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Discovering Your Passion at NEIA

Clubs offer students a unique opportunity to hone their interests and pursue the things that appeal to them.

PIN Points

  • Exploring new topics through student-led clubs that engage all grade levels.

  • Innovators formed eight clubs and shared their learnings during Club Day.

  • Clubs continue to evolve and innovators will have more opportunities to share their progress.

Students were excited to have an opportunity to form clubs of their choice and quickly narrowed it down to include media, video games, board games, sustainability, debate, fishing, crochet, and cultural crossroads. The clubs are formed through an application process that includes a series of plans and activities before being approved. Students meet bi-weekly during school hours to work on projects and plan for opportunities to share their work with the community. In February, NEIA held its first annual Club Day so that students might showcase their work to teachers, staff, parents, and guardians.

“It was incredible to see students share their passion for various topics and watch them engage with members of the NEIA community,” said Elise Mott, humanities teacher and middle school coordinator. “I was impressed with the breadth and depth of their work over such a short period of time. The video game that the innovators developed was a true highlight and displayed ingenuity and humor.”

The event included a fantastic display of student work and NEIA’s Club Day video captures the highlights of the day. The media club shared its first edition of The Spark, a student-led newsletter that featured articles, current events, fun facts, and photos. Much to everyone’s delight, the students in the video game club shared a brand new game they designed, programmed, and demonstrated featuring a staff member’s pug puppy, Posey. The sustainability club shared information about ways to conserve, recycle, and proposed a healthier and more climate-conscious menu option with meatless Mondays. The fishing club demonstrated various tools, including poles and lures, while the crochet club was actively working on projects and raffled off a crocheted bee at the end of the event. Meanwhile, the cultural crossroads club explored a range of countries from Italy to Puerto Rico, Japan, and the Philippines. Working together, they featured a selection of dishes prepared by their families and Chef Mike, complete with an international music selection.

“The sustainability club gives me an opportunity to put my vision for a better world into practice,” said Yaya, Grade 6, “As a result of our efforts we were able to work with our school community and Chef Mike to bring meatless Mondays to NEIA. I’m looking forward to exploring more climate action steps this spring.”

Meanwhile, the debate club took an opportunity to share what they learned by engaging in a spirited discussion with an audience that included parents, guardians, and staff. Paul, a grade 10 innovator, moderated the debate between Darshan, a grade 10 innovator, and Vishnu, a grade 6 innovator. Each side had an opportunity to prepare their argument and respond thoughtfully to their opponent’s questions. The topics were well thought out, and each side did an excellent job presenting their case.

“Debate club is an opportunity to celebrate our diversity, differences, and backgrounds without the confines of ingenuity,” said Paul Bogere Grade 10. “My experience as the debate team leader has been a great opportunity to see everyone gain confidence and initiative as they work to understand the complexity of our world through debate. And as we have learned through the entire course, “Don’t hate it, Just debate it!”

The event was led in part by NEIA’s Innovator Board, a leadership group within our school, who created Club Day passports for guests to fill out so they could make sure to visit each station. The distinguishing feature of the club program at NEIA is that each group is made up of a cross-section of Upper School and Middle School students. In this way, each club member can contribute to their own skill level while learning from other members who may have more experience.

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After our first full week into summer, we want to look back on a year-long project that yielded impressive results for three of our amazing rising 12th graders.

This past fall, NEIA 11th graders pitched products that could add value to people’s lives by curing diseases or ailments. This is part of the BioTrek Program: a joint initiative by ARMI (Advanced Regenerative Medical Institute) and BioFabUSA. Students pitched their amazing ideas to Tim McCauley, their peers, and a panel of judges made up of NEIA staff members. 

Throughout these presentations, our students walked through all phases of the Biotrek journey. First, identifying a problem. Second, engineering a solution using bio-manufacturing techniques. In the third phase, they developed a business and financial model for their product. The final phase was this event: pitching to their peers and judges. They are trying to solve real medical issues, such as endometriosis, chronic lung disease, color blindness, and osteogenesis (just to name a few). 

The winners moved on to the Final Presentations judged by representatives from ARMI and Biofab, which decided
who would represent NEIA against other schools in the Biotrek Championship. The winning group chosen to go to the championship was Endopexy, created by Milena, Lila, and Max H.

Milena, Lila, and Max’s hard worked paid off as they were the winning team of the championships. We are so proud of these three innovators for working hard the whole year and being recognized in such a highly competitive program.

This project-based learning program continues to be a very valuable experience for our innovators. You can clearly see the intersection of subjects like science, math, entrepreneurship, and communications. It is the perfect example of how integrated academics lead to exciting projects and connections.

#NEIA #BioTrek #Innovation #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #integration
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This weekend, three of our 11th grade students: Vicki, Owen, and Langston, won first place at the Entrepreneurship for All - EforAll All Ideas Pitch Competition for their idea around the NEXTGEN Summit, a conference that Langston initiated this spring at NEIA.

Owen explains the idea to execution as follows, "My mother is an alum of the Entrepreneurship for All (EforAll) Business Accelerator Program. One night while scrolling Instagram, she found a post by EforAll about an All Ideas Pitch Competition happening. She sent me the post at 11:20 p.m. and we were signed up for the event by 12:15 a.m. A few weeks later we were selected to table at the event with the potential of being able to participate in the final pitch competition. We landed a spot in the pitch competition, and it was a huge success as we not only won the first place prize of $1000, but also won the Fan Favorite prize for an additional $500. We were by far the youngest attendees at the event and were pitching with people who were already well removed from college."

We are so proud of our innovators and commend them for their efforts to not only seek new opportunities each and every day but to thrive within them.

#NEIA #PitchCompetition #EForAll #NEXTGENSummit #NEXTGEN #FutureOfEducation #Innovation #Entrepreneurship
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That’s a wrap! We will see you soon, innovators. We miss you already.

#LastDayOfSchool #Summer #NEIA #innovators #summerbreak
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