Eckstein Comedy Acts

On Tuesday, a crowd of people laughed at my jokes for the first time. Where? Eckstein Middle School, for the first annual High School Information Night. As a representative of Nova’s Recruitment Committee, I was supposed to talk about senior projects and service learning. I didn’t know what to tell the 8th graders, as I haven’t started a senior project. It’s hard enough to present something you know!

As people shuffled into the auditorium, I was stress eating the coffee cake. A pro-technology powerpoint about jobs was looping on the projector in the auditorium. The other presenters chatted with their groups, and ran last minute practices while I thought about what I was supposed to say.

The University of Washington presenters started, giving me a sinking feeling. Elaborate powerpoints, seven people on stage, and a twenty minute presentation are hard to replicate with an hour of time sitting in a seat. The UW students spoke about clubs, sports, and homework. Encouraging students to be well rounded was their top priority. But the main theme they set for the evening was that Freshman year counts.

That theme was continued with every presentation. Nathan Hale High School had a similar line up, with the 9th grade counselor talking about the same things with a focus on services you can find, such as Teen Health Centers and libraries. Periodically a Hale student would be put on the mic to talk about their experiences. Roosevelt didn’t feature students, and instead featured a school counselor talking about the daunting requirements to graduate high school.

The presentations done by the others were all very lengthy, making me realize I shouldn’t have come into this without planning. I ignored my nerves and went up to the stage, hoping I wouldn’t reflect badly on Nova.

“Hi everyone, I’m here to talk about senior projects. Unfortunately, I’m not a senior and I don’t know what senior projects are.” With the chuckles that came out of the audience, I gained a bit of courage to tell some bad jokes. “I came in completely unprepared for this. So in high school, you should be prepared.” I think the parents thought this was funnier than the students.

Fortunately I did have a topic I knew about, which was service learning. It was overall short and awkward. Fun examples such as The Vera Project and Center for Wooden Boats were mentioned. Nova even made an appearance in the speech, as I mentioned we have Nova service hours in addition to service learning.

The last presentation was another college pushing adult telling kids that high school matters to a degree that would scare even the most studious 8th grader. College is a common goal, but to the degree it was pushed to students was unnecessary. Most of the students attending an event for high school don’t need to be encouraged to go.

But when everything was finally over, I had a small mob asking questions about Nova. Even though I spoke very little about what I was assigned, at least I got information about our great school and the alternative style to the 8th graders, which is truly the purpose of Recruitment Committee.


Every week a group of Garfield students get together to be nerds and build robots. Each time they are infiltrated by a Nova spy.

I have been part of this group for two years. This year my job was to record everything that happened, aiding my spy persona. I went around asking people what they were doing, and at the final competition I turned in my notebook to be evaluated by judges who have seen the same thing 20 times that day.

The team is extremely fun, despite the competitions also being extremely stressful. At every meeting we’d share poptarts with each other and mess around while the others worked. But once there’s a job for us to do, we’re on it. Hacksaws, screws and wrenches are passed around as we hopefully fix, but more likely worsen, problems. In the end we have a pretty funky looking machine.

We were supposed to build a robot that could dump blocks into baskets. Pretty simple, right? Now imagine trying to get them in while being rammed from the side by other robots. Some choose to compete with a mechanical beast, but we chose an elegant robot that was fast and consistent. Beasts are unpredictable, and consistency wins competitions.

Not only did we have to dump blocks in buckets, but we had to raise flags. These flags were tricky little things. In order to raise them you have to perfectly align the robot to grab the bar, and then twist it over and over until the flag is up. But wait! From getting lined up properly to grab the bar to when the flag reaches the top of the mast, you only have 30 seconds. Good luck, it’s difficult.
Robotics is extremely fun to be part of. It inspires friendship, creativity, and teamwork. You might not win, but you always have fun.


8 Days Survey

8 days survey

On a star scale of 0 to 5 what would you rate your 8 Days experience?

0 stars: 6   1 star: 2  2 stars: 1  3 stars: 11  4 stars: 5   5 stars: 1

Total students surveyed: 25

From this data we can gather that obviously students were neutral about 8 days. With 3 stars in the lead and 0 stars coming in second, people were either fine with eight days or they hated it. Only one student absolutely loved eight days, giving it a 5 star rating.

