CATS Academy Courier

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Student life

L3 Innovation Challenge: The Human-Side of STEM

By Le Dong Hai “DoHa” Nguyen

Best described as a design-thinking bootcamp that mimics a hackathon, the L3 Innovation Challenge is an annual competition hosted by YouthCities in partnership with Boston Children Hospital and LabCentral. During this ten-week bootcamp, students work in teams to create technological solutions to real-world problems. This year, students had to use smart textiles to create prototypes and actual products that addressed pediatric healthcare concerns. Seven students from CATS participated in the competition and, on November 14th, presented their ideas to a panel of health care industry specialists, entrepreneurs, and venture capitalists.

CATS students attending the L3 Innovation Challenge 2018 at LabCentral, Cambridge, MA

The spotlight is on, and the eyes of more than one hundred people are on us. Holding the 3D Prototype of SOGAI, which stands for System Of Glucose-Detection & Automatic Insulin-Injection, we gradually move onto the stage for our final presentation in the Youth CITIES competition. Adrenaline that had been accumulating for the past seven weeks of the competition urged every single word on the tip of our tongue to erupt.

This is the story of DoHa Nguyen, Jiho Choi, and Serafina Mei, who have applied Smart Textile, 3D Printing technology and comprehensive research on type 2 diabetes to create the SOGAI and mySOGAI app. The project got the team into the Final Round and was verbally commended by the judge-Dr. Kate Donovan, the Director of Immersive Technologies at Boston Children Hospital, as the Best Research.

Five other CATS students had revolutionary products as well. Anastasia Dvoryanchikova and Alex Shevtcova’s Diaperstic earned Anastasia the individual Award of Rising Innovator. Mia Huynh, Malak Elaouinate and Luisa Maia were complimented by Mr. Peter Parker, the CEO and Co-Founder of LabCentral, for the highly visual prototype of their project, TEMPA Temperature Regulating Children Suit and MyBABY TEMPA App.

Every Wednesday during the eight weeks of the L3 Innovation Challenge, our CATS Team were taken by Mr. O’Donnell to LabCentral in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Here, students from dozens of high schools in the Boston area were divided into groups with the goal of turning innovative ideas into real products that would solve demanding medical problems. We had the opportunity to collaborate with and learn from students of different schools, to meet with our mentors (VIP industry experts in various fields from medical entrepreneurships involved with cancer treatment to Biometrics), and to widen our perspective and respect for backend scientists, who quietly devote their resources and knowledge for a better world. At LabCentral, where the contest was hosted, we saw marvelous laboratories and R&D centers in a 70,000 square-foot historic, MIT-owned facility. I could not help but think that never before had Isaac Newton’s famous saying been so clear and convincing: “What we know is a drop, what we don’t know is an ocean.”

The experiences we gained from this competition went beyond the scientific knowledge accumulated from top-notch experts. It broadened and changed our perspectives and attitudes towards STEM as a field of endeavor. I found it realistic, practical and very demanding. Awards, compliments and recognition, albeit valuable and deserving, are just the tip of the iceberg that made this eight-week rigorous journey worthwhile.

Anti-Racism Day

By Jessica Ngo

CATS students speaking out against racism during the Anti-Racism Day Forum

On Friday, November 3rd, Ms. Carroll and the LGBTQ Alliance Club held an Anti-Racism Open Forum in the Student Lounge. Earlier in the week, teachers and students shared their experiences with racism in a brief video in the CATS Morning Announcements. The open forum on Friday continued this discussion, giving the CATS community a safe place to open up about their personal experiences with racism and to learn more about other people’s point of view on this sensitive topic.

Racism is discrimination based on differences in ethnicity and skin color. Anti-racism is the movement against racism that advocates for racial tolerance. The purpose of Anti-Racism Day is to help spread the idea that everyone is the same despite differences in race. Having an event at CATS where students and faculty from around the world can speak up about racism is especially important.

Personally, I think that the forum was an amazing opportunity for students to have their voices heard on racism. Every one of us may experience the effects of discrimination during our lifetime based on our own racial differences or those of our friends and family. I was impressed by how many people spoke up at the forum and shared stories of racism and how it has affected them and the people around them.  

A big thank you to all who participated in the event. Special thanks go out to Ms. Carroll, Ms. Doyle, Anastasia Dvoryanchikova, Norah Laoui, and Martina Ibrahim who worked hard to make Anti-Racism Day possible. They worked together and came up with many ideas and questions that helped get the conversation on racism started at CATS.

Many thanks to Anastasia Dvoryanchikova for letting me interview her and for sharing great behind-the-scenes stories for this article.

