A student’s story

Assigned seats

My brother is a freshman at the high school this year. Watching him sometimes reminds me how I felt at his age, and how different his life is than mine as a senior. With a “freshman” course in my schedule though, I’m getting used to assigned seats and strict cell phone policies all over again.

Most freshman have the same courses their first year at the high school; there’s not a lot of choice for students because their core classes and mandatory electives fill up their schedules. I remember we all had English tests on the same day, history projects due the next, and biology labs due the week after. We were all stressed.

As high school went on, we definitely got to make more choices. I think my schedule this year exemplifies how much choice Williamsport Area High School offers us. I am taking classes like AP Calculus 2 and AP Literature that are common in seniors’ schedules, and I am also taking courses that meet my specific interests and needs like journalism, TV Production, art, choir, and even a level one German class.

Some of my classmates also have very unique schedules. Derek Lewis, for example, plans to study math in college and chose to take an online Calculus 3 college course this year because he fulfilled his math requirements prior to his senior year. As a student in his final year of the culinary program, Nick Stevens has the opportunity to work three periods each day in the culinary lab. He is just one of the students employed through the high school’s CTE program. Madison Waltz, another student involved in the program, spends part of her day at Jackson primary school as a way to practice what she has learned in the Early Childhood Education program. Maya Holmes intends to study stage management after high school. After completing all four levels of drama, this year she is gaining experience as not only stage manager, but rotating to other jobs including “switcher” in the TV Production class. “Switcher combines all the different elements of production and puts it together for the live cut,” Maya explained. “It requires multitasking and being aware of everything that’s going on around you.” Megan Wike has an independent viola study period in her schedule. She plans to major in music performance next fall. Lynna Robertson started a job this summer at Waterscapes. She is now able to spend the last part of her school day at work because she met all of her requirements for graduation. Like Derek, Lynna also took advantage of dual enrollment during her four years at the high school and earned nine Penn College credits while also meeting her CTE requirements.

Experiences like these are still a couple years away for my brother. I am excited to see him take advantage of all the high school has to offer. Perhaps, like myself, as a senior he will realize that what he thought he wanted as a freshman, isn’t exactly how things turn out by the end of high school. But for now, he will just have to get used to the assigned seats and the strict cell phone policies like we all did.

Griess is a student at Williamsport Area High School. Her column is published on the second and fourth Mondays of each month in the Education section. She can be reached at education@­ sungazette.com.