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Upper School

STAR Dinner with Documentary success

March 7, 2024

STAR (Students Together Assisting Refugees) Club successfully held its annual Dinner with Documentary event last week. The event featured experts, including representatives from local refugee organizations, the Deputy Director of DEI for Governor Cooper, and a virtual appearance from Congresswoman Ross. The event offered insights on helping refugees in the community and information on the Global Refugee Crisis. Special thanks to Chef Gabe and his team for catering a delicious authentic dinner for the event. Thank you to everyone who attended and made this event possible! Stay on the look out for events from STAR to continue helping local refugees!

Written by Jack Swingle

Magazine of CA

Independent Thinkers

Community Conversations

Follow the leaders: Spotlight on Leadership In Crisis Program

CA Curious

The best of times

CA Curious

Building Bridges: How One Conference Creates Community at CA and Beyond

March 16, 2023

“You can make what you’re passionate about become a reality […] You can always have a role!”

These rousing words, uttered by keynote speaker Dr. Ya Liu, could not have been truer to the Building Bridges Across Communities conference story. The first of its kind in Cary Academy history, the conference brought together Asian-identifying students and faculty from across multiple Triangle schools in a day of fellowship, fun, and future-oriented enthusiasm. 

It all began one year ago after Leya Tseng Jones, Isa Oon, and I returned from the Asian Educators Alliance (AsEA)conference in California. Invigorated and inspired by the work of Asian diaspora educators from across the country, we immediately began plans to bring a similar necessary experience to our community through connections at other local schools. As Leya explained,  “Collaborating and building strong working partnerships with our counterparts at Durham Academy and Ravenscroft was so rewarding; witnessing the initiative, organization, and collaboration of our student leaders with their counterparts was truly inspiring. Each group took the lead on one component of our morning and thoughtfully managed every detail. I couldn’t be more impressed with what they accomplished together over just a few Zoom meetings of face-to-face time.” 

From the beginning, it was clear to this union, known as the Asian American Alliance, that the conference should not only be student-focused, but student-led. Three student leaders and members of the Upper School Asian American Pacific Islander Affinity Group, senior EJ Jo, junior Eric Xie, and junior Angela Zhang, each took a large role in organizing with other student leaders as well as fellow affinity group students. When asked about how close the first vision was to the final result, the answers were positive. 

“Initially, we wanted to invite a keynote and have a few sessions for discussion,” Angela said. “The result was just that; it was very similar to what we originally thought.” Eric added, “Our turnout was great, especially on such short notice, and every participant definitely seemed to want to be there and actively participated in the group activities and asked insightful questions to our keynote speaker, Dr. Liu. Looking back, there’s very little I would change, if anything at all.”

On Wednesday, March 8, Cary Academy students were joined by members of Durham Academy, Ravenscroft, St. Mary’s School, and the Montessori School of Raleigh. First on the agenda was the keynote address by Dr. Ya Liu, highlighting the connection between the personal and the political.

“I didn’t intend to be a leader,” Dr. Liu told the audience after outlining her impressive experience in community organizing. “It’s precisely because of the work I did. You may think, ‘I’m just a middle schooler, I’m just a high schooler, what can I do?’ […] A lot of these experiences will become part of who you are.” Dr. Liu went on to encourage students to seek out resources from beyond their schools and to “find the friends who will support you. Find the teachers who will support you.” 

Following the speaker, all participants were separated into randomized groups to experience a spectrum activity in which members were asked to discuss the intersections of their identity and what effects this had on their relationship with themselves and others. Students then attended one of several student-only workshops while adults exchanged encouragement and visions for the future in a different affinity group. 

“In both discussion sessions, I heard from many students about their experiences with their ethnicity and race,” Angela recalled of the student portion. “Even though I had never met these students before, it seemed that we had experienced the variation of a common struggle: our adolescent urge to be ‘white.’ So it surprised me how isolated everyone felt compared to how everyone was going through the same thing. Therefore, my biggest takeaway is that we were and are never alone.”

