Forensics and musical production among new classes at WJHS

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By Linda Dillman, Staff Writer

From forensics to vocal music production, West Jefferson High School’s new course offerings reflect student input.

On March 10, Principal Dave Metz presented the final list of new courses for the 2014-15 school year for board approval. He told school board members the student body was included in the discussion and selection process.

Response was overwhelming for a new science department forensics class.

 “If we had sign-ups tomorrow, we’d have 119 students in two classes,” Metz said.

A new vocal production course in the music department is the only full credit offering among the new listings. The remaining new classes are half-year, half-credit. The vocal course begins with the process of producing a musical.

 “It culminates in a musical in the spring. It is repeatable and you can take it (vocal production) for four years,” Metz said.

Other new courses include human behavior in literature, oral communications, creative writing, fitness for life, Advanced Placement United States government and politics, and technology-based government.

 “We’re excited about this,” Metz said.

One lunch period a possibility

In the future, feeding the mind could change the way West Jefferson high schoolers feed their stomachs.

According to Metz, staff and administrators are looking at ways to get students additional academic help. One proposal involves changing a multi-period lunch schedule to a single lunch period for all students, devoting the extra time to intervention and assistance.

 “We’re trying to find a number of ways to provide tutoring during the day,” said Metz. “We’re looking at the possibility of all students eating at the same time… There are a lot of logistics.”

Student research projects qualify for state competition

Students in the high school’s advanced history research class entered projects in the National History Day district contest, which took place March 6. Three of those projects qualified for the state competition.

 “A Campus in Chaos: The Ohio State University, Riots of 1970” is an exhibit class entry by Garrett Beachy, Erin Bradfield and Jimmy Foster.

 “Tipper Rocks the Music Industry: A Clash between Music Rights and Parental Responsibility” is an exhibit class project by Johnny Balderson and Chaz Murphy. It investigates Tipper Gore’s attempt to influence the music industry regarding explicit language.

 “The Kindertransport: A Child’s Safety; A Country’s Responsibility” is an individual performance created by Carrie Winstead and is based on a time during World War II when children were sent away by their parents to be safe in the countryside.

Jefferson Local students will compete at the state level April 26 in the Ohio Union on the Ohio State University campus. The national competition will be held June 15-19 in Maryland.

National History Day began as a small, local contest in Cleveland in 1974. According to the Ohio Historical Society, Dr. David Van Tassel and members of the Department of History at Case Western Reserve University created the program to reinvigorate the teaching and learning of history in elementary and secondary schools. The program quickly expanded throughout Ohio and surrounding Midwestern states.

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