Holiday Themed Spot the Difference – Answer Key

By DoHa Nguyen & Ms. Bowen


Answer Key:

  1. Right Lady missing her hat
  2. Right lady is missing her yellow bag
  3. Right lady scarf is green (purple in key)
  4. Right lady is missing her umbrella
  5. Small lamp is missing from outside the store window
  6. Red book in the window (blue in key)
  7. Small round tree in front of store is missing
  8. Small red box with white bow in store window is missing
  9. Small pale in window of store missing.
  10. 3 stockings in store window missing
  11. Dog in front of store is missing
  12. Little potted pine tree in front of store is missing
  13. Snowman with blue hat in store window is missing
  14.  Lights over top of store are missing
  15. Holly on the left corner of store window are missing
  16. Lights above store door are missing
  17.  The man’s yellow package is missing
  18. Left lady’s umbrella is navy blue (turquoise in key)
  19. Red bow is missing from the lamppost
  20. Scooter in left side of store window is yellow (red in key)

Scholars Trip to RPI University

By Alex Shevtsova

“Where are you from?” a girl with straight blond hair asks us, taking a sip of coffee in the RPI dining hall with her friend.

“Erm…. We are from CATS Boston…,” I answer hesitatingly.

“Which college is that?” she asks, exchanging perplexed looks with her friend.

“It’s a high school.” We burst into laughter.

“Ah, right,” she smiles. Her friend smiles too.  “Planning to apply?”

A short conversation with these RPI students enriched us with information about the 6th best engineering college in the U.S. The students we met were taking chemical and biological engineering classes, and they were happy to know that some of us wanted to as well. “It is probably the best school for research possibilities,” they said. “ And for all types of inspiration.”


We looked around. Located in Troy, New York, RPI University is gracefully enclosed in the nearby hills and overlooks the Hudson River–a spectacular view for nature lovers.

This picturesque place looked empty the chilly early morning we arrived, but it took just a moment to come alive. When we went inside, we saw a Video Game Competition, full of glowing screens and moving joysticks. RPI students create an atmosphere within the university walls and we, as potential new students, were encouraged to contribute to it.

We passed through the hall and exited on the other side of the building. The ‘86 Field divided the campus in two – the research centers and recreation. Opinions were divided on which side to choose. The neutral direction went right in front of the Computer Center, to the west from the Field; the library was quiet and almost empty. I joined my friends with an atlas, exploring the terrain and looking at others who were playing chess on an antiquated coffee table.

For quite a while, we lingered smelling the old books, watching the wind burying massive buildings in leaves outside, and wondering how many things can come together in one amazing place. Artistic inspiration, a calm, educational atmosphere, a cozy family spirit, and incredible sport facilities. This is what we saw that day.

This is what we saw at RPI:  

Indoor Snowball Fight for Charity!

By Mia Huynh and Jenn Lee

Community Service Club is coming at you with another event for students as well as faculty to help our community – an Indoor Snowball Fight on the last day of classes! This event comes with a surprising twist though.  Instead of snowballs, we will be throwing new socks!

We know that everyone loves a good snowball fight outside in the cold winter, so why not participate in one that’s indoors to blow off some steam before finals week? Most importantly, your participation will help the Braintree community, as all of the socks purchased during the event will be donated to Father Bill’s and Mainspring Homeless Shelters afterwards. Many homeless people only have one pair of socks to keep them warm during the cold winter. Participating in our Indoor Snowball Fight is one way to get a lot of socks to those who need them while having a lot of fun!

The club raised money to cover the cost of the event through the sale of tickets and socks during lunch time in front of the cafeteria from November 28th to December 4th.  The price was $5 for 7 sock balls and $10 for 15.

The Indoor Snowball Fight will be held at 11 AM on December 7th in the gym. You can watch the event for $1. Snacks will be offered for sale at the event, so bring your cash!

Hopefully your house will have stocked up many snowballs for the fight! Houses will create cardboard forts for the event this week and fight together as a team.  The more participants on your team, the greater your chances of dominating the snowball fight! Points will be awarded to the house with the best fort.

This will be the first time ever for this event, and we can’t wait!

We’ll see you there!

Thanksgiving at CATS

By Serafina

It was November. Winter came much faster this year than expected. Snow did not want to wait, it came early desperately falling from the sky.  My classmates could not wait, either as they started booking their flights home for Thanksgiving. Later their hands would be busy dragging the heavy, stuffed suitcases with tiny wheels on bumpy roads. For most of my classmates, their goal for Thanksgiving was clear: visit family, have fun, go shopping, or just get sleep.


I wasn’t planning to travel anywhere and wanted to treat Thanksgiving Break as the last refuge before the upcoming overwhelming finals week. I was going to celebrate Thanksgiving at CATS. Thanksgiving is not a festival celebrated in most Asian countries. Many students at CATS, including myself, are not familiar with the customs and meaning of Thanksgiving. Yet my friends got into the spirit of the holiday and attempted to make a turkey using a microwave, which ended up a mistake that should never be repeated.


The loud noise of the outside world like music at Karaoke, the chatting voices at a restaurant, and the rumbling noise of vehicles seemed to emphasize and contrast against the silence in the dorms—the school seemed forgotten and faded away. Fortunately, although many rooms were left vacant, we did not feel lonely. The emptiness of campus was offset by the little surprises— a special promotion prepared by the Dining Hall as well as the delicious dinners held by many dorm parents on their floor were heartfelt. The were also several shuttles to stores, outlets, and the mall where we got to experience the most crowded time of the year at a shopping mall.