On the adult side, Leya observed that “There are so few Asian-identifying faculty/staff in our schools. We – the adults – need to find time to gather, even if virtually, to connect and support each other. Our brief time together was affirming and empowering.” 

When I looked around the Discovery Studio at the fellowship lunch, it was clear that every person present felt fulfilled and connected. In a world where being Asian American can often lead to so much stress and pressure from many sources, the beauty of Asian diasporic joy becomes not only a delight but a necessity. Looking forward, I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we all intend to keep building this reality we’re so passionate about.

Written by Lauren Bullock, Language Arts and World Cultures Teacher

Community Conversations

Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day

Art

Stats and Storytelling

Middle School

Ubuntu inspires students to think about themselves and their communities

6th

CA Science Olympiad Success!

March 16, 2023

Over the weekend, Cary Academy’s MS Science Olympiad team competed in the regional tournament in Wilmington, NC. We had several students receive medals for their outstanding performances. We are so proud of all the hard work and dedication that each student put into preparing for the competition. Below are the students who received a top 3 placement in the tournament. A huge congratulations goes to Nathan DeMoss (’28) and Jaden Hong (’28) who placed 1st overall in their Roller Coaster event and earned a bid to the State tournament at NCSU in April.

Varsity Top 3 Placements
Nathan DeMoss: 1st place, Roller Coaster
Jaden Hong: 1st place, Roller Coaster AND 3rd place, Crime Busters
Lingfei Tang: 3rd place, Crime Busters
Xuanjin Zhu: 3rd place, Rocks & Minerals
Audrey Fan: 3rd place, Rocks & Minerals

JV Top 3 Placements
Kaitlyn Cromer: 1st place, Write it Do it
Xinya Pan: 1st place, Write it Do it
Rishi Ramesh: 1st place, Crave the Wave AND 3rd place, Code Busters
Keshav Munshi: 1st place, Crave the Wave AND 1st place, Rocks & Minerals
Aarnavi Boppana: 2nd place, Crime Busters
Sebastian Escobar: 3rd place, Code Busters
Levin Ma: 3rd place, Code Busters AND 1st place, Roller Coaster
Rainna Jiang: 1st place, Roller Coaster
Amy Zheng: 1st place, Rocks & Minerals
Sophie Liu: 2nd place, Crime Busters

Overall Top 3 placements
Kaitlyn Cromer: 2nd place, Write it Do it
Nathan DeMoss: 1st place, Roller Coaster
Jaden Hong: 1st place, Roller Coaster AND 3rd place, Crime Busters
Keshav Munshi: 2nd place, Crave the Wave AND 3rd place, Rocks & Minerals
Xinya Pan: 2nd place, Write it Do it
Rishi Ramesh: 2nd place, Crave the Wave
Lingfei Tang: 3rd place, Crime Busters
Amy Zheng: 3rd place, Rocks & Minerals

If you would like to view pictures of the tournament, please use this link: https://photos.app.goo.gl/RgPfugLpLnaGA63w7

Written by Jack Swingle

CA Curious

The best of times

CA Curious

Welcome to our visiting accreditation team

CA Curious

New year, new plan

CA Curious

Beyond the numbers

February 9, 2023

CA’s website proudly proclaims that we “cultivate bold lifelong learners and world changers.” It is a bold statement, for sure, and one that we aim to deliver through our innovative and relentless commitment to the pursuit of discovery, innovation, excellence, and collaboration.  

But what does that look like in practice?  

Perhaps one of the most impactful venues where students are empowered to pursue their interests—often to impressive, change-making results—is our student-led clubs program. A protected part of the Upper and Middle School weekly schedules, clubs are an essential aspect of the student experience, offering a chance to try new things, take risks, pursue passions, share experiences, try on leadership roles, and even create positive change in our local community.  

