One class that provides benefits after high school is accounting taught by Mrs. Hawkins. She teaches the basic principles of checks, capital and more. She makes it interesting, fun, and easy to learn about accounting.

              Accounting is a record or statement of financial expenditures or receipts relating to a particular period or purpose. It has to do with checkbooks, credit cards and money. Accounting helps us in the future when we write checks or balance a checkbook. It’s also a good class for future accountants. Although being an accountant takes a lot of brainpower, they get paid well.

             I took accounting to help with my future. I also wanted to take accounting more than I wanted health or anatomy. My dad ended up talking me into it when I picked out which classes I needed in Atlantic. He explained how it looks good on college applications and I could balance my own checkbook.

My dad taught me how to write checks when I was about ten. I thought I was cool because I felt professional. I have written checks for my parents and grandparents ever since.

            Accounting isn’t an easy A. Listening and doing homework will earn an A. She helped with questions and guided us through the assignments so we could remember how to separate our assets from our liabilities. She taught in an easy way so we could comprehend the business lifestyle. She made accounting fun for us because she knew in the real world it’s not easy.

            Mrs. Hawkins taught me how to expand my experience and prepare for life ahead. Accounting has the background to further our lifestyles. It doesn’t matter if I’m not an accountant, or never having a checkbook, this class was a benefit for me for the rest of my life.

Advanced Chemistry

    In Advanced Chemistry we found out that it is possible to learn, have fun, and relieve stress all in one class. As we learned the various facets of chemistry we were able to explore the fun that we could have in the lab. For example, in one unit we focused on single replacement reactions. We went into the lab and created pure oxygen and pure hydrogen and in multiple experiments with different ratios of each gas we lit the mixtures on fire and watched and listened to the differences between them.

    Although we did learn quite a bit about chemistry, from oxidation reduction reactions to periodic law to acid-base reactions, most of my memories comprise of the time spent in the lab doing awesome experiments. On a typical day if we weren’t listening to lectures or doing homework, we would be in the lab busying ourselves with Bunsen burners and strike-anywhere matches. We did do a lot of experiments that required the use of a Bunsen burner, but every once in a while we did a lab that didn’t need the burner. If that was the case it was almost guaranteed that we were going to be working with acids and bases. These labs were always done with the utmost care and precision, not just because the solutions we were creating needed to be made exactly right, but also because it could be slightly dangerous if any of the acids were spilled. If any of the acidic or basic solutions was spilled onto someone’s skin and was not immediately neutralized, it could ruin that person’s day pretty quickly. We had our share of spills and accidents in the lab, but we always found a way to get a little bit of humor out of it and move on. That characteristic that we had, being able to make any accident into a funny story, was one of the reasons that made this class so great. Although we did have a lot of fun during the bulk of the school year, the most memorable times we had were during the time we took to prepare for the magic show. We didn’t have homework or tests, and we got to spend three or four weeks in the lab practicing demonstrations. If that doesn’t make for a good time, I don’t know what will.

Advanced Math

    Advanced Math, taught by Mrs. Bradfield, has greatly benefitted me during my four years at Atlantic High School.  Students on the advanced math track take this class as sophomores; others take it as seniors.

                In Advanced Math I learned the majority of the math skills and principles I use today in Calculus.  For example, my sophomore year we learned the Law of Sines and Law of Cosines, which I used last week on a Calculus homework problem to find the velocity of a baseball player running the bases at a certain point in time. Also, Mrs. Bradfield goes above and beyond to help students understand each mathematical concept. To prove this point, I recall one class period, during a particularly tough unit, when she forced everyone to write her phone number on the top of our worksheet. This way we were able to call her at any time for homework help. Furthermore, I never had to worry if I didn't understand how to do a specific problem on the homework because I would not be penalized for a wrong answer. She graded homework by completion, not accuracy. By doing this she encouraged students to try every problem, even if the answer did not check with the original question. This way we'd know which question we needed help on prior to testing. Thus, my test grades were always high because I understood how to work each and every individual problem. Just imagine me sitting in third period calculus class, listening to Ms. Hayden drone on and on about an upcoming test, reminiscing back to when I would receive tests in the ninety-fifth percentile, Snapping back to reality, I decide to rework, rework, and rework problems I do not understand and ask questions if needed. Next thing I know I'm holding a perfect test, not a mistake to be found. In other words, Advanced Math gave me a work ethic that will last a lifetime.

                In conclusion, Advanced Math is a class I recommend to all of my fellow classmates at AHS because it teaches more than just math skills. This class enforces the importance of homework while creating a solid foundation of work ethic.

