November 2018 Newsletter

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Picking a college in a swipe right culture

One of the perks of working with young people is that they teach me as much as I teach them. I emailed a recent graduate to see how she was doing in her freshman year of college, and asked if she had advice for current seniors.

Her response:

I would stress to the seniors that (despite popular belief) they do not have to go to the best school in the history of mankind to get an excellent education, and more importantly- to be happy, satisfied, and brilliantly themselves. I am embarrassed to admit it, but this took me quite some time to accept myself. I encourage you to let the children know that. It's something I feel many of my peers thought during senior year, and it's a dangerous trap to run into. The power to become one's true self in is inside, not at NYU or Brown or Umich. It is in themselves, and what is right for them.

This could not have been more timely, as seniors agonize through the application process, badgering teachers for recommendations, trying to solve the FAFSA puzzle, writing and rewriting and writing and rewriting essays. Many believe where they get into college is a matter of life and death. For this reason, they will shapeshift to get as many colleges as possible to like them enough to let them in. Often the best version of themselves is not necessarily the most authentic.

So the "Why U of M" or 'Why Harvard" becomes the most challenging essay to write; the real answer might be, "because it's really prestigious and it will impress people." To compound the problem, in our Instagram world, schools have become increasingly easy to apply to, which inflates numbers to create an illusion of exclusivity. U of M loves to tout their admission numbers, but does anyone really believe that 65,684 students really wanted to go there last year? The result is that students who really want to attend are denied and institutions end up with an incoming class of test-taking automatons (it's not really that bad, but you get the idea). To be fair, U of M is doing its part to combat this issue but there is a long way to go. Good news for you (if U of M is a target school): Eagle Scholars are exactly the kind of students they want.

What does this mean for you and your child?

1. First, make sure you apply to schools that are the best fit, name recognition aside. This requires a lot of due diligence beyond surfing websites and flipping through glossy brochures. One great place to start is Colleges That Change Lives, a consortium of small schools with a great track record of producing fantastic, gainfully employed graduates with little debt.

2. Don't make any decisions until you know where you are accepted and exactly how much money you're getting.

3. Pay close attention to the follow-up from the school once you've been accepted. The way you're treated before you enroll is a pretty good indicator of how you'll be treated once you're there.

Also, continue to heed the words of our wise graduate: "The power to become one's true self is inside..."

On an unrelated note, for a much more well-written piece about building resilience in students, check this out.

Mr. Hughes

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Thurston Updates

  • Check out Episode 1 of Mr. Hughes' Study Tips
  • Note the changes to the program requirements.
  • All students must sign up for an individual conference with Mr. Hughes here. Click the appointment link to find a time.
  • Shannon Conley, Zahra Chambers Jamesa Vaughn, Kelsea Chisolm, Deja Jackson, Destini Lucy, Jordan Turner, Mahalia Hill are attending our first-ever overnight college trp at Hope College. Thanks to Ms. Bomphray and Ms. Chisolm for chaperoning!
  • Study sessions run every Thursday from 2:45 - 3:45 in the media center. The Thursday, November 1st session is CANCELLED due to the Hope College trip.
  • If you're interested in being a part of the leadership team, please email me and come to the next Thursday study session.


  • The November 1st early action deadline tomorrow!. Be sure to be working on your essays, asking for recommendations, and filling out applications. I will be in the media center lab today after school to help with final edits on essays, etc.

  • Keep in mind that the best financial aid is that which comes directly from the university.

  • We will continue to work on applications, essays, and scholarships on Mondays during Advisory.

  • We had a great turnout for the college essay workshop on October 25th with Ms. Bomphray. Check out what happened when there were seven slices of pizza left for eight students.



  • Here are some pretty good tips on success in AP courses. You'll notice that many seem pretty obvious!

  • There is a mandatory program meeting on Wednesday, October 24th in the auditorium during Advisory.


  • Remember that you must attend at least 10 study sessions!
  • APUSH students: Here are some pretty good tips on success in AP courses. You'll notice that many seem pretty obvious!

100% of proceeds go toward Eagle Scholars Award winners' college education. These are students who have gone above and beyond the requirements of the program. This is a tax-deductible donation.

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Pierce Updates

6th Grade ESP

6th Grade Scholars receivedtheir Chromebooks on Tuesday, October 20. Scholars will charge their computers in their 6th-hour classes unless they have paid the $40 technology fee. This fee grants them their own case and charger and will allow them to take it home with them at the end of each day. A few helpful tips for proper Chromebook care can be found here.

7th Grade ESP

Mrs. Trost has hit the ground running with great ideas for her section of 7th-grade science. On Friday, October 19 Mrs.Trost and Mr. Parsons took 24 Scholars to the University of Michigan-Dearborn's Environmental Interpretive Center. This was done as part of a larger effort Mrs. Trost undertakes to raise awareness about the environmental impact humans have in the world. The Scholars participated in the program entitled: Pollination Partnerships where they dissected flowers, toured gardens, and gained a deeper appreciation for how pollination occurs, our role in it, and the role of other animals. The Eagle Scholars Program thanks Mrs. Trost for including our Scholars!

8th Grade ESP

The scholars have become authors! 8th-grade scholars have been trying their hand at writing short stories as part of Language Arts. They finished reading The Lady or the Tiger, which is left a cliffhanger. Being unsatisfied, the 8th graders took upon themselves to craft their own ending to their liking. Before doing this, however, the Scholars held a Harkness conversation to help each other understand the story better and generate plausible conclusions to The Lady or the Tiger. Overall, these stories have been really impressive!

General ESP

The Eagle Scholars Program is very proud of its members in the National Junior Honors Society. The fundraiser (bake sale) put on by NJHS raised over $600, the largest amount recorded in Pierce history! Way to go! We also wish a special congratulations to the ESP students who have become the new officers of the National Junior Honors Society:

Gabby Clotfelter and Melody Nelson: Co-Presidents

Josephine Gentner: 1st Vice President

The National Junior Honors Society Induction Ceremony will be held on November 8th at the Thurston High School Auditorium at 6:30 pm. It is crucial that students arrive by 6:00 to prepare. Please let Mr. Parsons or Mrs. Denton know if a student is unable to attend, all are welcome!

The ESP Leadership Team met for the first time this year and has come up with great ideas for spirit wear, community service projects, and other innovative ideas for the program. However, the team is not complete yet. The Leadership Team would now like to invite 6th-grade Scholars to apply to be a member of the team. They are seeking three outstanding leaders! The application can be found here. There is also an opening for another 8th grade Scholar.

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

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