For seven days in mid March, 44 fearless students and faculty members participated in the second annual Social Media Blackout Week Challenge sponsored by the Greenhills Mindfulness Club. For all seven days, participants logged out of their social media accounts (i.e., Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc.) and tracked their daily participation in a shared Google Doc.
After a successful six-week build season, three district competitions, and a strong effort at the state championship, the Greenhills' Robotics Team, The Lawnmowers, have qualified to compete in the FIRST Robotics World Championships in Detroit!
Capitalizing on an MSU grant to engage students in meaningful conversations about sustainability and climate change Greenhills faculty, R. Charles Dershimer in 8th grade science and I (a member of the upper school English Department), were recently awarded a grant from the Michigan State University (MSU) Knight Center for Environmental Journalism. This grant provides funds for the faculty to design new curricular activities for engaging science and journalism students in inter-age conversations about sustainability and climate change. The MSU Knight Center has also arranged for a professional journalist, Darcie Moran of MLive and The Ann Arbor News, to serve as a project mentor.
The Greenhills Lawnmowers earned an outstanding win at the FIRST Robotics Competition's 2019 Lincoln District Event, March 22-23! Team 5530 was also awarded the Team Spirit Award sponsored by FCA Foundation, and team member Amon Green ('20) received the district nomination for the prestigious Dean's List Award. Take pride in knowing that Greenhills is now ranked 26th in the State of Michigan out of 542 robotics teams.
The Greenhills’ Lawnmowers had a successful run at our season opening district event in Belleville this past week. The theme this year for the FIRST Robotics Competition is ‘Destination Deep Space’ in honor of the 50th anniversary of landing on the moon. Teams compete in two and a half minute matches by filling rockets and cargo ships with simulated hatches and cargo, before returning to a raised launch base for ‘lift off’. Larry the robot is designed for ‘quick fast’ hatch and cargo drops, sensor guided autonomous hatch placement, and awe inspiring climbs to the highest platform aided by the team’s ‘downavator.’ The lawnmowers experienced some spectacular ups and downs at this event! We finished the qualification matches in ninth place out of 40 teams and we earned the top ranking score for our team’s ability to place ‘cargo’ into cargo bays and rockets.
On March 9, 2019, more than 400 students competed in the Michigan Speech Coaches, Inc. Spring Fling Invitational at Novi High School. Greenhills students did exceptionally well, and and our team ranked 4th, overall. Congratulations to all of the students who worked so hard to compete at this level! This tournament was the final invitational of the year, but because of our students' hard work, they will continue to compete at regionals and states.
Neither rain, nor sleet, nor even a false fire alarm, could dampen the enthusiasm of Greenhills students and faculty for the 2019 Annual Diversity Symposium on Feb. 7. Organized by Nadine Hall and Kelly Williams, co-directors of the Greenhills Office of Diversity, the symposium kicked off with a keynote address from Matthew Countryman, a Greenhills parent and chair of the University of Michigan’s Department of Afroamerican and African Studies. Professor Countryman’s address, “Student Activism for Racial Justice, Past and Present,” highlighted the critical roles young people have played in struggles for change. Drawing on examples from the Montgomery. Bus Boycott to lunch counter sit-ins on State Street in downtown Ann Arbor, Countryman reminded all of us that we have the power to contribute to social change.
“Go big to be transformational.” This was Deborah Parizek’s encouragement to Greenhills’ Applied Engineering Design students as they brainstormed ideas for how to design better ways to help their student-partners’ carry their important items with them throughout the day. Ms. Parizek, executive director at Henry Ford Learning Institute (HFLI.org), visited campus last month as a guest facilitator of a workshop that introduced Greenhills upper schoolers to the tools and process of Design Thinking. Damian Khan and I invited Ms. Parizek in during the first week of our second semester course to inspire students to embrace the idea that engineers should be curious and that engineering is about creatively solving problems to meet people’s needs. Ms. Parizek brings the mindsets, methods and tools of Design Thinking to a range of learners around the world, including teachers in schools from Virginia to Washington, university faculty who are designing new programs, engineering students in Romania seeking creativity skills, and future leaders in Ford Motor Company’s 30 Under 30 Program.
A recent talk at Greenhills by Prof. Scott E. Page, who studies complex systems, political science, and economics at the University of Michigan, discussed how different colleges prepare students differently for modern, diverse workplaces, and the importance of considering how well they perform that task -- and not just their one-dimensional rankings. See the video here.
Chinese shadow puppetry is one of the most ancient arts using light and shadow, which has over two thousand years of history. It is acted by colorful silhouette figures made from leather or paper, accompanied by music and singing. Manipulated by puppeteers using rods, the figures create the illusion of moving images on a translucent cloth screen illuminated from behind.
Local news site Ann Arbor News/MLive reports that more than 10 percent of Washtenaw County's National Merit semifinalists hail from among the 91 members of the Greenhills Class of 2019, another sign that Greenhills students punch well above their weight class.
The Friedlander Outdoor Learning Center got an exciting boost this summer, thanks in part to a $5,000 grant from the independent foundation created by the late actor and philanthropist, Paul Newman. The award helped pay for permanent explanatory signs both in the Outdoor Learning Center and on a path leading around the ponds and stream on the Greenhills campus.