Robotics at Maharishi School

Maharishi School is not new to robotics as this is their sixth year participating in the First Tech Challenge. This year’s team has eight members, five of whom are participating for the first time, and two of which have been participating for three previous years. In terms of skills and interest, this may be the most diverse robotics team in Maharishi School’s history, with over five countries represented. With the guidance of our experienced mentors and returning members, as well as the novel ideas of our new members, we strive for innovative and effective solutions to the problems presented to us.

Last Years Robotics Team

Fundraising and Outreach with COVID

During the lockdown, the team has come up with various ways to fundraise and spread information about our robotics team. Through a new Instagram account, and the help of our local businesses, our team was able to financially support our innovations.

Programming Innovations

The programming team has been leveraging the use of Vuforia** technology to detect rings, a new addition to our team̗’s skill set and robot̗’s capabilities˼ We are also increasingly mindful of optimizing the driving experience and have devoted a lot of time towards significantly reducing the precision and number of controller movements required to complete tasks such as launching rings and placing wobble goals.

Current Robotics Team

Technical Advancements

The most demanding and new task for the design team this year has, by far, been the in-taking and launching of the rings. Our answers to these criteria were an intake ramp and a hopper with a fly-wheel powered launch ramp. Difficulties mainly arose around efforts to maximize effectiveness and efficiency as well as minimizing complexity, given the complications of building with new materials and mechanisms. Successful construction was owed to a balance of practical and systematic engineering methods, along with communication within the team, particularly with programming.

Who’s on the team?

maharishi school student 2021
Budhil Thijm- Engineering Notebook Supervisor

As a senior at Maharishi school participating in my first year of robotics and possibly my last, I hope to do the best I can with my team. As the future progresses I believe robotics and automation will benefit all of us depending on how it is used and learning about it, I hope to be capable of being involved in that future.

Dominic Magnus Dupoux- Fundraiser and Calculatormaharishi school students 2021

Being a junior in my second year of robotics, I hope to take on responsibilities and go out of my comfort zone so that I might help lead the team next year. I worked as the head of fundraising initially as well as in design and construction, particularly in calculations, hoping to approach design in a more systematic way. My strengths are my attention to detail, creativity, and focus.

maharishi school students 2021

Ishitia Paras Mukadam- Junior Programmer

As my first year in robotics, I truly wanted to learn the basics in this field, especially the programming side of it and how it worked alongside the mechanics, so I can use that knowledge in the future. I loved being there and learning the process of connecting the dots between the code and the robot. The main thing I learned is to be patient and persevere through the challenges. There’s no doubt in my mind that I will continue to be a part of this robotics journey throughout my years of high school.

Miles Christopher Siemsen- CAD Mastermaharishi school student 2021

I joined robotics in search of developing new skills and finding other ways I could work with a team. It has been a great experience this year in learning the basics of coding in java as well as learning how to almost replicate the robot my team has built-in CAD. My strengths are that I’m a fast learner, persistent, and cooperative in a group.

maharishi school students 2021

Saraswati Paz Quevedo-Valls- Business Chef

I joined the robotics team to get out of my comfort zone and learn a variety of new skills. As the season is coming to an end, I can say that I have learned a lot since joining the team. Before joining, I was unable to even screw and tighten screws. As well as better communication skills, as I worked a lot on fundraising˼

Shristi Sharma- Senior Programmer

maharishi school student 2021

I love learning new technologies such as programming mecanum wheels, experimenting with Vuforia, and creating driver enhancements. In my last robotics season, I’m optimistic about the team’s future and have been working with our fantastic members to help them take on the programming portion of the challenge for future years. My strengths are my ability to be organized and collaborative.

Skylar Anthony Halley- Head of Design

maharishi school student 2021

As a senior in my third year in FTC, this year my goals have been to help design mechanisms for the robot that will allow us to succeed at each element of the task as well as share some of my knowledge to help prepare future teams after I graduate.

 

Yeabtsega Woubishet Taffesse- Public Relations

I joined the robotics team because I was always interested in engineering and coding. Once I joined the team I realized that I like being involved in the community so I specifically focused on reaching out to people to talk about the robotics team. Before joining the robotics club, I was not aware of the process of making a robot. I have worked on the base of the robot-like the wheels and the motor part of it. I also worked with fundraising and that helped me build up my communication skills.