Don’t take it from me, though.  

I’m going to turn it over to junior Tanya Sachdev, founder of the Students Together Assisting Refugees (STAR) club, to share her club’s origins, goals, and the ways in which our community can come together to support local refugees in our community (spoiler alert: STAR has an informative, engaging and awareness-generating event ahead). 

From Tanya Sachdev, ’24: 

Numbers. We hear them every time we turn on the news. They define our perception of the word “Refugee”: 89.3 million forcibly displaced people, 28 million total refugees in our world (UNHCR). To some, these may just be statistics, but for others, these numbers are their world. The Global Refugee Crisis has become a humanitarian crisis impacting millions of people in our world. Through war, persecution, and natural disasters, the crisis continually expands. 

I learned about the importance of these numbers when I was driving to school in August of 2021. NPR was turned on in the background, sharing about the Afghan Refugee Crisis. As I listened, I was shocked about how little I knew about the word “refugee”. Through researching the Afghan Refugee Crisis, I was perturbed by headlines stating the extent of this crisis. Stories of young children scaling the Hindu Kush mountains or braving the Aegean Sea to escape into freedom headlined my screen. While I was purchasing a new backpack for the school year, thousands of Afghans were packing their backpacks with their most valued possessions for a long journey to find safety; their worlds were changing forever.  

To learn more, I began volunteering at local organizations such as Refugee Hope Partners and CWS Durham. Through tutoring students like “Malia”, a Syrian refugee, or “KK”, a refugee from Botswana, I began to learn their stories and identity beyond the label of “refugee”. I wanted to be able to use my opportunity to give back to the refugee community. As a result, STAR (Students Together Assisting Refugees) Club began in December of 2021. Through Cary Academy’s emphasis on student-led clubs, I was able to create STAR during the middle of the year. With Cary Academy’s support, STAR was able to raise donations, money, and most importantly, awareness. 

After all, STAR began with a sole goal: awareness. Labels such as IDPs, asylum-seekers, and refugees continually pervade news stations with audiences confounded by the differences between the terms. Numbers appear in the form of statistics such as 50% of world refugees are children or nearly 100 million displaced people (UNHCR). The refugee crisis, however, is more than a crisis of numbers and labels. It is a crisis of human suffering. Refugees face unbelievable hardships on their journey to freedom. From being denied basic rights such as education or healthcare to facing violence, abuse, and exploitation, refugees withstand constant adversity. Raising awareness has become a key component to helping local and global refugee organizations.  

One month into the inception of STAR Club at Cary Academy, the Russia-Ukrainian war caused the “fastest growing refugee crisis since World War II” (UNHCR) with nearly 2.9 million refugees fleeing Ukraine. From Syria to Afghanistan to Ukraine, the Global Refugee Crisis remains continuous and unrelenting. As a society, now more than ever, awareness and action have become imperative to support refugees.  

As a result, STAR Club is hosting its first Dinner with a Documentary event on Tuesday, February 28, 2023, from 6 PM-8 PM in the Discovery Studio. The free event will begin by watching “Refugee” by Alexander J Farrell, a true story following a Syrian family separated by the borders of Europe. Their harrowing and emotional journey will be followed by a panel discussion with invited experts. Panelists include representatives from refugee organizations, law students, and even a brief virtual appearance from Congresswoman Ross. The event will be complemented by an authentic Mediterranean dinner spread, complete with desserts and drinks. Be prepared to be moved to tears, to be angry, and for your perception of refugees to be forever changed. 

Please sign up for this unique event as soon as possible- spots are limited. https://www.signupgenius.com/go/8050c4faaa823a75-star#/ 

Written by Mandy Dailey, Director of Communications

CA Curious

Global Learning Continues

Magazine of CA

Equity Matters

Upper School

Speech and Debate on a virtual roll

Speech and Debate

Upper School

Speech and Debate on a virtual roll

October 12, 2020

CA’s speech and debate team is on a roll to start the year, unhampered by the move to virtual tournaments.