I do not regret giving up sitting by the fire and surrounding myself with relatives during Thanksgiving dinner. Instead, I learned about Thanksgiving in a new way. Staying at CATS during the break taught me to customize and reinvent my own holiday—be it having an adventure to Boston with close friends for the first time or buying gifts for family and friends during Black Friday on my own dime. My Thanksgiving Break added to my wonderful experience of studying abroad and became one of those memories that makes me smile whenever I recall it.

CATS’ Fall Play “She Kills Monsters” 

By Norah Laoui

The 2018 Fall play at CATS Academy started in the middle of September with auditions that lasted for about two days.  Students read the introduction monologue and acted out scenes with other students. In this way, our cast was formed!

We then began our production of “She Kills Monsters” by Qui Nguyen. The play follows an average girl named Agnes who tries to learn more about her little sister, Tilly, through a Dungeons & Dragons game that her sister created. The story jumps in and out of the imaginary world that her sister has created. Filled with awesome sword fights and all things geeky, the story is exciting, but, more importantly, it explores the relationships (good and bad) between each of the characters. The play is an amazing story that can make you laugh and cry or perhaps even empathize with the characters to understand deeper messages that theater can sometimes teach an audience. 

With the show fast approaching, our cast worked hard, along with the play’s director and stage crew, to bring this story’s powerful message to life. The cast met after school every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 4:00 to 5:45 and, at times, even on the weekends from September through the end of November.

       Photo credit to Noah Ellegood

There’s a saying: “A cast can become like a small family within a community.” Our cast proved this saying true. At the beginning of rehearsal most days, we played a fun team-building exercise like the game Ninja to get to know each other better and to shake off any stresses from the day. No matter how good or bad our day was, play rehearsal always made us smile, laugh, and just have fun together. We can’t thank Mr. Punches our amazing director enough for all he’s dedication and hard work to help us prepare to present this production of “She Kills Monsters” and all his hard work on building the set. We also want to thank Mr. Napier, Mr. Archer, Mr. Phelan and Mr. Lewan and everyone else who helped us for their amazing work on the props and set designs and music which gave the show a professional aura.

From the cast and crew, we hope you enjoyed the play as much as we enjoyed performing it for you!

“Black Wings” Fashion Show

By: Nuray Salina

On Thursday, April 26th, CATS Academy Boston held its spring fashion show and the theme  was “Black Wings.” The event took place in our gym which was fitted with a runway. It was led by Ms. Jacobson and attended by students, teachers, and international guests who came to see the masterpieces of our young designers. All of the costumes and clothes were created by CATS students, who put enormous effort into their designs.  Hundreds of hours and a wave of emotions and worries preceded the students inevitable success.

The staging and lighting was tremendous and really showed the fashions to their best!  A single bright spotlight effectively illuminated the podium and student models. Black and red shades created an atmosphere of mystery and romance. All this generated an environment in which students could not wait for the show to start.

It began with Ms. Jacobson’s introduction of the “Black Wings” theme. She then began inviting the models to the stage individually to walk the runway.  First, clothes made by the students of the Introduction to Fashion Design class were shown and this was followed by the creations of the Advanced Fashion class.  In total, there were nearly 30 designs displayed with many of them being dresses and tunics. The array of dresses were unique, graceful and shiny, elegant and dark, colorful and catchy.  They all looked fabulous! The models looked terrific showing them as well! Their hairstyles, makeup, gait, and self-expression absolutely fit the “Dark Wings” theme of the event. It was an amazing show to see!

In my opinion, the atmosphere, design and presentation of the show looked professional! It is hard to express my visual impressions of the show in words.  However, the fashion show was definite proof of the impressive creativity of CATS Academy students who are clearly headed for future success!

Students Enjoy CATS Academy Boston 2018 Prom

By: Sasha Chernysheva

After all of our seniors  received their long-awaited acceptance letters from colleges,  prom was one of the last milestones on the way to graduation. CATS Academy prom night took place at “The Lantana” on May 11th. It was a night dedicated to seniors, for whom it was the last official high school party.  It was also attended by juniors and many underclassmen and everyone appeared to be having a great time!


Capturea sfda.PNGWhat are some of the major components of a good prom night?

First, you obviously need a lot of music and dancing, and we had enough of both.   Second, there is the traditional voting for the prom king and queen and this year we crowned Steven Guan and Anna Merzliakova.

Third, you must have a blinding variety of beautiful sparkling gowns and finely cut suits, which is something that our students never lack.  And fourth, a lot of pictures are required, with your partner and friends and their friends and everyone…. in order for all to remember the night forever.  There were many places to take these snaps because the venue was a beautiful setting exquisitely decorated with lights and flowers.

In general, it was a wonderful night to remember and celebrate our seniors, whom we wish all the best in college and on their journey through life.  For the juniors looking forward to returning to CATS, we wish you a great senior year!

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