been shocking, learning about what we may be putting into our bodies. It is perhaps more shocking, the level of risks and problems that are caused by unhealthy beverages. I hope that this project will help to show people how sodas, energy drinks, and even fruit juices can affect them and that it will help them to be better able to make the healthier choices in the future. As the project continues, I hope to improve my communication skills, my research skills, and my leadership capabilities. Most important of all, this project is my chance to give back to my community.

Girl Scouts at the Academy

Wendy Thompson’s Girl Scout Silver Award project is bringing awareness to teachers about the needs of gifted children. It includes a website with a video of the presentation she created to share with teachers. The video gives some ideas of things that make gifted children feel included in class as well as more interested in their learning. She worked with James Delisle and Judy Galbraith, authors of Gifted Teen Survival Guide and many other books for the gifted population. Visit her website here.

Karly McCutcheon’s Girl Scout Gold Award project included developing a LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, etc.) College Connections Summit at the University of Nevada, Reno, in addition to founding and running a Sexuality and Gender Acceptance (SAGA) club at her school. She selected this project in hopes of benefitting her community’s LGBTQ+ teen population. Queer teens are the most likely teenage group to attempt or commit suicide, as well as become homeless before the age of 18. Encouraging any student to go to college is a very good thing, but marginalized groups such as the LGBTQ+ community sometimes need extra assistance in finding queer-specific resources, support and even scholarships.

Nevada Prize Exam

A number of students recently participated in the Nevada Prize Exam, a mathematics competition written by university professors and given to more than 600 students in the state. The following students were recognized for their outstanding results: Jason Liu - $400 as the first prize winner and $25 for the best paper in his school; Dhruv Rohatgi - $300 as the second prize winner; Justin Stevens - $200 as a third prize winner; Derek Chien, Ethan Lu, Nathan McAllister and Sarah MacHarg - $100 as Special Award winners; Rinik Kumar - $50 as an Honors Award winner; Jason Liu- $25 for the best paper in his school.

State MathCounts Competition

The Davidson Academy MATHCOUNTS team had a fantastic performance at the State Competition! The Academy team achieved first place in the Team Competition. Academy students Jason Liu and Derek Chien earned a spot at the national competition in Washington, D.C. Vish Ganesan earned 6th place overall in the state, and the rest of the Academy students were in the top half of the state’s best competitors.


  In the News

For the sixth consecutive year, the Davidson Academy has been ranked as one of the nation's "Top-performing schools with elite students" by the Washington Post's education columnist Jay Mathews. The 25 alphabetically-listed schools were excluded from the main Washington Post High School Challenge list of the best high schools in America because, "despite their exceptional quality, their admission rules and standardized test scores indicate they have few or no average students".

Academy Student Competing at Intel ISEF

Matthew Bauer was the grand prize winner at the 49th Annual Western Nevada Regional Science and Engineering Fair (WNRSF). Matthew will go on to compete in the Intel International Science & Engineering Fair (Intel ISEF) in Phoenix for his project, "Quantifying Levels of Circularized RNA from RNA sequencing data". Source: KRNV


“One thing that makes the Academy stand out to me is that I don't have only students for friends, but some of my teachers as well. Whether it's talking about concerts with my math teacher, learning how to play guitar from my history teacher, or getting life advice from my yearbook teacher, the staff understands that although academics are important, there is more to life than sitting in a classroom and they are willing to help us find a perfect balance. ”

Dylan Bowman, Davidson Academy Graduate


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