They made a mark at the second annual Duke University Speech and DebateTournament, held September 19-20 in a live, virtual format. Alex Lim ’22 took first place in Humorous Interpretation, Bryan Fang ’23 and Christina Polge ’22 placed fourth in JV Lincoln-Douglas and Oral Interpretation, respectively. In addition, twelve members of the team made it out of the initial rounds. The tournament hosted more than 650 entrants, representing more than 120 schools from 25 states.

At the Yale Invitational, October 2-3, Alex Lim again took first place in Humorous Interpretation, with Katherine He ’22 and Christina Polge reaching the semi-finals in Informative Speaking and Oral Interpretation, respectively. Jay Sagrolikar ’21 reached the quarter-finals in Varsity Congress.

During the first Dogwood Speech and Debate League tournament of the year, held online on October 10, CA dominated. Katherine He, Rohan Nangalia ’23, Folu Ogundipe ’22, and Christina Polge took the top spots in Informative Speaking, Novice Congress, Varsity Lincoln Douglas, and Oral Interpretation, respectively. In Novice Congress, Angelika Wang ’24 took third place with Nishant Pai ’23 taking fourth. Ritvik Nalamothu ’21 brought home fourth place in Varsity Congress. Casey Powell ’22 earned runner up in Varsity Lincoln Douglas, while Kareena Sheshadri ’23 and Andrew Lim ’24 took third and fourth, respectively, in Declamation. In Extemporaneous Speaking, Nitya Nalamothu ’23 and Julia Young ’22 earned silver and bronze. Nalamothu also took third in Impromptu Speaking. Sophia Liu ’22 was runner up in Informative Speaking and Sydney Tai ’22 secured third place in Program Oral Interpretation. In addition, 26 students reached the finals in their events and the CA team took the top spot in the Sweepstakes.

Written by Dan Smith, Digital Content Producer and Social Media Manager

Athletics

Super Charging Athletics

CA Curious

Universal yums

Magazine of CA

Window to the World

News

Varsity robotics claims first tournament win in program history

March 2, 2020

During CA varsity robotics’ best performance in their seven-year history, the Chargers went 18-0 to claim their first-ever FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC) tournament.

In the qualifying rounds, where 3-bot alliances are randomly created, CA’s robot charged off to a 12-0 record. It was not a breeze, though, as there were two matches that on paper looked like they would favor the opponent. However, CA’s extremely reliable bot consistently performed the scoring elements, including a climb at the end of the game where the bot does a robot version of a chin-up on a moveable beam. This proved to be crucial to the teams’ success because, in 18 matches, Bartholomew Richard Fitzgerald-Smythe (yes, that’s the robot’s name) successfully climbed 17 times. After match one, the win gave them the #3 rank, and they vacillated between 2nd and 3rd for a few matches. It wasn’t until their fifth victory that the team secured the #1 spot and never relinquished it — despite some heat from a fellow Cary team, Cortechs Robotics, who also went undefeated. The scoring system in FRC rewards winning alliances two ranking points per win, and an additional ranking point, if two robots are a able to climb and balance the moveable beam. The Chargers were able to secure that extra ranking point five times in the qualifying matches, while Cortechs’ alliances earned three ranking points only twice. That was the difference in the Chargers being ranked #1 with the Cortechs’ at #2.

At the end of the qualifying matches (where the alliances had been randomly assigned), there is an Alliance Selection process where the top 8 seeds get to choose who they want on their alliance for the rest of the tournament. As the number 1 seed, the Chargers got first choice and it was a no-brainer to go with the only other undefeated team, especially since their strategies were very complementary and had collaborated well in a qualifying match when they had the first successful balanced climb of the tournament and achieved (at the time) the highest score of the day. With Carrobotics (out of Chapel Hill) as the third bot to round out the alliance, they headed in the quarter-finals. In playoffs, alliances must win two matches to move on. If you’ve done the math, it only took two matches in each of the quarters, semis, and finals to be declared the winner of the Wake District FRC event. Win a win, comes a blue banner, and CA was finally able to bring home that elusive blue banner. They were also recognized as having the best autonomous program for consistency and reliability.

