Misha White

Misha White is an unstoppable natural force for Good. Before she was a Dean’s List student in Nonprofit Leadership and Management at Arizona State University, before she was President and Founder of Critical Connections, a student leadership group, Misha White was a student at The Early College of Arvada. And we knew her as Misha. We knew her as “Mish-Mash.”

Though the classes at ECA were rigorous and prepared me for college, the people prepared me for a lifetime of reflection and drive to always become better.
— Misha White

At ECA, Misha spearheaded the blue jean drive for the homeless, the recycling club, and was a tireless advocate for Denver’s Homeless as a writer with The Denver Voice. Misha also served as ECA’s Community Events Coordinator.

But that wasn’t all.

Misha also led ECA’s first Diversity Day. Misha led ECA’s Jean Drive. And the Food Drive. And the Sleeping Bag Drive. And when she wasn’t providing community leadership, Misha won the Daniels Fund Winner, Greenhouse Scholar, and was the Class of 2014 ECA Salutatorian.

The leadership skills Misha built at ECA have sparked and spurred her path forward. Currently, Misha serves as an Arizona Scholar Ambassador for the Daniels Fund, hosting incoming Daniels Scholars and providing mentorship for incoming college students.

This past summer Misha ran as part of ECA’s Colfax Fundraising Team and interned at The Denver Foundation providing her an eye-opening, hands-on experience in the foundation’s best practices and culture.

The Early College of Arvada provided me the first opportunity to explore who I am and what I can contribute to the world. When I walked into ECA I stopped being student Misha I started being Misha, who fights for what she wants, searches for purpose, and has growing capacities for love and empathy.
— Misha White

Unstoppable Natural Forces for Good know no rest. Our world needs more “good” and more leaders like Misha. And we are proud that no matter where she leads, Misha can always call ECA home.

Middle Schoolers Master Percentages with Bargain Shopping

Last week ECA’s pre-algebra classes took a field trip to a local shopping center to practice what they’ve been learning about calculating percentages. In teams, they were tasked with finding a particular piece of clothing (pants, shirt, etc.) with the greatest discount. Armed with calculators and worksheets, these teams searched the racks and all in all saved over $450! The winning team saved an impressive 83% off the original price. All clothing was then donated to a clothing drive.

Art – Music – Drama at ECA

The hallways are buzzing with excitement and creativity at The Early College of Arvada. Middle School students in Dr Owen’s Visual Arts classes explored the arts of antiquity and created new, modern versions of prehistoric cave paintings. After careful study of Egyptian art in their current project, each student became the “Pharaoh” and designed a biographical wall with hieroglyphics and symbolic language.
Art across the disciplines recently moved from within the math, English, history, and science classrooms into the hallways of ECA. These colorful creations inspire us as we travel from class to class. Moreover they remind us of the importance of the Arts – Music, Drama, Fine Arts, and Art History – as a discipline within a liberal arts curriculum.
Students in music, drama, and art continue to prepare for the spring musical, Sleepy Hollow, with performances on April 8th and 9th, 2016. While Mrs Bidstrup-Graham manages all aspects of the performance, each actor responds to her inspiration with concentrated effort. In addition, actors are assembling costumes and props as they whole-heartedly participate in rehearsals. Meanwhile, Dr Owen’s high school visual arts students are designing and creating stage set pieces. After careful analysis of the script and purchases with a modest budget, students with a limited art background are working alongside more advanced students to literally set the stage and foster an atmosphere of magic and transformation during the public performances.

Dr Nusz’s Inaugural Computer Science Course

ECA’s first computer science course is in full swing! Check out our ECA Scratch Studio that highlights several pieces of student work from our course, Problem Solving with Computers. The projects are all written in Scratch, a visual computer programming language designed by the Massachusetts Institute for Technology Media Lab specifically to help students understand the basics of computer programming. The first module of our Problem Solving with Computers course is focused on designing simulations, animations, and games in Scratch. 

Please browse the projects to see and interact with the excellent work our students have been contributing, and check back frequently to view new updates.

Dr Greg Nusz
Math and Science Teacher

Black History Month: Ida B. Wells

71 years before Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat, a woman named Ida B. Wells bit a train conductor.

She was born a slave in 1862, and by 1882 she was a teacher, enrolled at Fisk University in Nashville.

In 1884, Ida bought a first class ticket on a train from Memphis to Nashville.

The train conductors told her to get out of her seat and go to the “black car”.

She refused. When the conductors forcibly removed her from her seat, she bit one of them on the hand.

Ida sued the railroad, and won $500 in a circuit court. The Tennessee Supreme Court then overturned the decision.

Fueled by the injustice of this, Ida began to write about segregation and racism in the South. She worked her way to owning three newspapers. She continued teaching, and was fired from her job in 1891 for speaking out against the segregation of schools.

Ida kept writing.

