Seattle Girls' School

News and happenings in education from the Head of School, Rafael del Castillo

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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants

I want to take the opportunity of this Veteran’s Day to highlight a woman of great significance featured at each year’s SGS luncheon, Rear Admiral Grace Murray Hopper. At our annual luncheon we honor women in our community who have achieved great things in their chosen field with the Grace Hopper Awards. It is our hope that the SGS 7th graders in attendance, and hosting the event, will be inspired by the example of the winners as well as by the story of Admiral Hopper. Who was Grace Hopper?

She was an accomplished mathematician who achieved the rank of associate professor at Vassar in 1941. Coming from a family with military traditions, she resigned her Vassar post to join the Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service) in1943. She was commissioned a lieutenant and reported to the Bureau of Ordnance Computation Project at Harvard University, where she was the third person to join the research team of professor Howard H. Aiken. Hopper outlined the fundamental operating principles of computing machines. After the war, she was appointed to the Harvard faculty as a research fellow, and in 1949 she joined the newly formed Eckert-Mauchly Corporation.

In 1983, she was promoted to commodore in a ceremony at the White House and two years later, she became Admiral Hopper. She was one of the first strategic "futurists" in the world of computing. Perhaps her best-known contribution to computing was the invention of the compiler, the intermediate program that translates English language instructions into the language of the target computer.

She was very proud of her service to her country, and she was buried with full Naval honors at Arlington National Cemetery on January 7, 1992.

Tomorrow, we honor Grace Hopper as a veteran of our nation; and on March 29th, 2012, we will honor two more Grace Hopper Award winners for the whole of their achievements. For more information on the SGS Luncheon and the Grace Hopper Awards, go to:
http://www.seattlegirlsschool.org/sgs-luncheon.php


For our students, the notion of demonstrating all that they have achieved will become very real in grade 6. They – along with their teachers - have been very busy preparing for the first Culminating Event of the year.

cul·mi·na·tion/ˌ kəәlməәˈ nāSHəәn/Noun
The highest or climactic point of something, esp. as attained after a long time.

At SGS, culmination is a time for the girls to “stand and deliver” and show us what they have been learning. It is a time for “big ideas,” working collaboratively, and presenting models, art, and writing – among other things. It is also a time of some stress given that we are also teaching the reality of deadline, product, and audience. Please support all 6th graders with encouragement and attendance at 6th Grade Fall Culmination:

Standing on the Shoulders of Giants!

Part I: Culmination of Studies on Machines and Inventions
Thursday, November 17, 2011

Part II: Culmination of Studies on Ancient Civilizations
Wednesday, December 14, 2011

For more information on 6th grade culmination, go to:
http://sites.google.com/site/sgs6th/standingontheshouldersofgiants

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