Most loved part of 8 days: All the students of Nova (or most of them) showed up and were all together for eight whole days, so basically the social aspect of eight days is what made it great for most people.

Most hated part of eight days: The dreaded stamp!

Transgender Day of Rememberance, Wednesday November 20


The annual Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) memorializes individuals who have died throughout the world in the previous year because of anti-transgender hatred. Each November, the worldwide transgender community turns its attention to family, friends and loved ones lost to violence and prejudice. A tradition inspired by the Allston, MA vigil for slain transsexual Rita Hester in 1998, this day has become the worldwide rallying point for a community long under siege. (Taken from Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition website.)

Sadly, there isn’t enough information out there about this day but you can learn more here:

Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition

Listing of events and more information:

@Nova  – Action Faction has chosen to use this day as an educational opportunity to inform our community about the important contributions of transgender and gender variant folks as well as for our community to have an opportunity to reflect on this important day.


Transgender Day of Remembrance
Wednesday, November 20th, 2013 at 7:00 PM
Ravenna United Methodist Church, 5751 33rd Ave. N.E., Seattle, Wa. 98105

FEEST Dinners and Dates!


You’re invited to FEEST’s FIRST STUDENT AND STAFF DINNER on NOVEMBER 20th  3:30-7:30 in room 43THE FEEST MIX AND MINGLE on December 5th 5-7pm at Big Al Brewing (below)and the FEEST COMMUNITY POTLUCK (open to family and friends) on DECEMBER 11th 3:30-7:30

FEEST Winter Mix & Mingle

Support FEEST Seattle by joining us at our first event!

December 5, 5-7pm
Big Al Brewing
9832 14th Ave SW Seattle, WA 98106
RSVP to Juniper at
This event is free to attend. Please forward to friends!

FEEST is a weekly youth-run dinner program that engages young people at Evergreen, Chief Sealth, and Nova High Schools on issues of civic and social justice, food security, and cultural expression, and community development.

We look forward to seeing you there! – Cristina, Roberto, Meng and Juniper

FEEST Mission

FEEST sets the table for young people to transform the health and equity of their community by gathering around food and working towards systems change.

FEEST Values

We believe that coming together to eat changes the world.
We believe that communities need to self-determine their systems of leadership and equity in order to change.
We believe in the power of authenticity.
We believe that young people make great community leaders.
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Copyright © 2013 FEEST, All rights reserved.
Our mailing address is: FEEST 1615 SW Cambridge St Seattle, WA 98106

Gender Fluidity Week Nov 4-8

Gender Fluidity Week (Nova’s Celebration of gender identity, expression, and the freedom to be however you want to be!)
Nov -4-8
Make-up and Mustache Monday: Have fun with your face! Mustaches, mascara, beards and blush.
Heroes and Villains Tuesday: The world is under attack by the gender binary! Heroes and villains must band together to fight stereotypes and be fabulous.
Gender Warp Wednesday: Mix and match gender coded clothing!
Thoroughly Colorful Thursday: rainbows, rainbows, rainbows, rainbows, rainbows, rainbows
Fierce Friday: Dress to feel powerful. Whether it is red lipstick or your favorite sweatshirt, come to school feeling like a badass!

The Four Cs

The Four Cs
Written by Nova students- updated 10/23/13

At Nova every student is assigned a coordinator. These teachers act as counselors and help guide us through the educational experience here at Nova, and often beyond. Almost all teachers here are also coordinators, which gives students plenty of options to really find the right fit; in fact, after two months students are given the right to change coordinators if they feel more connected with someone else. Most student find that they really bond with their coordinator and over time build a good working relationship. In general a coordinator has a coor with around 25 students or less, which gives more one on one time with each individual. Students generally meet once a month to every week or more, depending on the student. These meetings are where you can check in on how you are doing in your classes and other activities beyond school, set up for the upcoming semester, and even keep you on track to graduate. During your senior year, they would be the one to work you through planning for you future outside of Nova as well.
​Coor at Nova is essentially the heart of our school. Much like homeroom, it’s a community space where the coor group meets three times a week to hear announcements, have small discussions regarding Nova and other issues, bond, etcetera. Some coors choose to have themes, cook together, talk about worldly issues, plan social or working events at nova and so much more. School spirit is really achieved during coor, because its one of our best bonding times you have with your peers.