Fundraising Goals and Efforts

Our fundraising goal this year was to fundraise ̥2000 to put towards our robot. In an effort to do so, we made a list of 38 target companies that we would like to contact for donations. We contacted each of these companies by either calling or emailing in an effort to fundraise money. After contacting all of our target companies, we spent a couple of hours driving to local businesses to get more donations.

When contacting companies or speaking to the managers of our town’s local businesses, we made sure to include what a robotics team is, what we were working towards, and what we would use the money for. If the companies we emailed did not respond, we respectfully sent a follow-up email. So far this season we have been able to raise 1803, which is 197 away from our season fundraising goal.

Sustainability

The Legacy

This year was the last season for three of our robotics team members as they will be graduating. Two of the soon-to-be graduates have been doing robotics their whole high school careers and are the head of our robotics team. The three seniors have been taking this season to not only work on our robot but to teach all of the members who will be here next year.

Our head coder, Shristi, has been working closely with a freshman who is very interested in coding, Ishita. For the whole season, they have been working side by side on the coding elements of our competition. Another soon-to-be graduate, Skylar has been making sure to educate and teach us his thought process and skills he uses when building the robot. I have been working with him alongside Dominic, Miles, and Yeabstega. They take every opportunity they get to let us in on their past experiences and knowledge they have gained from their years in the robotics team. 

Recruiting New Members

At the beginning of each quarter at our school, teachers have the chance to advertise their clubs to students. During the first quarter, the robotics club takes the opportunity and advertises the club to high school students. When we present, we explain all the aspects of robotics such as fundraising, to show how much thought is in the club. As well as pictures of past robots and competitions. We make it clear that you don’t need any experience to join the club, to not limit the students. As someone who has only been doing robotics for less than a year and is fairly new, I think that the team does a good job of teaching and making new teammates feel welcome.

 

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

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**Vuforia is an augmented reality software development kit for mobile devices that enables the creation of augmented reality applications. It uses computer vision technology to recognize and track planar images and 3D objects in real-time.

Unleash Your Creativity

Project-Based Learning: Discover and test-drive your passionsproject period maharishi school

Each project is either designed by a teacher or proposed by the student at the conception stage and addresses an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. The students work either independently or in small teams and exercise real-life skills in their areas of interest while being fully supported by teachers, community experts, and leaders brought in to match the students’ interests. At the end of each quarter, all the students’ projects are showcased as part of a community-wide event.

Project Period with Miss Sheila Higgins

project period maharishi schoolThe 6th graders at Maharishi School are diving into the world of storytelling with stop motion videos. As they make creative content for their videos they will also be in charge of creating both individual and group stories, while also learning technical skills needed to shoot their concept.

While creating their movie Miss Higgins asks them to plan out a small action sequence that can be a re-telling or  new creation of a familiar story. Her students will take part in drafting the story and building sets, props, as well as characters. On the days that they will be shooting there are several jobs withing the group that need to be done, including a photographer, a mover and a storyteller (or timekeeper). Check out this video to see this project period in process!

 

 

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What is Project Period?

Project-Based Learning: Discover and test-drive your passions

Upper School students are given 70 minutes to work on a passion project 3 days each week. They problem-solve, experiment, falter and keep striving. Through the process, they learn real-world project period cookingskills that will serve them when they are adults working on projects at their workplaces.

Each project is either designed by a teacher or proposed by the student at the conception stage and addresses an authentic, engaging and complex question, problem, or challenge. The students work either independently or in small teams and exercise real-life skills in their areas of interest while being fully supported by teachers, community experts, and leaders brought in to match the students’ interests. At the end of each quarter, all the students’ projects are showcased as part of a community-wide event.

Goals for Projects:

Creativity. Students achieve project outcomes in a variety of ways and are given the tools, resources, and freedom to do so. Students experiment with a variety of possible choices/solutions. Students engage in original thought based on their own understanding and experience. Students understand that foundational knowledge and basic skills allow for more nuanced creativity.

Collaboration. Students work together to achieve project outcomes. Students apply effective strategies to get the most out of group work, in terms of conflict resolution, division of labor, peer feedback. 

