September 3, 2021

Photo of the Week

Students in Dr. Helmle's lab dissected a frog today. We hope you enjoyed learning about the frog organ system, Lions!
More Than Any Formula Could Describe
written by Ana Paiva '23

Throughout the history of time, astronomers have utilized formulas and laws to define the big questions of astronomy as we know it. Maxwell’s equation, Wien’s law, Boltzmann constant, and others find a way to explain these questions that have plagued many for decades at a time. I thought about this now, the point in time where all of my experience would be put into my most impressive accomplishment (so far!), one weekend at the International Space Settlement Design Competition (ISSDC). 

After winning East Coast Regionals (check out the other newsletter!), I was selected to go to ISSDC. I was anxious to even get there: even though I had known some of these people for the past four months, I had completely forgotten that I had never even met them in person. I couldn’t wrap my head around going from strangers to spending 20 hours a day with this group of students.

The premise of Internationals remained the same as East Coast Regionals in terms of proposals, departments, positions, etc., with only some aspects changed. Since ISSDC was a longer convention, we were given more time to work on this longer proposal (72 hours now compared to 24 hours before). Additionally, our team was also significantly larger, with around 80 participants. 12 of us were in person. Including me, there were 3 female participants. 

We arrived on Friday. While most flew in from different states, I drove. While at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC) and waiting for the proposal to drop, we heard a variety of speeches from guest speakers who have worked at NASA, SpaceX, and NSS. The second the last speech ended, we were given the proposal immediately. For the next 14 hours, we worked nonstop to get a draft of what would eventually become our final product to be presented. It was an amazing moment to be on that stage and see a full room of professionals and students, gathering in that same room together to appreciate the passion we all have for engineering and astronomy. It was a competition, but somehow all groups were able to integrate a sense of teamwork and helpfulness to each other. The last day was bittersweet as we said, goodbye to the college freshmen who wouldn’t join us as teammates again and to the friends who live thousands of miles away.

I experienced what I know will be one of the most important memories in my life during that weekend: talking to Anita Gale, CEO of the National Space Society and founder of the Space Settlement Design Competition. Growing up, I felt science was sometimes out of question in terms of career; I never thought I could be an engineer not because I didn’t like math but because I had never had a role model for engineering. This competition opened new frontiers for me, and Anita only strengthened the possibility of them. She became an engineer when that path seemed unviable for most girls, creating a whole new generation of influence for women to come. She is a role model to me, as I had believed I could never make it in such a field. 

I want to dedicate this to my friends from ISSDC who showed me that, in a universe set to be explained by concepts, you have made an inexplicable discovery, something I could never define. All that I have learned has always stemmed from words, phrases, or margins of a book. You have taught me something that no formula, law or theory would ever get close to explaining. We all came from different backgrounds, and in a matter of hours, you have become the closest competition family I could have asked for. No experience could have prepared me for the difference you all made in my life. As someone always based around my words, I felt comfortable in the community you created.  For the first time ever, I felt welcome. You all convinced me that I belonged. That no background, school or city could ever dictate my sense of place. When I doubted my position, you showed me that I deserved to be there just as much as anyone else.

Five months ago, I believed I was merely a kid who loved astronomy. I talked about examples like the Doppler effect, Wien’s law and the Boltzmann constant in the beginning because that was the way I had once seen the world: a representation of the weight of the words I had once known. This competition was more than any formula could describe, and the experience and friends I made are some that have changed my perspective on the world as it is. We are merely dots in the center of something so great, with goals that we hope to achieve. In the end, we did not win. We received runner-up, but I won something a medal couldn’t encompass: I have come back home with not only the award of getting there in the first place, but the achievement of knowing I deserve it.

Campus Ministry News

Encounter Retreat Sign-Up

Juniors: Encounter Retreat sign-up’s are now open on your Canvas Campus Ministry course. This year’s Encounter retreat is situated in a serene location that presents the perfect platform for you to forget about the hustle and bustle of life and let your nerves relax.  This spiritual retreat is a place where you can go to get away from material problems and to reconnect with your soul. It is a place for introspection, self-care, healthy living and to explore our identity in Christ and our relationship with Him.  We will offer all participants a number of activities such as meditation, games, engaging discussions and more. Our first retreat is November 8th and will be 3 nights. We will follow all CDC Covid guidelines and each retreatant will have their own room. Can’t wait to see you there!
Senior Mass Next Week
Our first all school Mass is Wednesday, September 8th and this Mass will feature our SENIORS!! Seniors, if you are interested in helping decorate for the Mass, then please bring in a memento, picture, drawing, decoration, or any item that is special to your Senior class to be placed as alter decorations. Please see Ms. Daligney to drop off your item by Tuesday, September 7th. She will make sure you get it back after the Mass.

Upcoming Events

Friday, 9/3
Labor Day - No Classes
Monday, 9/6
Opening of School Liturgy
Wednesday, 9/8  |  10:10 A.M.  |  Gym
*Rescheduled* Back to School Night
Thursday, 9/16  |  7:00 P.M.  |  CMCP
Saturday, 9/11  |  8:00 A.M.  |  CMCP

Athletics News

For more information about upcoming athletic events, including away games, please click here to view our entire athletic calendar.
VR Football at American Heritage (Plantation) 
Friday, 9/3  |  7:30 P.M.  |  American Heritage
VR Boys and Girls Golf vs. Calvary Christian
Tuesday, 9/7  |  3:00 P.M.  |  The Club at Emerald Hills
JV Girls Volleyball at Divine Savior 
Wednesday, 9/8  |  4:00 P.M.  |  Divine Savior
VR Girls Volleyball at Divine Savior
Wednesday, 9/8  |  5:30 P.M.  |  Divine Savior
JV Football vs. St. Thomas Aquinas
Thursday, 9/9  |  5:30 P.M.  |  CMCP
JV Girls Volleyball at St. John Paul II 
Thursday, 9/9  |  4:00 P.M.  |  St. John Paul II
VR Girls Volleyball at St. John Paul II
Thursday, 9/9  |  5:30 P.M.  |  St. John Paul II
VR Boys and Girls Cross Country - King of the Hill
Friday, 9/10  |  3:15 P.M.  |  Tropical Park
VR Football at Christopher Columbus
Friday, 9/10  |  7:00 P.M.  |  Christopher Columbus

Clubs and Organizations

Student Government Association (SGA)
Freshmen elections will take place next week. Keep an eye on your class canvas page for voting instructions!
SGA students have been hard at work decorating their class bulletin boards! Great job decorating your board, Sophomores! 
SGA Bulletin Board Sophomores Square.jpg
Interested in getting involved with SGA?
Email Ms. Fraser at
Connections is back and fully digital! We had a great time reflecting on all we did last year to get us to where we are now. We hope you'll enjoy this edition as much as we do!
Click here to read it now!

Important Updates

Student handbook forms are due by Friday, September 3.  To view the handbook click here.


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