Please join me in congratulating the Chargers for their first-ever appearance on the #1 seed, highest seed they have ever captained, first-ever undefeated tournament, and first-ever tournament win. This puts them in an excellent position to play in the State Championship, as they currently have 78 district points. District points are awarded at the first two tournaments that teams attend, so it’s a cumulative process. However, with such a strong showing and an extremely reliable bot, the Chargers will likely qualify. Their next tournament is March 21-22 at Guilford HS, with the NC Championship on April 4-5 at Campbell University.

If you want to see more statistics or replays from the event, visit https://www.thebluealliance.com/team/5160/2020

Thank you to all the parents for their continued support, to the awesome kids, and to their other coaches Rachel Atay and Scott Allred.

Go Chargers!

Betsy MacDonald – US Design, Programming, and Robotics

Written by Betsy McDonald, US Design, Programming, and Robotics

Magazine of CA

Equity Matters

Upper School

STAR Dinner with Documentary success

Looking back, charging ahead: Celebrating 25 years

CA Model UN at MUNCH

Upper School

CA MUN earns Best Small Delegation at MUNCH

February 25, 2020

CA’s Model United Nations students had an outstanding performance at the UNC Model United Nations Conference, this past weekend. All of our students were either new to MUN or participating in a committee with brand new requirements and challenges. Cary Academy came home with several gavels and awards, including the Best Small Delegation Award, a first for the school. Ms. Barlaz expressed “special thanks to Addie Esposito (’20) for her stellar leadership!”

  • Addie Esposito: Outstanding Delegate, Jasmine Revolution Crisis Committee
  • Natasha Sachar (’22): Best Delegate, UN High Commission on Refugees
  • Julia Young (’22): Verbal Commendation, UN Office of Drugs and Crime
  • Claire Ferris (’21) and Loren Troan (’20): UN Conference on Trade and Development
  • Emma Esposito (’23) and Teja Wasudev (’23): International Maritime Organization

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CA Curious

French Fries

Paying it Forward: Introducing the Center for Community Engagement Equity Fund

Alumni Spotlight

Gridiorn Insider

Library from quad

Upper School

CA’s SciOly teams are headed to States

February 3, 2020

Competing at Southeast Raleigh High School on February 1, Cary Academy’s Science Olympiad teams received the Spirit Award for the 2nd year running. Students demonstrated our community values of respect, integrity and compassion throughout the day and this was noted by several event leaders and other coaches.



As a team, JV had a solid 4th place finish with several event medalists. Varsity also finished 4th which earned CA a bid to the state tournament at NCSU on April 24-25! 

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Community

Finding Camaraderie, Collaboration in Mask Making

Athletics

Charger swimmers close out the 2021 season as State Champions, Runners-Up

CA Curious

The best of times

Ethics Bowl win

Upper School

CA’s Ethics Bowl team crowned State champs

January 27, 2020

We feel a sense of moral obligation to say CONGRATULATIONS to CA’s ethics bowl team, for winning the 2020 North Carolina High School Ethics Bowl, held on Saturday, at UNC’s Parr Center for Ethics, selected on 15 of 18 ballots.

Defeating NC School of Science and Mathematics in the final round, the team will compete April 17-19 at the National High School Ethics Bowl, which will be held, pragmatically, at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Cary Academy’s ethics bowl team, founded by faculty members Robert Coven and Richard Pellicciotta in 2018, is definitely on the right track.

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Community

It’s a wrap!

Athletics

Charger swimming dominates at States

Community Conversations

Grandparents’ and Special Friends’ Day