Communication. Student practice using various communication methods: reading, writing, speaking, listening, and visual expression.  

Critical thinking. Students use goals/criteria to assess the quality of their group’s ideas/outcomes. Students explore various material and come to an informed, justified conclusion. 

A growth mindset. Students experience that hard work and constructive critical reflection lead to improved outcomes. Students make use of opportunities to complete several drafts/prototypes for a project. Failure is delayed success.

Societal Impact and Service. Students understand that the value of a project comes in its ability to contribute to society. Project outcomes will be considered in terms of both local and social sustainability. 

Interdisciplinary Integration.  Students explore topics from a variety of perspective and integrate skills from across disciplines to create meaningful project outcomes.

Portfolios. Students work towards creating products that can be documented and shared.

2021 Projects to choose from…

  • iPhone Film Production 
  • Podcasting
  • Rocketry
  • Music
  • Robotics 
  • Improv 
  • Cooking
  • Science Fair 

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From Maharishi School to Princeton

Yenet Tafeese graduated from Maharishi School, six feet apart from her friends in the summer of 2020. What is she doing now you might ask? Well, she’s currently in the process of taking her mid-terms at Princeton, one of 12 Ivy League universities in the United States. I was lucky enough to steal a few moments of Yenet’s time to find out her story.

Can you tell me a little bit about growing up in Ethiopia?

While I was in Ethiopia I went to an international school so I was able to learn some English however I obviously didn’t know much. When I was younger I really liked jumping rope, even when I moved here I would jump rope a lot. Some specific memories that stand out in Fairfield were breaking my leg about 2 weeks into 5th grade. I had just moved here and I was trying to make friends and I ended up breaking my leg. Honestly, I was really scared about making friends especially after I broke my leg but I realized that through that I was able to meet the people that I am friends with now.

How has Maharishi School helped you on your journey to Princeton?

Maharishi School had helped shape a lot of what I think and it has cultivated my personal thought on a lot of things. Because of programs like project-based learning and consciousness-based education during my time at Maharishi School I was taught to think for myself and try my best to accept others and meet different people. The international environment and the home-like community at Maharishi School gave me a safe space to learn both academically and just general life skills. 

What was your first reaction to being accepted at Princeton? 

I was extremely surprised I got accepted to Princeton. Princeton was one of those schools that I applied to as a why-not school. The school that I just wanted to apply to for fun. So I was surprised to finish my application let alone get accepted!  I went through the Questbridge application process so I applied to almost all of my reach schools through that. In that process, I applied to WashU, Northwestern, UPenn, Princeton, Stanford, Yale, Duke, Columbia, Brown, Dartmouth, and Rice. My plan had been to finish my Questbridge application then depending on how it goes I would have applied to some of my “match” and “safe” schools through the common application. 

What is life currently like for you at Princeton?

My life at college has already started and I am currently taking my midterms. It is very odd to think that it had been a year since I started this process. I think college is very different than what people say it is; but, it is also exactly what people say it is. To further elaborate, college is really based on what you make of it. There is a lot of freedom so discipline and time management are very necessary. There is also the aspect of college that is non-academic and for that time you really have to get yourself out there! 

A lot of the things I do here has been based on me making an active decision. This might be obvious but I didn’t fully grasp this concept until I came here and understood that every decision that I make is up to me and I have to be the one managing things. 

We want to thank Yenet for taking the time to talk to us and congratulate her on this incredible accomplishment! The Maharishi School community is so proud of you, we cannot wait to see what more you will conquer in your life!

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Why is STEM education important?

What is STEM

Why is STEM important?

STEM education helps break the traditional gender roles by increasing the amount of women and minorities that are able to access STEM-related careers.

