All posts by Richard Yang '18

Richard Yang is a boarding student who attended at Cheshire Academy from Janurary 2015 as a freshman. I have a broad interest in almost everything and a good standing of academics as well.

CA Science Olympiad Competition 2017

What happened at UConn on Saturday, April 1 was remarkable. Cheshire Academy sent its Science Olympiad team for the annual State-level competition. This year, 11 of the Academy’s “brainards” competed in 15 events, and the results are pretty good

Since last year, Science Olympiad has become a full-time varsity sport for fall and winter seasons. So our team is still like a baby compared to those of many other schools, but it is learning and growing up fast. Compared to 10 events participated last year, this time we completed 5 more – a 50% increase if you will, for those hidden “brainards” or math geeks.

The students have all worked really hard throughout the winter. Depends on the form of their contest, they either needed to teach themselves some hard theories and facts or construct their own engineering projects. For example, Grace Sun ’19 signed up for an event called Disease Detective, which came in the form of a 14-page-test. On the contrary, Richard Yang ’18 spent his two seasons on his delicate helicopter skirt made out of fine pieces of balsa and carbon fiber. After numerous tests and adjustments, he had to undergo the event supervisor’s strict inspections and compete for the longest time aloft.

Another event called Write It Do It is yet another form that is different from those mentioned above. The event tests student’s ability to express themselves clearly and concisely through writing instructions and follow instructions. Writer Grace Greene ’17 said the sample she got was, “the most random compilation of objects [she] had ever seen;” it consisted of toothpicks, Easter eggs, a skull ring, popsicles, waffles tickets, and much more crazy stuff. Thanks to her talent for writing, it did not take her partner Parker Gagnon ’17 a long time to figure out what he was assembling.

In order to get to UConn on time, the students had to gather at Science Department Co-Chair Mr. Cirmo’s office at 6:00 on Saturday morning, and board a school bus to begin their expedition. The weather showcased its own April Fool’s surprise by landing sleet and snowflakes on the campus. Regardless of the final result, the sheer experience of being able to compete against other high schools and to communicate with them was invaluable. At the end of the day, every contest had to adhere to the standardized rules and procedures, but there are boundless ways of how to approach a solution. What truly matters is trying to solve problems creatively and learning from the process so that we can always more progress – that’s how science works!

Cheshire Academy 2017 Science Olympiad results: a number represents ranking among all the schools, and “–” means not participated:

Anatomy & Physiology   35

Astronomy                         23

Chemistry                          30

Disease Detective           12

Dynamic Planet               

Ecology                               18

Electric Vehicle                28

Exp Design                        

Forensics                            18

Game On                           19

Helicopter                         17

Hovercraft                         8

Hydrology                         

Invasive Species              

Materials Science          

Microbe Mission             

Optics                                 26

Remote Sensing              

Robot Arm                         10

Rocks and Minerals        

Towers                               11

Wind Power                      30

Write It Do It                    22

Cheshire Academy’s Musical, “The School of Rock”

“There is no way you can stop the School of Rock!” That was literally what it felt like to see the recent musical production, The School of Rock. With over 60 students and 7 faculty members involved, it easily became one of the biggest productions at Cheshire Academy. Ms. Guarino, the Director of this show and the Academy’s theater program, admitted that it was not an easy job to coordinate so many people in the Black Box. In fact, they had to extend their back stage to the girls’ locker room downstairs, which shows how big the size of the group was.

Besides the sheer size of the production, the musical drama is complex due to its very nature of combining music and acting. Not only did the cast have to be fluent with their scripts to get in the characters, they also needed to familiarize themselves with the music, which was played live by the Pit Band. Yes, the high quality music was not from a recording. The entire soundtrack and a huge portion of the staged-performance were played live by the Pit. [check out the Broadway soundtrack of the School of Rock here]

Despite those difficulties, the result was a phenomenal success. Walking in the hallway right after the curtain call, I saw the excited faces of parents and their kids, who were all pumped by the show’s energy and chatting about the production. My roommate’s mom thought the show was so good that she decided to take her younger daughter to watch it for a second time.

