Women and Mr. Kwan in STEM

“An Evening Celebrating Women in STEM” took place this year on Tuesday, January 29 in our own MPR. Hosted by the Explorit Science Center, The American Association of University Women, and DVCA, this event was a hit for girls of all ages throughout the Davis area.

This evening event boasted a panel of six female scientists in occupations ranging from the Chief Economist at the California Department of Finance, who examines trends that occur over people and money across the state, to a retired Laboratory Director of the California Department of Justice DNA Lab, who studied the tiny things within us that make each person different. Attendees learned about each panel members’ education and the path that each took to their current positions. Teigen Johnson, a Da Vinci junior, observed that, “Each woman had a passion for their career and it was great to hear about their personal experiences and what fascinates them about their individual fields.”

After the panel introductions, smaller groups of attendees had the opportunity to speak with each woman. Johnson added, “I learned that you can reach high places and become successful and happy, without having a plan or knowing what you would like to do while you’re still just in high school.” Leaving with another bit of wisdom, Johnson notes, “No matter your gender, just be determined and work harder than those around you.”

The beauty in events like this are in the unique experiences and interactions for everyone attending – even to Mr. Kwan, our famed Physics and Chemistry teacher. Mr. Kwan also attended this event, pointing out, “Your career path is very subject to change and that’s okay and that you should do what interests you so you can do it for a long time. It’s not just a job, it’s a career.” This is universal, whether or not you are looking to be a woman in STEM, or to be a world renowned florist. Taking the time to find what you love and enjoy becomes worth it.

Ultimately, the lessons from the event can be repurposed in many walks of life. It’s important to keep in mind that it’s okay to not have a perfectly defined education and career plan, as long as you also work hard, are determined to succeed, and to seek things that bring you joy. On a final note, Mr. Kwan reminds everyone, “It’s definitely an event that will continue to happen and should happen again.” Keep an eye out for a flyer for the next event!

Performances in Winter Feast

One of the most memorable fixtures of Da Vinci’s Winter Feast is the student talent show. In previous years, students sang, played instruments, and even brought together bands. Among this year’s performances, we saw senior Valerie Alden’s heartfelt rap and a band of juniors take the stage with a performance of Moby Dick by Led Zeppelin.

Behind their amazing performances were hours and hours of practice. From choosing the words of her song to practicing and perfecting it, Alden explains the story behind her song, “I’m thanking Da Vinci for all they’ve done to help me three years.” Her expression in her music was to leave an impactful message. “Because I’m a senior and I’m excited and sad to be leaving the Dino family and I thought I would say thank you in a unique way.”

Seniors Sam McGlynn, Aleksei Kaufman, Alex Weinshilboum and Nico Chequain sing a rendition of ‘Mine Diamonds’ with sophomore Aaron Eckey

Speaking to her experience in the genre, Alden says, “With rap I can get out my feelings. I enjoy making music because I’ve been rapping since 9th grade . It’s fun and healthy way to get out your emotions and feelings.”

One way that Carter Luck, John Campi and David Carlip was able to display their musical expertise was through their thoughtful song selection, chosen for its solos. Another difficulty their group encountered was finding a song, despite their lack of vocalist. Luck notes, “Since we didn’t have a vocalist, we tried to find songs without vocals and a focus on solos.” Their song was a great display of their talents, while being mindful of their constraint.

Senior Eric Aguilar rips on the guitar during a performance of The Eagles’ Hotel California

Like Alden, Luck also had a background in his music, but instead of with rapping, with playing the drums. He says, “I have played drums for about five years. I like being in the zone and playing cool solos.”

2018 Da Vinci alumni Camilo Rodriguez and Carson Janke perform an original song

Through all of the performances, the souls of each student shined, as they displayed not only just a performance, but something they each loved.

A Visit from Your Future

This year, students have multiple opportunities to learn about colleges here at Da Vinci. With representatives coming from as far as Oregon, our students have the chance to ask questions about the process of applying to college as well as college-specific questions. Every college visit is free and open to any Da Vinci high school student.

Whether you can’t be transported to college campuses outside of Yolo County, or you have no free time outside of school, visits from these colleges take place during the school day and at lunch, so they are easily accessible to anyone on campus at that time.

For students who are wondering what to expect from a college visit, look no further than Da Vinci’s own counselors, Ms. Roper and Ms. Strand. Although Ms. Strand recognizes that Da Vinci only hosts a handful of colleges, Da Vinci students are also welcome to attend Davis Senior High’s college visits.  She notes, “The College and Career Center at DHS has multiple college visits every week.” On the topic of how students can get updates on events, Ms. Strand said, “Juniors and seniors are encouraged to view and sign up through Naviance for the college visits at DHS.” Sophomores – don’t forget, it’s never too early to sign up for Naviance and get ahead in life.

Becca Wittman, a Da Vinci senior, has firsthand experience in attending a college event. The event taught her many helpful things. On the event, she commented, “We get to talk a lot about requirements for the college, about clubs that are offered on campus, student unions, music programs, sports teams, that kind of stuff, and where it’s situated like if it’s in the city or if it’s out in the wild.” These are all factors that go to making college an enjoyable experience, so it’s important to know! She also spoke about the importance and exclusivity of the events, with her experience going to the Lewis and Clark college visit, saying, “it was really helpful because not everybody is going to have the chance to visit them because they’re so far away.”