“In the 21st century, scientific and technological innovations have become increasingly important as we face the benefits and challenges of both globalization and a knowledge-based economy. To succeed in this new information-based and highly technological society, students need to develop their capabilities in STEM to levels much beyond what was considered acceptable in the past.” –National Science Foundation

STEM at Maharishi School

I got to speak with Kaye Jacob who is both a teacher and academic director of the Middle and High school students here at Maharishi School. Her thoughts on STEM skills are that they need to be seen as ends in themselves but for most students they are means to an end.  In other words, knowing how to use technology to access information and incorporate it into your life and work is essential to any student.

kaye jacobs talks about STEM

Kaye Jacob

“The S in STEM is apparent when the 7th graders drop containers out of windows to see if the egg inside will break or not–and equally when the upper school rocketry students send a rocket up into the air with the same objective–to protect the “payload” (an egg) which actually represents a human being in space travel.
I am writing this in my English class as three students are collaborating from their homes (one of them in Ecuador) in a Zoom break-out room and the rest are working in small groups on presentations for class tomorrow. They are sharing documents and resources related to a literature topic (Transcendentalism) but updating it with videos and powerpoint presentations.  To me, that is the T in STEM applied to my subject area.
I also like to emphasize that STEM should actually be STEAM, because the A needs to represent Art.  This year, we are offering traditional studio art with Susan Metrican to our Upper school students and also a more technical course in digital photography with Camille Morehead, who has a graphic design background.  We are hoping to combine forces with various applications of technology and art design in the future.”
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From Maharishi School to College Acceptances

Over 98% of our graduates are accepted into 4-year colleges and universities all over the country.

maharishi school graduation college acceptancesEarly decision acceptances for our 2020 graduating class are coming in! Congratulations to the students who’ve had early college acceptances from Princeton University, Lawrence University, Pratt Institute, Roger Williams University, Agnes Scott College, University of Iowa, and Iowa State University.

Our goal is to help your student find the right college fit for them.

Personalized college counseling is built into the school curriculum and covered by tuition fees. In 9th and 10th grade, academic performance and planning are emphasized, with students filling out inventories to help them plan for their futures. The college counselor meets periodically with 9th and 10th graders to check on their progress and hold college planning meetings. Starting in 11th grade, all students go on two college visits a year to identify features and characteristics that fit with their individual preference. In their second semester, 11th graders take the Junior Seminar, a weekly class that introduces all of the important concepts necessary for a successful college application.

List of college acceptances by Maharishi School students in the last 10 years.

Princeton Universitygraduating Maharishi school with core values

Muhlenberg College

Oberlin College of Arts and Sciences

Skidmore College

Iowa State University

University of Iowa

Bradley University

University of Northern Iowa

University of Minnesota Twin Cities

University of Wisconsin-Madison

Michigan State University

The Ohio State Universityfotoveda photo of maharishi school graduation 2020

Texas A&M University

Eckerd College

Roger Williams University

Knox College University of Kansas

New York University Shanghai

University of Toronto

Fordham University

Hawaii Pacific University

Features at a glance:

  • The college counselor is on call on all deadline days, to assist students with any part of the submission process.
  • All juniors take the Junior Seminar their second semester, which introduces the important concepts necessary for applying to college in the Senior year.
  • All Juniors and Seniors visit two colleges a year, one small liberal arts school and one large university.
  • College representatives visit Maharishi School each year to deliver information sessions to interested students.
  • By looking through previous tests, the college counselor helps all students plan their college testing schedules, and choose the tests that will best represent the student’s strengths.
  • The college counselor reviews all college essays, providing group essay sessions, then individual assistance for Seniors.
  • In partnership with ICAN, the Iowa College Access Network, Maharishi School provides multiple events each year to help families navigate the financial aid process for college applications.

To read a comprehensive list of all college acceptances by students at Maharishi School, click here.

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

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Becoming A Big Fish: A Shark Tank-like Event

What is Shark Tank?

Modeled after the popular TV show “Shark Tank,” five student finalists pitched their best creative

ideas to a panel of expert entrepreneurial judges, competing for cash prizes, scholarships, and top business feedback.

Maharishi International University held their own event called “Becoming A Big Fish: A Shark Tank-like Event,” featuring business feedback from the original “shark” on Shark Tank, Kevin Harrington.

Maharishi School students selected as finalists

We are proud to announce that two of our Maharishi School students, Lily Fenton and Shristi Sharma, have been selected as finalists in the Becoming a Big Fish Shark Tank Event! Their concepts are extremely innovative and practical for our world today.

Lily talks about her design, “My idea was to limit distracted driving especially concerning taking hands off the steering wheel by creating a device that warns drivers when their hands are out of the correct driving position.”

Shristi received a 500$ scholarship from MIU for her work, she is currently researching and using her technical skills to create projects with a crossover between psychology, computer science, and cybersecurity, to benefit the community and the world.