The main plot of the play revolves around Dewey Finn, a dream-to-be Rock Star who pretended to be a substitute teacher under his friend’s name, Ned Schneebly, and worked in a prestigious middle school. Dewey realized the musical potential of the children in her class, and organized a student rock band to compete in the Battle of Rock. However, when the school’s paycheck came to his friend Ned’s house, Dewey had to make a decision of either telling everyone the truth and giving up her dream or continuing her passion. In either way, the unusual experience along the journey impacted those children’s lives forever.

Acting as Dewey, Lexi Williamson ’18 had to sing while jumping on and off the couch. She also had to learn how to play the electric guitar since she was originally a violin player. Yet in the show, Dewey was supposedly the teacher who taught Rock guitar to her student Zach, who was played by a brilliant guitar player in real life, James Kim ’17. “When I first read the script, I was shocked. How was I supposed to teach an amazing guitar player how to play guitar, when I could not even play the guitar myself!” said Lexi during our interview. The rehearsal brought the two friends even closer, and they helped each other throughout the journey. Indeed, getting to act with all her friends became Lexi’s favorite part of the play. It also helped her to relax and be completely dissolved in her character. She said, “sometimes you have to let loose and be crazy. That is a lesson I will remember until I die.”

In order to create a more effective way to present the fast-paced story line to the audience, the prop section also did some hard-core work for it. One of the creative inventions was the movable background wall composed of three large triangular sections, courtesy of Mr. Monahan and the maintenance department. Each side was covered for different scenes. When there was a scene change, (for example, when Dewey agreed to take the substitute job) the crew members rotated the triangles so that the background of the school would replace the ones for Dewey’s appartement in just a few seconds, saving a lot of precious time for the actual show. As one of the guitarists in the Pit, this means we didn’t need to repeat the transition music multiple times, which was really convenient. My personal thank you to Mr. Monahan.

Of course, this wonderful show would not be possible with everyone’s hard work. During the days of rehearsal, Ms. Guarino was often stressed with presentation of the show and how the stage coordinated with other factors such as lightings, the Pit Band, and backstage. With Ms. DiGiacomo directing and Mr. Trier as the Key (pun intended) player in the Pit, there was no doubt that the quality of the music would be amazing. Mrs. Monahan was always busy organizing the crews, making sure the transitions were as smooth as possible. A faculty member herself, Ms. Colbert was also a faculty member in the Play. Ms. Brown and Ms. Michaels taught the cast the dance moves. And finally, the students – cast, tech crew, stage crew, and the Pit – all did absolutely a fantastic job. To reference back to the School of Rock, the hard work during rehearsals was like the Climb to the Top of Mount Rock – not only was the final result a spectacle, the journey along the path also contained a ton of priceless experiences. Bravo, Cheshire Academy Varsity Players!

Here is the link to the recording of Cheshire Academy’s the School of Rock on Youtube: https://youtu.be/FBMqOJx7Y-8

 

The Cheshire Spirit for Halloween

Halloween day is one of the most exciting days in the fall for Cheshire Academy. On this day, students can dress up in their own costumes, such as superman, superwoman, a wizard, and more. Some took a more “traditional” approach. They put on costumes of vampires with scary make-up on their faces, and another classmate of mine even pulled up a slender man mask, which I had to admit it was pretty creepy. Continue reading The Cheshire Spirit for Halloween

Nature Is Our Classroom

The IB Group 4 Project is a special project requires students to collaborate in order to solve a complex problem. The project combines students taking different IB science subjects (i.e. physics, chemistry, biology, sport science, etc.) into a 4 to 5 person group. I have heard of the Group 4 Project since September, but nobody knew what the Project would be exactly. Nevertheless, the mere idea of going on a field trip for the whole Friday was enough to excite everybody’s anticipation. Continue reading Nature Is Our Classroom

Colleges Right at Your Doors

Last Sunday, I went to Boston University’s reception day at Sheraton Hotel in Stamford. I ordered an Uber going from Cheshire straight to Stamford, which was roughly an hour trip. The reception started at around 2 in the afternoon. The conference room was filled with up to 200 students and parents. Some of them were from nearby Connecticut, but many were from outside the state, as well. Continue reading Colleges Right at Your Doors