February 2016 Davidson Academy Prospective Student eNewsletter

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  Student to Student  Program Updates  Instructor Q&A  | THINK Summer Institute  | Student Activities  | In the News

  Student to Student

Hello, Prospective Students!

My name’s Haydn Bradstreet, and this is my fifth and final year here at the Davidson Academy. I was told to write about the things I “think a new student would be interested in learning about that hasn’t been covered in previous issues.” Well, the previous issues have been very thorough, but I will try my very best to make this little blip of information somewhat original. That said, I’ll start by listing some neat, lesser-known facts about the Academy to give you an idea of what daily life is like here:

  • One student used our brand new 3D printer (which we are all very excited to have!) to print a music box.
  • We have a metal light fixture next to our front staircase that looks like a pinecone.
  • The mezzanine overlooking the cafeteria/study hall area is called the Zen Den, which seniors can use to do work during their study halls.
  • A former student created a parody of Run–D.M.C.’s “It’s Tricky” based on the rules of conduct for our DECA chapter’s state conference. (Said student has since graduated, but her song lives on in the hearts and vocal cords of current DECA members.)1
  • We have a traveling trophy awarded monthly to students who help the community called “The Order of the Phoenix.” Some winners elect to hot-glue decorative flair to it, so now it has feathers, sequins, a flower, and a set of battery-powered Christmas lights (thanks to yours truly) attached to it.
  • Every year for the last five years, students have volunteered to bring in copious amounts of butterscotch pudding in celebration of National Butterscotch Pudding Day (which falls on September 19th every year).
  • The Science Club sells ice cream cooled by liquid nitrogen2 every year at the Fall Festival.
Okay, I’m going to get slightly more serious now for the parents3 and students contemplating an important decision. If I were to list everything I loved about the Academy, I’d be here for hours. Almost every other issue of the newsletter has talked about how amazing the teachers here are. Well, it may not be original, but it definitely bears repeating. The teachers are truly incredible as educators and, more broadly, as people. I can’t think of a single moment when I’ve been frustrated or unhappy with a teacher here. Not only are they reasonable with assignments and engaging to talk with, but they know precisely how to make the coursework challenging enough to not be boring, but lax enough to prevent over-stressing. Looking back on my time here, after taking a number of University of Nevada, Reno classes and seeing a broad-ish range of professors, I can only continue to be amazed by how incredible our teachers are. I don’t understand how they do it. Ask anybody here, they are the actual best.

I think that one of the most valuable things the Academy does is provide an environment where everyone’s not only able to let their quirkiness free (if you aren’t getting a slight nerd vibe already, just look at the list above), but also able to learn how to be a functional human being who can live and work in the real world. The friendships here are about depth, not breadth, which is fitting for a small school. I’ve made friends I can truly trust, and we’ve supported each other through our years at Davidson. Conversations and experiences with the close friends that I’ve met at the Academy have helped me get some grasp on my place in the world and the way I should interact with the people within it. The people here are brilliant, insightful, and motivated, and if you have the right mindset, you will never stop learning from them.

I came to Davidson and found an environment where I could be myself, make good friends, and immerse myself in the school experience (one that, despite a non-negligible amount of homework and studying, has been unambiguously rewarding to me). I am confident that coming to the Academy was the best decision I’ve made yet. And if what I just described sounds like something you want in a school, I’d highly suggest you come here, too.

  1. Some choice lyrics: “It’s DECA to be on time / 11 o’clock curfew at night / It’s DECA / It’s DECA, DECA, DECA, DECA.” And for those of you who don’t know, DECA is a business club that competes in an annual tournament in Las Vegas.
  2. We take precautions. And we have definitely never put liquid nitrogen into an empty Jarritos bottle before.
  3. I know you ignore the “Hello, Prospective Students,” heading.

~ Haydn Bradstreet, Davidson Academy Student


  Davidson Academy Program Updates

2016-2017 Application

If you think the Davidson Academy of Nevada may be the right fit for you, the application deadline of April 1 for the 2016-2017 school year is fast approaching! Visit the How to Apply page to access the online application system.

At the Davidson Academy, our mission is to offer you advanced educational opportunities designed to specifically serve your needs, interests and goals. In addition, we provide:
  • A Personalized Learning Plan (PLP) that serves as a tool to guide us in meeting your unique needs;
  • A wide range of courses and learning options, including: choices of levels of study to pursue in each of your courses; university courses; independent study opportunities; and research opportunities;
  • The opportunity to build friendships, pursue extra-curricular activities, contribute to the community, and learn with intellectual peers;
  • Access to the intellectual, cultural, athletic resources on the University of Nevada, Reno campus, the Reno/Tahoe area, and the beauty of the Sierra Mountains.
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. Please review the Qualification Criteria page of our website as these scores are mandatory for student eligibility. On the Application Review Process page, you will find detailed information about the on-site assessment.

  Meet Mr. Carter, Mathematics Instructor

What is your favorite part about working with Academy students?
First and foremost it is the fact that Davidson Academy students are here to learn! When they ask a question they want more than just a “yes” or “no” answer. They want understanding and extensions, and their questions often lead to a complete discussion of the concepts being studied and those soon to be studied. I also like the fact that small class sizes allow us to get to know the students as individuals.

How do you get students interested in the problem solving process?
I like to state the problems in ways that are interesting, fun and/or challenging. I make sure that my students see that I enjoy problem solving and try to share that joy with them. Most importantly I want them to learn the “beauty and power” of mathematics, so, as often as possible, I use application problems that demonstrate how math is used in their world presently or in their future. All students are willing to work harder if they see relevance to what they are doing.