Another of our students, Polo Altynski, was selected as the alternate should any of the top five finalists be unable to participate.

Watch the video of the presentations for the panel of judges here, our students are represented at 1:14:20.

maharishi school student finalist on shark tank event

Shristi Sharma with Cliff Rose and Vicki Alexandar.

 

If you are interested in learning more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

Presented by MIU’s Concept to Market program: https://www.concepttomarket.org

For more ChangeMaker event videos and info, visit: https://www.mum.edu/changemakers2019

 

Why is Maharishi School For You?

Maharishi School Hobson Hall frontWelcome to Maharishi School, one of America’s most unique and progressive schools. What began in 1981 as a single innovative school is now the model for a special kind of holistic education around the world.

At Maharishi School we invest in rest—of a special kind. Our students and teachers take time to transcend twice a day, with the practice of yoga and Transcendental Meditation. This allows them to gain deep rest and dissolve stress before it accumulates. It improves brain functioning. In a world of nearly incessant outer stimuli, it gives them a respite of inner silence, a connection with their own individual true self.

Gain Self-Knowledge

maharishi school teachers teaching students

Through our unique program that is part theory, part practice, students learn to operate from a place of center. They learn how to imbue life with stillness, self-awareness, and presence. This lays the foundation for academic success and prepares students for all areas of future life.

Think vertically and make connections.

We offer AP exams to prepare our students for college-level work and Honors classes to promote original work. Our students also have a unique interdisciplinary course called the Science of Creative Intelligence where they see underlying, universal principles that are common to the structure and functioning of all aspects of life—their academic subjects, in nature, and in themselves. Students make connections between all the surface details and the big ideas.

Tap new reservoirs of creativity.

Our  Project-Based Learning Period gives students 70 minutes to explore their passions threerocketry project based learning at maharishi school days a week, whether in a teacher designed project or one they have proposed as an independent or small group project. They are exercising real-life skills in areas of interest, supported by teachers, community experts, and/or online resources. Project Period is another doorway to finding oneself.

Be successful and happy.

Maharishi School students awaken hidden potentials and accomplish audacious goals. Our yenet using a microscopealumni have gone on to prestigious universities  such as MIT, Stanford, Middlebury, and Oxford. They boast achievements in renowned international competitions like INTEL Science and Engineering Fair and Destination Imagination’s Global Finals. The daily practice of Transcendental Meditation also helps to keep life in check so our students can just be happy with themselves regardless of the competitions, goals, or pressure they will face.

Be valued.

We’re small. All the students know each other. Teachers know all the students. Small class sizes create a learning environment where every relationship matters and every voice isencouraged and expected. Students from 30 countries have walked through our doors allowing for a rich mosaic of perspectives and preferences.

Our town.

Beyond our doorstep lies Fairfield, a small, safe community stitched together with progressive values and people from all over the world. Smithsonian Magazine recently named Fairfield one of the “Top Small Towns in America to Visit.” It’s so special that Oprah herself came to visit Fairfield and Maharishi School and slipped into a meditation seat next to our students.

Dr. Beall and Oprah meet at Maharishi School

10 19 2011 TM Town – Fairfield, IA

This intimate and inclusive setting makes Maharishi School a very special home away from home.

Maharishi School’s vision of holistic education encompasses not just an array of academic subjects and extracurricular pursuits, but also a focus on character development from outer examples and training. We are committed to drawing out the phenomenal gifts and potential in each person’s inner self.

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

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Middle School Science with Sheila: Hands-on Learning

What is the hands-on learning approach?

Hands-on learning is about creating an experience where the students feel empowered to try new things and work through failure. Maharishi School alumni Sheila Higgins explains, “when the students come up with something that’s Sheila alumni and middle school science teacher at maharishi school talks about hands on learningfrustrating them, they need to have a dialogue about why that happened, and what they could do to experience a different result. Especially with science it’s not a matter of right and wrong, it’s always a process of discovery.”

Sheila guides her students through the process of proving that something is “wrong” or doesn’t work, which she says is just as significant as proving that something is right. There are a variety of opportunities for hands-on learning in science, it has to be something that provides them with enough structure that they understand what the objectives are. While maintaining enough freedom to think creatively, and experiment with their own ideas.