UCLA will be visiting from SoCal

The college visits at both Da Vinci and Davis Senior High are great opportunities for our students to be exposed to helpful college information and to ask the representatives any questions. Look forward to upcoming visits from U-Oregon, UCLA, and U-Puget Sound in the coming month. If you miss any of these, Ms. Strand encourages students to “visit the school’s website, take a virtual tour, read the view books in the College Corner in the presentation room, or consult with their counselor.”

Gather your questions and look forward to answers!


Here’s the Fall Tea!

Making our way into the fall season, Da Vinci students have expressed a wide variety of autumn drink tastes. Ranging from the warm and fuzzy, to icy and spiced, Davis can fulfill flavors from either end of the spectrum. In order to determine the best, we visited three locations to test their fall flavors: a Davis exclusive known as Mishka’s Cafe, a local chain called Philz Coffee, and an international chain, Starbucks.

For junior Gemma Bertain, the ideal fall drink doesn’t have too many wild specifications. She noted, “I like things that are exclusive for fall…like, I want to drink it while I can. In Davis, on days when it is cold, I like a drink that will warm me both mentally, spiritually, and physically.” Can a local cafe meet her expectations?

With our first stop at Mishka’s, we ordered a Chai tea and a Jasmine tea. Upon first impression, the cafe’s dim, warm light helped to create a relaxed and welcoming environment. There are many seats inside, but for those who prefer the outdoors, there are tables available as well. Ordering was fast and the wait was short. The Chai tea was smooth, with a sweet spice and a warm after-feeling. As for the Jasmine tea, Gemma commented, “I ended up adding a little bit of cream and sugar to it.” Upon later reflection, she recalled that the drink did not satisfy, stating, “I think I was doomed from the beginning because it was a hot day, but it also didn’t have the spices of a fall drink. It tasted kind of flat and it was really hot.” Leaving the shop, it was clear that the Chai tea was the superior fall drink from Mishka’s Cafe.

Da Vinci senior, Becca Wittman, also has a specific criteria for a good fall drink. She says, “It has to be iced – I never drink hot drinks.”

Moving onto Philz Coffee, one of the first impressions was the amount of natural light, brought in by the windows that lined two faces of the shop. Another Chai tea was ordered. This time, with a modification – it was iced. The spiced tea was surprisingly refreshing with the new addition, but it quickly became watery. Upon reaching the final quarter of the drink, the consistency had changed from smooth and pleasant to sandy and undrinkable.

The final stop was Starbucks. Becca has tried both of their signature fall flavors, but prefers one over the other, commenting, “My favorite of their fall drinks is the salted caramel mocha. I just enter a new state of consciousness.” It’s no wonder Starbucks has fans across the world.

Through these experiences, it is clear that there are many different characteristics that can go forth to construct the ideal fall drink, and that Davis can provide for those ideals. At the end of the day, a fall drink can be made with spice or ice, and or broken by Davis’s fall weather.

Da Vinci Offering New Clubs This Fall

Starting off this 2018-19 school year, Da Vinci will be hosting a variety of colorful clubs. From the Ultimate Frisbee club, to DV’s own Gender & Sexualities Alliance, to the South Korea Club that travels across the ocean every summer, there is a club for almost everyone. If you find that none of the following clubs reflect your interests, the status of an unofficial club is where many of this year’s clubs started; all you need is a common interest and some comrades.

The Dungeons and Dragons club, headed by Carter Adams, a junior, is starting off its first official year with great success. The goal of his club is to “provide a fun and engaging space to sort of ‘nerd out’ for a while in the presence of other people who share similar interests,” says Adams.  A typical DnD club meeting consists of activities related to Dungeons and Dragons, from writing stories and characters and worldbuilding, to “a bunch of other stuff that people probably haven’t heard of,” Adams claims. There may be only one or two ways to find out that “other stuff”, with attending their weekly meetings in Mr. Bell’s room being one of them.  

The J.A.M. club, or the Japanese Animated Movie club invites any and all who are interested in the anime genre or are simply interested in expanding their movie horizons. Led by junior Mitchell Maximillian Manalac Madayag, this new club isn’t all just movies. “We plan to have discussions about the movie, general anime debates, and cooking sessions(mainly jam),” adds Madayag. Meetings take place in Mr. Kurth’s room every Tuesday at lunch, and welcomes new people to its casual environment.

The Video Game club, created by senior Diego Acevedo, is aimed to introduce people to and to improve skills in video games. Also a newly official club this 2018-19 school year, the Video Game Club starts off “… with a presentation about either a certain concept or game, then we play that game,” according to Acevedo. Although the video game club existed last year, they were made official this year to “…organize fundraisers or events that will help us buy new equipment for the school…,” says Acevedo. The opportunity to participate in this clubs comes once a week, in Mr. Bell’s room.

Da Vinci is also the home to Mock Trial, Overwatch, Gardening, Project Smile, GSA, 3D Printing, South Korea, and Ultimate Frisbee clubs. If none of these sounded appealing, new clubs are always welcome.