This past week, a team of Global High engineering students and I visited the seventh grade and eighth grade campuses as part of Engineers Week, a national effort to increase interest in engineering. 

We do visits like these every year, but this year, there was much more interest in engineering, project based learning and Global High.

We passed out well over 300 brochures to students that came by and visited our tables, and many eighth graders picked up an application for enrollment. What is even more exciting is that almost every student we talked to had already heard of Global High. Even though some still had misconceptions about the purpose, focus, or culture of our school, the fact that we finally “exist” is a huge improvement compared to previous years.

Just last year, when we visited the eighth grade campus, it seemed that only about half of the students even knew there was more than one high school in Waxahachie.

The most popular question we receive on these visits is “What is engineering?”

My favorite response to this question is Walt Disney’s definition of imagineering (his term for engineering), “the blending of creative imagination with technical know-how.”

It is important that students know that engineering is not just building things. It is thinking outside of the box to identify/design the best solution for a problem and it is recognizing that the best solution can only be arrived at after research, analysis, brainstorming, refinement, communication, teamwork and reflection.

As you can see from the student quotes below (taken from periodic course reflections), the realization of what engineering truly encompasses is very eye opening for our students as they discover first-hand the entirety of the engineering design process in their engineering coursework.

Here are quotes from the engineering students:

“I have learned that engineering is more about problem solving than building most of the time.”

- James Siegert

“This is a very challenging class because it challenges your creativity and social skills and in the beginning I thought we would just be building and making things.”

– Kimber Walker

“My favorite project was the cube project because it gave me the personal sense of achievement when I went from designs on paper to a solid object.”

– Chris Reddig

“When she [the teacher] said ‘I don’t know’ when I would ask a question, it just made me push myself for an answer. I’m thankful for the gentle pushes that made me find the answer through solving my own problems and pushing further into what I know…”

- Jay Almond

“Things learned in engineering… Documented failure provide clue to success.”

– Alicyn Hendryx

“I have learned a lot about the space history of aerospace. I never really understood why the space race was so important to America’s success in space exploration, research and discovery, so learning about these topics was really intriguing. The only hard thing that I have encountered was understanding the basic principles of JavaFoil and FoilSIM III and graphing points in Excel. I enjoyed making 3D surface graphs because I’ve never learned how to make graphs with “x, y, and z” axis.”

– Loren Page

“My favorite project so far has been the research on the history of flight. I liked working on something I am passionate about. I fell in love with the thought of flying at the age of 9. After I got the amazing experience of flying and controlling a glider, I fell in love with being in the air. Therefore, I am passionate towards the class. I learn better from this research because I am involved. Quote: ‘Tell me and I’ll forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I will learn.’”

– Caylie Curry

“My favorite project this year has been the history of flight. I enjoyed doing this project as well as watching others present on their information. It was interesting to see how flight has evolved and then to learn about the different types of machines you can fly, like gliders, airplanes, helicopters and hot air balloons. It was fun to do my Amelia project because she is an inspiring woman in the sense that she never gave up and she spread hope throughout the world to other women for them not to give up just because they thought a man could do it better…”

- Caitlyn Phillips

“This year, I learned how to sketch in different views. I learned how to brainstorm without limits and criticism. I also learned how to think in 3D and problem solve. I learned how to work as a team and give 100 percent. Over this semester, I have also learned how to write down my ideas in a journal without criticizing and then erasing an idea that I think is bad. I learned the difference between criteria and constraints and invention and innovations. Refinement is not bad and it does not mean failure.”

– Baylee McDivit

“I liked working on Revit, mainly because I have seen a lot of the things, but I never really knew how it goes there. I would always go through the blueprints and floor plans of houses my dad built and I thought it was pretty neat, so now I’ve learned how those floor plans are made.… Now, I can understand my dad when he’s talking about the features of a house.”

– Guadalupe Castillo

“My favorite topic so far has been discussing green vs. sustainable. I got really into that and I’ve actually started a notebook of ideas for things that are sustainable yet good for the environment and that don’t cost too much.”

– Hannah Bogen

“I like that it’s a ‘do it yourself’ kind of structure and there’s no one telling me what to do at all times. I also like that presentations are a big deal. Learning to present is very important and it’s great that you teach us.”