In your opinion what are some of the coolest applications of mathematics in the world today?

Basically anything that has to do with optimization. Beginning in Algebra and working your way through Calculus you will find more and more tools to use for finding the best possible solution to real problems. I think this will be especially valuable in the “green” technologies of our future. And never forget, mathematics is a wonderful measuring tool in all of the sciences and engineering fields.

In your opinion what is the best aspect of being a student of the Davidson Academy of Nevada?

That’s easy because I often share this with students who are in their first year at the Academy. “You are all surrounded by brilliant students, but we are all brilliant in different ways. And different areas. The best thing about the Academy is that we get to learn from each other. We get to challenge each other.” I remind my students all the time that “we are smarter than me”; WE all have a voice and all contribute to the success of the learning community.


  THINK Summer Institute

The application deadline of April 1 for the Davidson 2016 THINK Summer Institute is fast approaching! THINK is a three-week residential summer program on the campus of the University of Nevada, Reno where students can earn six college credits by completing two University courses. The 2016 program will run from July 9 through July 30. Tuition is $3,500 and covers course credits, books and materials, room and board and the cost of planned activities. Need-based scholarships are available. To qualify, students from across the country must be 13 to 16 years old during the program and meet the minimum qualifying test scores. Homeschooled students are eligible to apply. Apply today!

  Student Activities

Academy Students Named Young Scholar Ambassadors

Congratulations to Aiden Choi, Pranit Nanda and Tim Novak who were recently named 2017 Davidson Young Scholar Ambassadors! The purpose of the Ambassador Program is to foster learning and civic engagement through community service, volunteerism and leadership in highly motivated and mature Young Scholars.

Record Number of National Merit Scholarship Finalists Announced

All 13 National Merit Scholarship Semi-Finalists from the Academy have been selected as 2016 National Merit Scholarship Finalists! Academy students Taryn Apel, Duncan Boren, Haydn Bradstreet, Holly Choma, Joseph Chou, Harry Fosbinder-Elkins, Brad Gephart, Connor Novak, Paul Novak, Adelaide Oh, Vandana Ravikumar, Giselle Serate and Angela Shao are among the 15,000 finalists across the country.

Academy Students Rock it at Math Competition

Featuring numerous Davidson Academy students (pictured below), the Northern Nevada Math Club (NNVMath) recently participated in the Math Rocks competitions, finishing with outstanding results! These competitions are social math events that challenge students in their ability to problem solve and encourage them to pursue an interest in math and related fields. Winners include the following Academy students:
  • Middle School Contest
    • Countdown Round – Ashwin Murty
    • Overall Individual:
      • 2nd Place – Aayan Patel
      • 3rd Place – Ashwin Murty
      • 4th Place – Asher Hansen
    • Team Awards:
      • 1st Place Team – Asher Hansen, Ashwin Murty and Aayan Patel
  • High School Contest, Overall Individual
    • 1st Place – Nathan McAlister

Academy student Giselle Serate (pictured, right) will receive the National Center for Women & IT (NCWIT) Affiliate award. The NCWIT Aspirations in Computing program engages young women interested in technology and computing. The program encourages their continued interest in computing and emphasizes at a personal level the importance of women's participation in computing and IT. Read Giselle's profile here.

Academy student Isabella Noonen was selected as a participant for the 2016 Washington Journalism and Media Conference, which will take place in Washington, D.C. this summer. Isabella will gain hands-on experience as she shares six days with more than 250 high achieving high school students from around the world.

The Davidson Academy Speech and Debate team recently advanced to the "Sweet 16" Round of the 2015-16 International Public Policy Forum (IPPF) Global Debate Competition. Sponsored by the Brewer Foundation and New York University, the IPPF is the first and only competition that gives high school students from around the world the opportunity to engage in written and oral debates on issues of public policy. By advancing, the students remain eligible to win a $10,000 grand prize. The Academy team is the only team from Nevada to advance this round. On February 29, the “Elite 8” teams will be announced. Those teams will travel to New York City on an all-expense-paid trip to the IPPF Finals.

Academy student Paul Novak was named a member of the National Youth Orchestra for the 2016 season as one of their first two apprentice composers! Paul will write a short new work for full orchestra over the next several months that will be professionally recorded. The apprenticeship will run this summer at Purchase College in New York.


  In the News

The Davidson Academy won the 25th Annual Nevada Science Bowl held in Las Vegas! The Academy team (pictured from left: Matthew Bauer, Rinik Kumar, Haydn Bradstreet, Paolo Adajar, Eric Liu and Coach Brett Guisti) defeated more than 30 high school teams, winning after nearly 11 hours of competition. The Academy received the first prize of $5,000, which will be used in the math/science department, and will represent Nevada in the Department of Energy's National Science Bowl in Washington D.C., this April. Sources: KOLO, Reno Gazette-Journal Photo courtesy of KOLO

The Academy Science Bowl team was also featured in a KRNV special during which they participated in a mini-competition against the KRNV news staff.

“‘Happy’ is too weak of a term to describe the way we feel within the Academy. In a totally-not-postmodern and utterly sincere way, I must say that I am in love with this place. My journey has almost come full circle . . . I wish that everyone could have the good fortune to grow up within this environment, and if you get the chance, well then: welcome home.”

Grace Hong, Davidson Academy Graduate


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