She uncovered the true scale of the widespread practice of lynching, and she published it. A mob stormed her newspaper office and destroyed everything. Ida was told she’d be killed if she kept writing.

She didn’t stop.

Ida joined the women’s rights movement of the 1920s, but found that even there, racism and discrimination held sway. In 1931, she was told that the black members of the National American Woman Suffrage Association would have to march separately from the white members. Ida refused, and slipped into her state’s white delegation at the start of the parade.

Ida worked for equal access to education, women’s rights, and the end of segregation until her death in 1931. 

I felt that one had better die fighting against injustice than to die like a dog or a rat in a trap.
— Ida B. Wells

Shannon Murphree, English Teacher

CLIMB Physics Takes On Mars

Martian fever has hit CLIMB physics classes! Students have spent the last couple of weeks designing, building, and testing rovers that would survive obstacles found on the rugged terrain of the Martian surface. Following the engineering design process, students first collaborated with classmates to create a rover design that met a set of detailed specifications. Addressing many design goals including safely transporting precious instrumentation and utilizing common household items as building materials, students were challenged to think outside of the box. Test day was filled by showcasing intricate designs and vehicle construction, some surviving the test course better than others. Every student walked away with a deeper understanding of the engineering design and testing process. Students were able to make connections to units covered on velocity, acceleration and energy, supporting their test runs with detailed calculations. Beyond designing and building a rover, CLIMB classes also discussed the connection between ethics and advances in science after watching The Martian

Dr Danielle Ladd
Science Teacher

Black History Month: Harriet Tubman

 Harriet Tubman

Harriet Tubman

She stood all of four foot seven.

When Harriet Tubman escaped the bondage of slavery in Maryland, she became a “conductor of the Underground Railroad” and returned 13 more times to the South, rescuing over 70 friends and family.

Southern slave owners placed a high-priced bounty on her head.

Under the cover of night, knowing the terrain, she moved. Under her dress she concealed a six-shooter pistol.

I was the conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can’t say — I never ran my train off the track, and I never lost a passenger.
— Harriet Tubman

During the Civil War, she led and guided the Union Army in an armed raid on rice plantations along the Combahee River in South Carolina and liberated over 700 slaves.

After the war, in upstate New York, she was active in the women’s suffrage movement and served as the head of a home for newly freed slaves. When church officials who assisted in running the home demanded that all new applicants pay $100 to enter, Ms Tubman demanded that only those who could not pay be allowed to enter.

I had reasoned this out in my mind; there was one of two things I had a right to, liberty or death; if I could not have one, I would have the other.
— Harriet Tubman

February is Black History Month. For dreaming and doing, The Early College of Arvada honors the courage and leadership of Harriet Tubman.

 Harriet Tubman, as she appeared on US postage stamp

Harriet Tubman, as she appeared on US postage stamp

Remembering President Lincoln on a Warm Valentine Weekend

On this long, near balmy holiday weekend, ECA remembers and honors.

His father could only sign his name with an X.

As a child and young man, he suffered the loss of his mother, sister, and first girlfriend. As a father, he buried two of his sons.

He memorized long sections of Shakespeare and Homer, taught himself Euclidean geometry, and the law.  

He opposed the War on Mexico.

He believed every child in America should have access to public school.

He saved and liberated the Union.

And in his words we find the charge for our country and ourselves to listen to the better angels of our nature.

Be great.

Letter from Tolstoy to Gandhi (excerpt) on the Law of Love

When an individual passes from one period of life to another a time comes when he cannot go on in senseless activity and excitement as before, but has to understand that although he has outgrown what before used to direct him, this does not mean that he must live without any reasonable guidance, but rather that he must formulate for himself an understanding of life corresponding to his age, and having elucidated it must be guided by it. And in the same way a similar time must come in the growth and development of humanity. I believe that such a time has now arrived — not in the sense that it has come in the year 1908, but that the inherent contradiction of human life has now reached an extreme degree of tension: on the one side there is the consciousness of the beneficence of the law of love, and on the other the existing order of life which has for centuries occasioned an empty, anxious, restless, and troubled mode of life, conflicting as it does with the law of love and built on the use of violence. This contradiction must be faced, and the solution will evidently not be favorable to the outlived law of violence, but to the truth which has dwelt in the hearts of men from remote antiquity: the truth that the law of love is in accord with the nature of man.
— excerpt from a letter from Tolstoy to Gandhi

Broncos Fever Sweeps ECA Math Classes

In more than one math class, Bronco fever has swept ECA students. Even before the Broncos made it to the playoffs, Algebra 2 students created projects based on the Broncos and football-related math. Some focused on scoring algorithms, others looked at the geometry of the playing field. And in our college Introductory Statistics course, a group of students prepares to gather and analyze Super Bowl data. Go, math, and go, team!

Dr Erica Hastert
Math Teacher