October 2018 Newsletter

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On changing our mind

I recently read an article about Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his thoughts on intelligence. He argues that intelligent people are okay with changing their minds--and thus are used to being wrong--a lot.

Ralph Waldo Emerson (not as rich as Bezos but no less brilliant) said it even more eloquently: "A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds... Speak what you think now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradicts everything you said today."


Let me get this straight, Mr. Hughes. You're asking me to find the right answer, then later acknowledge that I might have been wrong? That's not very "Honors Programmy" of you. What would a teacher or SAT reader or admissions counselor think? Blasphemy! We're supposed to use evidence to find the answers and then stick to those answers at all costs. "Flip-flopping" is a sign of weakness.

Actually, it's a sign of intellectual strength. The more information we gather, the more experiences we have, the more likely we are to change our minds. And this is not just for kids, by the way. Turn on any media outlet and you'll notice that most adults have a hard time admitting they were wrong even when faced with those relics we call facts.

Yes, there are some fundamental truths that we all live by; those are called principles. But if you change your mind on a controversial issue, or a dream college, or a homecoming date, you're actually showing that you're thoughtful and reflective. And that's a good thing. In fact, for admissions counselors, that's about as good as it gets.

So as you navigate the world in and out of the classroom, remember that you are not bound tomorrow by the beliefs you have today. The world could use a few more people who are okay with, "I was wrong about that."

Mr. Hughes

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Thurston Updates

  • Parents: you will be receiving an invite soon from Sangha, an app to streamline communication and paperwork for parents. Just a heads up that this is not spam!
  • 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.
  • Study sessions tun every Thursday from 2:45 - 3:45 in the media center.


  • The November 1st early action deadline is approaching. Be sure to be working on your essays, asking for recommendations, and filling out applications.

  • 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.



  • 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.


  • There is a mandatory program meeting on Wednesday, October 3rd in the media center during Advisory.
  • For students in APUSH, summer work is due October 1st.
  • APUSH students: Here are some pretty good tips on success in AP courses. You'll notice that many seem pretty obvious!
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Pierce Updates

6th Grade ESP

6th Grade Scholars will receive their 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.

It’s not about ‘what can I accomplish?’ but ‘what do I want to accomplish?’ -Brene Brown

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