Schools Of Study Have Unique, Spirited Personalities

Schools Of Study Have Unique, Spirited Personalities

Nakori Cachiguango, Staff Writer

With six distinct Schools of Study at Elkhart High School, it’s interesting to dive into how each one expresses its own version of school spirit.

Each creates an environment that reflects the interests of both the students and teachers–Art and Communication; Human Services; Natural Resources; Health and Public Safety; Engineering, Technology, and Innovations; and Business and Relations. As a result, each has established its own personality and how it presents it.

When a person thinks of art, for instance, all sorts of colorful examples come to mind.  Students walking past the Arts and Communications hub will find themselves mesmerized by and exciting hues of the summer trees turning colors. Not only are there artworks like this presented visually, but upcoming events in programs like choir and music fill the air. It’s cool to see–and hear–how the students in this school of study organize and create their events. The coral festival (which corresponds to the choir) is held today (Nov. 17), as well as on Dec. 14.  Another date to look forward to would be on Dec. 20, where the band and orchestra will be having their concerts. A debate team is also being formed by some of the English and social study classes that are a part of the Arts and Communications School of Study. More information will be found in the Arts and Communication’s Hub.

November is a month of gratitude and appreciation for anyone. The project of “Sticky Note Thank You’s” is soon to be set into motion.This is where students can write out the names of people they are thankful for in their lives on a sticky note and stick it on a whiteboard in the ETI building. The ETI Leadership Team is in charge of the events that the ETI School of Study offers. However, it is important to hear the voice of the other students, as well. A QR code will be set in places in the ETI building for ideas that can help shine light in the engineering department. 

Elkhart High is sure to be full of surprises. How many students are aware that the school owns a farm? The Natural Resources School of Study maintains a 118-acre farm. The area is called ACCELL, which stands for Agriculture Community Center for Environmental Learning Lab. Students are allowed to have real-life experiences interacting with farmlands and do labs on certain fungi, as well. The Natural Resources School of Study also contributes to the FFA organization, which is made up of students who want to do more outside of the classroom. Being very organized, it is offered to the students in this school of study to choose one out of the four different pathways they offer: Food, Plants, Mechanics or Animals. It is the students decision to go further into their interests and participate in all the programs Natural Resources proposes.

At what age is best to start school? The Human Services school of study takes the credit of having its own preschool as one of the classes it offers. High school students have the opportunity to work with kids ages three to five. “It’s really fun seeing the ways that they develop at such a young age.”  Carter McCourt, a junior, points out. Sometimes it can be difficult to work with kids so young because they can be very unpredictable at times. “If I were to choose a time where taking care of the little ones is more difficult, it would be storytime, because it’s hard to get the kids to sit still and stay quiet,” she continued on to say. Fellow classmate Bryanna Derda, chimes in. “The easiest time would be snack time. Most kids don’t have a problem with just sitting down and eating their food,” the sophomore expresses, as she hands a little one a juice box. It’s a legitimate private preschool, where parents from the community have taken up on the offer of providing their young ones with early education and social care. The preschool runs every six weeks on Wednesday and Friday afternoons. Mrs. Kara Sears, who runs the program, makes sure she puts every smile from the children and students on the high school’s social media. It’s important for the class to have a positive impact towards both the student, the teacher and the kids. “I enjoy getting to know each of the little kids and notice their behavior and the different qualities they each have,” Derda says.

The Business and Public Relations School of Study continues on to grow in maturity as it provides such impactful programs and projects that students will be able to participate in. The Lake City Bank, which has shined so much light in this particular school of study, allows students to learn to be more independent and responsible. Not only students who create their own banking account, but the students themselves put in the time and effort to work at the bank. Looking at things from the worker’s point of view, it’s understandable to figure out how important the banker’s job is. “The hardest thing would be balancing the vault and making sure all the money that was put in is recorded correctly and accounted for,” senior Brad Walker says. With that said, it’s great to see students so invested in banking and the responsibilities that come with it. Despite the bank being a major accomplishment in the Business area, a project that was held by Mrs. Erin Hartman’s Economics class also shares the accomplishments of individual students. The assignment was for the students to have the ability to not only describe but also compare and contrast three different business organizations. Using only candy companies and watching a video by Mark Tarner (local CEO of South Bend Chocolate), students were able to find the four different candy entrepreneurs and suggest different ideas on how they could improve the organization of their business. After thorough research, each student chose one entrepreneur to analyze, then applied his or her research to an engaged discussion with other students, comparing each presentation. The practice of meetings and discussions on these certain topics allow students to expand their social skills outside their own groups. 

“A lot of our kids here want to help people, whether it’s helping through the fields of criminal justice, medical, or just general public safety.” Mrs. Kelly Blair, the principal of the Health and Public Safety School of Study, expresses with pride. A lot of the students who are part of this school of study have interests that differ from the rest of the student body, which they express through their own unique projects. In fact, Ms. Lyndsey Mullins, an English teacher, and Mrs. Heather Fellows, the forensic science teacher, combined both of their classes together to work on a project called “Which Witch.” This project included the skills of both classes, because it was based on The Crucible, a play written by Arthur Miller, about a group of young Salem women who accuse each other and the townspeople of witchcraft that some today believe is due to a serious illness that spread across their village. Students were chosen as a character in the play and became the character with his or her traits or job. The objective of it was to find the “witch” in the village who was causing the certain illness (because back then any sickness was witchcraft). Behind the scenes, the purpose of the project was for students to see the mass hysteria that can occur when people are blaming one another with a lack of evidence and logical reasoning. It’s important for the students to observe how society can turn on each other. Moreover, the arrangement the teachers made in order for the students to get a grasp of using real evidence and conveying with their classmates about events that occurred in real life captivates the character traits an individual student has at the Health and Public Safety School of Study.

Elkhart High School is in its infancy. Every branch, per se, has its own unique school of students who express their skills that they develop from all the specific classes that they take in that area. So, what is “school spirit” again? It’s the environment that each division holds–the positive responses to projects or programs that students have the opportunity to participate in. All the new courses that the school as a whole brings makes it easier for a student to become more invested in and have that positive drive to achieve success.