What are the Middle School kids doing in Science?

Right now the students in Sheila’s Science class are working on a solar-powered model car. The students are familiarizing with concepts of renewable energy, solar technologies, basics of what a photomotaic cell is, and basics of circuitry. Having the hands-on experience of building something from scratch gives them ownership of the whole process of learning. Sheila says, “the students interact with success and failure in an important way and persevere through challenging concepts.”

Sheila found the kits on amazon that had basic components for the cars; tiny solar hands on learning middle school students build a solar powered carpanels, little engines and circuitry. The kids have to connect the positive to the negative leads and make sure everything is in place so that as soon as it gets enough sunlight, it takes off.

Sheila explains,”science is about maintaining that sense of curiosity, especially for middle school age kids. You have to get them excited about a subject. Then make them wonder how the world works and what their place is in it. As well as come up with new ideas.”

Click here to watch the solar car in action.

Click here to see Uma Wegman show the car up close.

What is the future of hands on learning in Sheila’s Science class?

hands on learning middle school students build a solar powered car

I asked Sheila how she plans on applying hands-on learning to her Science classes in the future.

Sheila wants her class to be as “hands-on and as student lead as possible. That means getting

the students comfortable working collaboratively with one another.” Sheila sets up groups

of students to coherently solve problems that use scientific principles. If you were to spy on Sheila’s classroom you would see kids building, experimenting, and putting learning in the context of reality rather than textbooks.

 

To learn more about our academics or to contact a member of our admissions staff, click here.

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Project Based Learning: Yearbook Project

What is Project-Based Learning?

Project-Based Learning (PBL) is a learning method in which students are actively engaging in real-world and personally meaningful projects. Three days a week, Maharishi School students are given 70 minutes to work on a passion project. They problem-solve, experiment, falter and keep striving. Each project addresses an authentic, engaging and complex question or challenge. The students exercise real-life skills in their areas of interest while being supported by teachers. Often a community expert or leader on that subject is brought in to match the students’ interests.

What about bringing back the yearbook? 

front of maharishi school 2020

Maharishi School had a yearbook in the past and the desire to reinstate a yearbook was something that Ms. Blitz proposed to her students. “The yearbook, on top of building STEM and design skills, has served as a social bonding agent in our students as they’ve worked together creating, collaging, and reliving memories,” explained Ms. Blitz. The students included in this project period are; Vaisnavii Mohanraj, Jeremy Goodale, Lily Fenton and Ryan Buhre.

What did they learn in this project-based learning project?

During this process of creating a yearbook Ms. Blitz taught the students how to write HTML and CSS code. Throughout the project they had to problem solve and address challenges that arose. Programming requires an increased attention to

high school yearbook collage made by the students

detail, as one student reflected, “I found that doing the task was challenging because I made some small errors in my code (e.g. forgetting to close a tag, forgetting to use a ‘;’ after CSS properties, and so forth). These mistakes have taught me that looking over your code is a crucial step in coding.” The students also experienced working within company design standards, a typical industry practice. The yearbook was created to fit preset color palettes and fonts as set by Maharishi School’s branding guidelines. Exposure to industry standard practices such as this is one of the benefits of having PBL at Maharishi School because of the customization of the curriculum to any specific project.

What can the students do with this knowledge?

In the bigger picture of working with computers, knowing how to insert pictures, use CSS properties, and HTML basics will be important in web development. Because of project-based learning, these students will be able to use the concepts to create posters, 10th grade students at Maharishi School webpages, or further help design within the school. They’re learning skills that can be used for design projects of any company that they choose to work with in the future. PBL is important because the students become directors and managers of their learning process, mentored by a skilled teacher.

If you are interested in purchasing a yearbook or if you have any additional inquiries about the yearbook, please contact Sophia Blitz, sblitz@maharishischool.org. Please note that there is a limited supply of yearbook. The yearbook project team would like to apologize for the mix-up on senior quotes. You will find the quotes of George and Jurina have been switched on the final page of the printed book. Our online version which will be released shortly will have the correct quotes.

The Maharishi School 2020 yearbook was created using Printing Center USA printing services. To create your own print product, checkout www.printingcenterusa.com