– Hannah Bogen

 “I have learned to look at buildings differently. They no longer appear as buildings as a whole but rather features and styles. I look at the symmetry of buildings and the pitch of the roof. When doors hit each other, I think about how the floor plan could be laid out differently. Civil Engineering and Architecture has taught me how to think like an engineer. My mind is now open to fixing structural challenges and any other challenge that comes my way.”

– Alyssa Reisner

“My absolute favorite project was the architectural styles project. I enjoyed learning the different styles and characteristics of each major type of architecture. My style was Plantation (or Antebellum). The most amazing experience during my research was touring a home in Tyler and learning its rich history. It was a beautiful home and still in great shape, despite being abandoned for years. The most interesting about the house was its wood. It was made out of cypress wood, which is so tough that bugs can’t eat it. The whole experience of this project was priceless and I loved every minute of it.”

– Rylee Werchan

“To me, engineering means an ESCAPE – an escape from the everyday normal class, a class that has no boundaries. In engineering, I am able to develop my creative side and allow my ideas to become reality.”

— Barrett Beebe

“Diving into the unknown, thinking where to find and how to conjure solutions no on has before, takes guts. Engineering requires thinking outside the standard, thinking out of the box, to make inside the box more efficient, or even to bring others out of the box with you. This sort of thought can occur in anyone’s mind who dares it, but to truly innovate our world, is imperative.”

— Natalie Bradford

“I know engineering is in my future, whether it be a career option or incorporating the thought processes into whatever else I decide to do. I want to make improvements to this world that will benefit people, but more importantly, the environment we dwell in.  I love the feeling of successfully finishing any kind of puzzle; if putting the pieces together will innovate and change something in the world, I’ll feel I’ve done my part.” 

— Natalie Bradford

“For a long time, I thought engineering was all about electric motors and cars or buildings I had no clue about.  I mean, if you think about it, the ‘ENGINE’ just sticks out!  When someone mentioned it, I imagined a picture of a man who knew every model and year of every car that passed by…  It sounded like a ‘guy thing.’ … Being a part of Global High School has definitely changed my thoughts about that.…” 

—Angel Stroud

“I think if you make improvements to anything that has already been invented that you are an engineer at heart. Making life better for people takes a special type of person. That’s an engineer. Engineering is something that everyone can do; all you have to do is follow the design process and have the drive to make something better.” 

— Kutter Brandt

This coming Thursday, the Global High engineering program is scheduled to visit the ninth grade campus.

Waxahachie Global High is a public Early College High School campus with a limited, maximum class size of 100 students per grade. Enrollment is open each fall to incoming freshman applicants from Waxahachie ISD, homeschool and private school students as well as public school students from the Metroplex area. Throughout the year, the school welcomes applications and provides campus visits for interested students and parents both within and outside of the Waxahachie Independent School District. For more information on Waxahachie Global High, or to schedule a campus tour and receive an application, contact the school office at 972-923-4761. Global High is located at 600 W. Second St. in Waxahachie.

Upcoming Global events

Global High PTO

The next Waxahachie Global High School PTO meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 1, in the commons of Global High. All parents are encouraged to attend.

Global PTO Yahoo group

The WGH PTO invites any interested parent or family member to join the WGHPTO Yahoo groups. 

This site will allow us to send e-mails to all that request information about what the PTO is doing. It will also serve as a historical information source.  You will be able to read all “old” e-mails to know about past activities.

To join this group, you must e-mail:  wghpto-subscribe@yahoogroups.com.

Very soon only members of this Yahoo group will receive e-mail communications from the PTO. 

It is strongly suggested that all current parents join to keep informed.

Buy a car, help a school

Roger Sierra, sales consultant with Waxahachie Autoplex, has pledged to donate $100 to the Global High PTO from his commission on any vehicle he sells.

“That’s new or used from any of our stores (which include Buick, GMC, Ford, Mercury, Dodge, Chrysler and Jeep),” Sierra said.

“I’m a huge supporter of Global High and this is something I can to help everytime someone buys a vehicle from me,” he said.

For more information, contact Roger Sierra at 972-938-1991 or 972-351-1496.