Becoming Involved

This past year, and primarily these last few months, I have become more and more involved with coaching our team girls at the gym. This summer I’m going to be even more involved and it’s just been interesting to see my own progression over time as a coach.

I’ve been coaching somewhat since I was 10. At that point, I was helping mostly just with camps and birthday parties and I was also still competing myself. Then I’m not really sure of the order of what happened next. At some point, I started choreographing my own floor routines and then was asked to help teach floor routines to younger team kids, then started dreaming up some big group routines that I eventually brought to life. Then I guess I started subbing for people from time to time and then started choreographing floor routines for more team girls, and everything just kept escalating basically to the point where now I actually am being asked to work more with the younger team girls.

I got a thank you note/end of the year gift from the girl I coach/do acro with and it was really sweet (also reminded me she’s only just about 10 years old). It’s one of the few thank you notes I’ve received from a gymnast I’ve coached and it just got me thinking about how sometimes you don’t really realize when you’re slowly becoming more involved with some kind of work. The note was also a great reminder of the best part about coaching: impacting the kids.


Trailblazers Issue 2

What better way to kick off the new year than with another issue of Trailblazers, the student-driven magazine about the Education Transformation Movement! Hear from a new group of passionate learners about how they’re getting involved with the movement as we continue on our journey to provide student voices into the world of education with this second issue.

Making History with History

CkzOpSPUUAASLvp.jpgIf you didn’t watch tonight’s Tony Awards then you missed out on a night of magic! The energy in the room where it happened was hotter than the sun and you could feel it through the TV. It was great seeing everyone’s smiling faces and hearing the thankful words and watching the breathtaking performances!!!

Hamilton won 11 awards I believe out of the record breaking 16 nominations, thus making history with their historic story. I wish that I could see the show myself, and after their performances (yes that’s right performances- plural– hey had an encore!!!!) I wish even more that I could experiance the story in person.

The way the Hamilton team has made history come to life is game changing not just for the world of theater, but I believe the world of education too. If you searched twitter around the time of the APUSH exam you would find millions of kids around the nation claiming to have “made it through the year in APUSH” because of Hamilton; and most of these kids haven’t even seen the show, they’ve only listened to the soundtrack and still learned so much!

Imagine if every history class could engage students as much as Hamilton does. Imagine if every class could help teach kids in the way that Hamilton does: experiencing the story rather than just being told the story, and thusly remembering it better.

Congrats to all Tony Award winners and James Corden for a hilarious hosting job; the hard work of everyone in the show biz does not go unnoticed at least by this young actress! The theater is a magical place where stories come to life, audiences get glimpses of beauty, and dreamers have no limits. Raise you glass to the theater!

TIPster for Life


It’s hard to describe emotions. It’s even harder to describe deep emotions. And it’s even harder to describe how I felt today after leaving TIP for the last time.

I still haven’t really processed it, and I don’t really want to. TIP has meant so much to me over the years. It’s been more than just a place for learning about math. I’ve made life long friends and had experiences that can’t be replicated anywhere else.

Last nights’ talent show was beautiful and hilarious and depressing and all around one of the most powerful moments of friendship. We had everything from solving a rubric cube while jump roping on one foot, to kazoo dub step, to disney flute duets, to 4th year traditions, to a medley of all of the TIP tradition songs. All 37 acts made for a great show that made for a spectacular end to my last term.

I may not remember every individual act, but I will remember being a part of a crowd of cheering people, celebrating the talents of one another and the memories of the past, present, and future. I will remember going back to our dorms and signing term books into the wee hours of the night. I will remember the 4th year tradition of us being taken in groups to a Mexican restaurant at 2am to order food and come back to eat all together. I will remember the awesome 4th year girls and our RCs that stayed up all night sharing food and stories while playing games. I will remember Sarah getting Yahtzee at 5:45 at which point gravity was laughing at us. I will remember going outside at 6am for one last American Pie with all of the 4th yearers our on the circle quad; singing and crying our hearts out as one.

I will remember getting onto a bus at 9am and looking out of the window at a crowd of crying people that came to wish us all goodbye one last time. And as we drove by, I remember thinking, “Ohana means family, and family means no one gets left behind or forgotten.”

Some TIPsters I’ve known for 3 weeks. Others 4 years. All of them feel like family. And together we are at home. You may leave from time to time, but in the end you always find your way back home.

Discovering and Striving for Impact

A lot happened today. Specifically a lot of design thinking activities.

Today we started by doing a little research about sustainable features that we would like to incorporate into our big projects. Then everyone picked one of the 5 sustainable features that they chose, and one of the 5 biomimicry features that we came up with earlier in the week. I decided on incorporating the Fibonacci sequence and also a green wall (a vertical wall indoors with vegetation growing on it that naturally cleans the air), both of these features also require making a building with lots of natural light which I will also mess around with.

From here we were randomly placed into pairs with one group of 3 (that’s my group). The groups will be creating buildings that incorporate all 4, or 6 in my case, features. This requires some interesting thinking, so we did another “yes and” activity where we made a story for our building.

My group will be designing a tree house home for a family of 5 living in the woods of California. Eventually I will post more about this as the project goes on, but besides some random features and brainstorming, that is as far as we are.

For our evening activity we did a design thinking challenge with the Futures students. First we got 7 minutes at a time (we got one and then were told the 2nd later) to answer these 2 questions:

How long is 10,000 years?

How can we make something last for 10,00 years?


(My team’s brainstorm.)

Then there were 3 challenge questions that were distributed amongst the groups that each had to do with the initial 2 questions.

My group got this question: What can we build to encourage thinking and responsibility for the next 10,000 years?

Truthfully, we were stuck for a long time. We had some brainstorms, and I really found it interesting to work on a design thinking challenge with people who probably barely ever do them; I do them a lot. I definitely felt some tension in the group especially with the 15 minute time crunch, and there was never a time of establishing group norms like “all ideas are good ideas”. This through me off on my thinking a little bit because I have become so use to working with people that do these challenges all of the time.

How might we establish a quick way to make it not matter how many design thinking challenges you have done? (Not my best worded question, but the idea is there.)

We also had 2 different skypes today. The first was with one of the region presidents of AIS (I think thats the name) which is a non-profit organization that is specifically about architecture, but you don’t have to be an architect to participate in the service activities and the design conferences that they do. Interestingly, we discovered that the program  has things for high schoolers to do as well, so I plan on looking into that more.

This guy isn’t even an architect, but he is fascinated by design thinking and specifically loves the mentoring part of his job. He also really pushed the idea of how fun conferences are, and I can imagine based off of things I’ve heard about DT conferences. (I want to go!)

The second guy we talked to tonight works with a group designing an interactive clock that is meant to last for 10,000 years underground in the Bay area. This is another big design thinking challenge that is going on in the world, and he talked to us about the process and progress of his work.

I noticed today how much design thinking has become apart of my life. It is everywhere, and it’s weird to me that some people are just discovering it. I also noticed how many opportunities there are for people that work with design thinking, and they all sounded like so much fun, and impactful. The AIS guy today said, “People now a days don’t want to just do things as a job, they want to make an impact.”

It’s true, I want to make an impact. I can’t wait to look into these things more and see what opportunities there are.