​Nova has a class system unlike traditional high schools, and a big part of that is because our credit system is about demonstrating competency in the material rather than just doing your work and getting graded on it. Our classes are inquiry, project and seminar based and are more alternative in the sense that teachers have more freedom to explore different styles of teaching and students can explore different styles of learning. An example is a film class where students watch, review and analyze different films. Students are also able to co-teach classes in a variety of subjects and have successfully co-taught in almost all of the various subjects offered at the high school level. Students can also set up independent contracts for any subject and are able to earn high school credit by demonstrating competency even if they are not enrolled in a class. Independents can be anything from PE activities outside of Nova to journal writing to music.
​All classes are competency based which means that students are expected to demonstrate specific skills in classes or independents. Because we have a competency based system, Nova does not have grades. Students are required to do all of the work in a class to show the related competencies and therefore to receive full credit, although assignments can be adjusted with a teacher if there is something else you are interested in doing to show credit. The competencies that a student has to fulfill in a specific class are explained to them at the beginning of the class. One example of a way to demonstrate a competency in a Language Arts class could be to read a book and do an analytical book project.
​At Nova we handle our schedules and classes differently. When students come to Nova, one of the first things they will do is meet with their coordinator to choose their classes. Most of Nova’s classes meet twice a week for an hour and a half, though there are a few that meet for longer period of time. Our school hours are from 8:30 to 4:00 but if students do not have classes, committees, meetings or other commitments, they are not required to be on the campus. We encourage students to find opportunities to learn and grow outside of the school building and learn in different ways. This flexibility lets students plan activities, jobs and outside classes around their class schedule at Nova.

​Nova strives to be a democratically run school, and we make school decisions through our committee system. Every student is required to be a part of at least one governing committee, but many are involved in more than one. Committees happen four days a week for 45 minutes. The committees are divided into three different categories:
​Governing committees: These committees make decisions for the school! This is where our goal of being a democratically run school really plays out because governing committees empower students to take control over their own education. Examples of governing committees at Nova include Budget (handles our money), Hiring (trains students to conduct interviews with potential staff), and Recruitment (recruits new students through student-led orientations, tours, and exhibition night).
Activities: These are the recreational or extracurricular “committees” that help build community throughout the school. Recreational committees are ones like Bombardment Society (dodgeball), Ultimate Frisbee, and Art committee.
​Social Justices: Since Nova has a focus on art and social justice, every Wednesday students participate in a chosen social justice activity. These activities (roughly ten) include Knitting for Social Justice, Interlaken Park Restoration, the Naked Truth on Stereotypes, FEEST, and various partnerships that support the work of outside groups doing social justice related work in the community.

​As Nova students, we aspire to create accepting anti-oppressive communities, both here at Nova and in our outside worlds. We have various groups and committees that exist for the purpose of helping support our students in all different ways. One of the main goals of our community is to maintain an accepting environment at Nova- to build and maintain a “culture of kindness.” For instance, bullying is incredibly rare here. Students have the opportunity to voice and work through concerns and most student-to-student conflicts are solved through the coordinating system. We rarely have instances that require principal intervention.
​Students and teachers maintain a peer-to-peer relationship, and the level of respect is equal on both sides. This is not a place where teachers have to yell in classes to be heard or where students feel disrespected by teachers’ attitudes toward them. When something isn’t working we and the teachers talk about it together to try to find something that will work better. Students are always helping the teachers learn as the teachers are teaching the students, which is not just true in classes where students are co-teaching but in all classes. This creates an atmosphere of positive learning, which is a main goal of Nova. We are also committed to creating and developing relationships within our neighborhood and throughout the wider world.
​Since Nova arrived in the Meany Middle School building, we have developed relationships with the organizations and resources surrounding us. Nova has worked very hard to create a positive and supportive environment for all students, teachers and staff but we are constantly growing and expanding upon that community because we recognize that our community can always be improved.

The Nova Project

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