Higher-level learning involves many creative projects, assignments

Allie Schneider, Editorial Editor

  Honors English is a challenge some students decide to take during their high school career.

   There are multiple differences between the two classes. Teacher Devra Parker is usually the one I charge of the honors classes for juniors and seniors.

   She holds the students in these courses to a higher standard. They have more difficult assignments, more open-ended assignments, and are allowed no late work at all.

   Those in these hours get the chance to do multiple, different, fun and exciting projects for the year.

   The senior classes’ main assignment is their project of gratitude. For this one, the students have to do something nice for someone. They have to come up with their idea, then act upon it.

   Seniors Daniel Gifford, Jessica Landis, and Chris Lawson teamed up for the Project of Gratitude. They decided to collect stuffed animals from the community and then give them to elementary schoolers.

   They ended up giving them to kindergartners and first graders. In total they collected 141 stuffed animals.

   Another Project of Gratitude group, consisting of seniors Emily Whitney, Anna Kitchen, Jaleigh Conkle, Anne Stukey, and Raelynn Hugunin, decided they wanted to do something for the teachers of Burlington High School. “Everyone was doing a project for kids, and we thought, well the teachers don’t get enough appreciation for what they do for us,” said Emily.

   They started with Teacher of the Month. They felt that since they hold Student of the Month to show outstanding students, they need to do the same for the amazing teachers.

   They let the kids pick the instructors by giving out slips to everyone and giving them the chance to say what teacher they believe deserve it and why. After a person is chosen, he/she gets a certificate, a present, and all of the slips that said why they should be the Teacher of the Month. The other candidates get theirs too.

   Juniors are trying a new project that is requiring them to dig deep into their emotions. Like most activities the classes do, it’s very open-ended.

  It is a passion project. Mrs. Parker described it as an open-ended assignment where the students will have to present about a driving emotion or trait they feel they need to navigate the rest of their lives.

   Junior Delani Nichols has found a lot of happiness in this unit. “This project really has me excited, it made me look inside myself and decide what I want most out of life, which is love.”

   It is a brand-new assignment  so the students and Mrs. Parker are learning as they go, but it has definitely gained its popularity with the kids.

   Another project the juniors do is job shadow.

   They contact someone who has a profession they are interested. It is a minimum of three hours.

   Junior Aryn Raymer did her job shadow with a zoo keeper from the Tanganyika Wildlife Park. She decided to do this because she is trying to decide between zoology or marine biology. She was turned down multiple other places before finding a place that was willing.

   While shadowing, Aryn gained plenty of knowledge, like that being a keeper is much harder than she expected. She was physically exhausted but gained so much more respect for the profession because of it.

   Nearly everyone interviewed wanted to add how much Mrs. Parker has helped them with their projects and their schooling.

   “I’ll never forget the first day of school; the sparkle in her eyes when she teaches is just something special,” says Delani. She said she admires how much Ms. Parker loves to teach.

Senior Emily Whitney hands a Project of Gratitude to Ms. Thomsen. (PHOTO: Topainga Hernandez)