Student Feature Fridays

Nico Doyle

Nico DoyleThis week’s Student Feature Friday is Nico Doyle, a fantastic senior who is involved in many facets of HHS. Not only is he an integral part of the morning Jam Band at HHS, but he is using his musical talent to bring joy to others. When we sat down to chat about his interests, I asked him why he was involved in music and part of the band. He responded, “ Watching other people do what they love is contagious.” This humble attitude to supporting others and respecting the unique talents that each individual contributes to the world is a direct reflection of the character that Nico exhibits on a daily basis. 

Nico is the type of person who is curious about life, seeks solutions for problems to improve the environment for all and isn’t afraid to step out of his comfort zone. He is a founding member of the Rowdy Repair Shop, a student-led (with the assistance of Mr. Calais) group who honed their skills in construction technology and are now fixing broken or rundown furniture for teachers throughout the building. After presenting this group to the entire Faculty, he is hard at work fielding requests. Nico stated that, “There is no reward better than doing something for someone else and seeing that smile.” Although helping others provides a sense of reward, it is his love of rock climbing, hiking and guitar that keeps him motivated and happy on a daily basis. His future goals include finding a career that can combine these three passions while continuing to help others and I have no doubt that he will have a big impact on his community. 

Q: You are currently enrolled in Service Learning: A Call to Action. Tell me a little about the project you are creating for this class and why it is meaningful for you to be part of this undertaking.

A: I am very excited to be working on my “Retirement Rock” project in Service Learning. The goal of this project is to organize events at local senior centers and retirement homes to ease social isolation in senior citizens. Our first event will be having the NINA band perform for these centers, with time before and after the performance to interact with the seniors and give them relationships to enjoy. Overall, we just want to bring some joy to people who sometimes struggle to find it. 

Q: Between your future Eagle Scout Project, the Rowdy Repair Shop and the Jam Band you have taken on a number of leadership activities. Why does it appeal to you to be in a leadership role and what have you learned about yourself in the process?

A: If I have learned one thing from all these projects it is that I am a go-getter. I don’t like to wait around to see if someone will step up to fix the problem. I see a problem and I fix it myself. One thing the band has taught me is the importance of teamwork and dedication. One person can’t play a whole song by themselves, and all the best ones have a few pieces that come from everybody. While some may think the guitarist or the singer may be most important, others would argue they would be nothing without the supporting groove of the bass and drums. Teamwork is a crucial piece. In working towards my Eagle Rank in the Scouts, I have learned the importance of communication and confidence. Communication is key and comes in many different forms. I have learned to write emails, and make concise phone calls. I also have to be well-mannered and well spoken face to face in traditional conversation. When I have to lead other scouts, I have to communicate in a clear and concise manner to get my instructions across. On top of all this learning I have done, I know I will learn more. Every time I go back into these leadership roles I run into a new problem I have never seen before. It’s a great learning tool that I am very grateful to have. 

Q: During our conversation you discussed proactively pursuing a part-time job in a music shop. Why do you think you were so successful with this endeavor and what skills did you rely on?

A: I relied heavily on my communication skills, as I had to be clear and concise. I also called upon my confidence as I was making contact with someone I had never met before, and asking them to do something for me. It was slightly stressful, but worth the risk in the end! 

Q: Clearly you are involved in a number of activities that you are passionate about. What advice do you have for other students who have not yet found their passion/interests?

A: Don’t be afraid to try new things! There is no way of knowing when the stranger standing next to you might be your best friend or your greatest ally. Go out. Meet new people. Do things you never thought you could do. If you want it, you can have it. All you have to do is go get it. 


Redefining Learning for the Future

What does “smart” mean?

As we continue to refine and adjust our Vision of a Graduate, the focus remains on the skills, characteristics and attributes needed to succeed in an ever changing world. “What is needed is a new definition of being smart, one that promotes higher levels of human thinking and emotional engagement. The new smart will be determined not by what or how you know but by the quality of your thinking, listening, relating, collaborating, and learning. Quantity is replaced by quality. And that shift will enable us to focus on the hard work of taking our cognitive and emotional skills to a much higher level.” This quote comes from an interesting (and fairly short) article titled, In the AI Age, “Being Smart” Will Mean Something Completely Different. How will our current and future students define “smart” for themselves and others?

Redefining Learning for the Future

Emotional Safety – Necessary Skills for Success – Google

Over the weekend I was reading an article about Google and their Project Aristotle, a study conducted to assess the skills necessary to reach success at Google based on significant data regarding hiring, firing and promotions in the company. “Project Aristotle shows that the best teams at Google exhibit a range of soft skills: equality, generosity, curiosity toward the ideas of your teammates, empathy, and emotional intelligence. And topping the list: emotional safety. No bullying. To succeed, each and every team member must feel confident speaking up and making mistakes. They must know they are being heard.” The question to ponder is how do we help to foster this environment for our students and faculty so that everyone feels the emotional safety to take risks, step out of comfort zones, and feel heard? How do we ensure that every student feels safe to explore, create and innovate at HHS?

Redefining Learning for the Future

Better By Design

Advocacy and fostering student voice is such a critical part of the school and the students felt heard and supported by the faculty and their peers. Attached to this email is an article titled “Better By Design. Students blend empathy and experimentation to impact environment through design thinking.” The article is a fairly quick read discussing design thinking and its connection to student voice. The article is also a nice fit with the redesign we are engaged in for Vision of a Graduate.

Redefining Learning for the Future

Growth Culture

A colleague sent me an interesting article about the difference between a performance culture and a growth culture and I thought I would share it with you. “A performance culture asks, “How much energy can we mobilize?” and the answer is only a finite amount. A growth culture asks, “How much energy can we liberate?” and the answer is infinite.” Every day we are contributing to the culture of the school and individual classrooms and it takes hard work and a willingness to be vulnerable in the face of new challenges that propel us forward.

Redefining Learning for the Future

What is the Narrative of Your Classroom?

As educators begin week two and continue to craft the narrative of the classroom I wanted to include a short video from a 4th grade teacher who is introducing himself to the parents/guardians and students. While the expectation is definitely not to create a video, although anyone is welcome to do so, it is important to start thinking about how educators will tell the story of their classrooms. What messages do educators want to share about the priorities and learning experiences students can expect and how do educators plan to break down the walls so that parents/guardians have a better sense of what their students are experiencing in and out of the classroom?

Redefining Learning for the Future

Lollipop Moments

Which lollipop moments have significantly impacted you as a learner and as a person?
   As we continue to reflect as a faculty on our learning journey, it was great to feel the energy in the room during our first Professional Development Day and hear so many interesting conversations about ideas for the year ahead. There is still much to figure out but I am always so impressed with the creativity, innovation, and compassion shown by this faculty. Pam Moran and Ira Socol left truly excited about the work that HHS is doing and eager to hear about the Vision of a Graduate as we move forward. In keeping with the theme of lollipop moments (those small moments that we might not even remember but that are so significant to someone else) I am including the following short video that further highlights lollipop moments.