Advanced Math

    What math class should I take this year: Basic Math, College Statistics, or Advanced Math? I pondered what I would master from advanced math; what would advanced math train me for in the future?   Did I have a chance at being triumphant in the class? Math had always been my inadequate point in academics. I always viewed math personified as Betty from the state penitentiary, six-foot two-inch, two hundred pounds of pure muscle.  In other words, math intimidated me. So when I passed my concerned questions along to my guidance counselor, Mr. Fredin, he responded the best to his ability.

    Mr. Fredin told me that my concerns were reasonable to ask. Advanced math focused in on a fusion of geometry, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, and more. With that in mind, I registered for the class. I remember sauntering into the classroom and meeting Mrs. Bradfield. I knew right then that I would respect the class. The first problem she put on the board was x² +5x+4. She told us to solve it. I thought I knew how to solve the problem, but I wasn’t sure. Then she solved it, and it looked exactly like mine: (x+4)(x+1). Next she put (2x+5)(2x-2) on the board and told the class to solve the problem. Easy, just FOIL it! First multiply 2x by 2x and get 4x², then take the outside 2x by -2 you get -4x. Then I moved into the last four steps of the problem, multiply the inside parts, 5 by 2x you get 10x, then take the last coefficients and multiply: 5 by -2 equals -10. Combine alike parts and the final equation is 4x² +6x-10. I couldn't believe it! I liked this class! I continued to become proficient in math and became more comfortable with the class. But there was more to the class, what happens after Advanced Math, what then?

    I learned that advanced math was there to prepare students for pre-calculus. What a name, pre-calculus. It just sounded intimidating, just like Betty from the state jail, only this time she was 6’6”, 300lbs of muscle. I think Mr. Fredin could see the fear in my eyes. He explained that Mrs. Bradfield would prepare me for pre-calculus, and Betty would shrink. Betty would now be 5’6”, 130 pounds from a tough part of Des Moines, IA. Mr. Fredin was right. Pre-calculus wasn’t as scary as I thought it would be. As I continue to take math classes, I’ve become more comfortable with them.

    Success in a math class, an A in a math class, can I do it? The answer is simple, yes. Advanced math was the best class choice I’ve made in my high school career. I was taught so when I approached the ACT for the first time, I would be able to solve a majority of the problems and hopefully get the same answers they did. Being successful in Advanced Math was a confidence boost that I needed. I knew that if I could accomplish that much, I would be able conquer other math classes.

When my brother, Paul, asked me what math class should he take, my answer was advanced math: the best math class I have ever taken.

Advanced Speech

    After a semester of Advanced Speech, I am a master at preparing an oral presentation in twenty minutes. I believe this is one of the most important skills I have learned while attending AHS. Although taking a week to come up with an idea, create a formalized presentation, and then practice for hours on end is the ideal amount of time to give a presentation, sometimes this opportunity doesn’t present itself. In real life, there isn’t always a week to create a speech, so creating one in a short period of time is a valuable skill to have.

I’m a procrastinator by nature. For example, it is late Sunday night as I am writing this paper. I have only a few hours until this paper must be turned in, and I am not even half done with it yet. Having this skill is something that has benefitted me over the past two years. It is helping me write this by allowing me express myself with words that sound good together and have a certain flow to them which indicates a type of sophistication in my writing.

Another example of how this skill has helped me is when I get in disputes with people. It helps me by letting me bring together all the information I have at hand and focus it into short, contrite sentences which will ultimately help me prevail in the end. Granted, we can all argue. We have been since we were little children. But having honed the skill to the degree of which I have gives me the greater advantage in an argument than just quick thinking or good facts.

In conclusion, I believe that all high school students who want to better their speaking skills, their arguing skills, and those who want an advantage in their future jobs should take Advanced Speech. I don’t, however, suggest following in my footsteps of being a procrastinator. Many nights I stay up until the stroke of midnight to finish writing a paper like I am now. I am thankful that I took Advanced Speech, because it makes my late night extravaganzas possible.

Advanced Speech

          It’s “speech day.” I've spent my last bit of energy the night before utilizing every inch of focus to paste each sentence into my memory bank, word by word. After endless repetition, I finally perfect every paragraph individually and then in sequence. Without my notes, I repeat it one last time to my mirror, pretending I am presenting to twenty classmates who are intently listening to every word I speak. Flawless. Now all I can think about is my third period class and if I can pull off my speech where it counts. When the time comes, I force myself to walk into the classroom with no visible emotions. I try to psyche myself out to stay calm and collected, from breathing normally to distracting myself with something less stressful. My name is called and I walk to the front of the classroom to begin my formal address. My heart is pounding so hard that I’m afraid the entire class can hear it as I try to beat out the first paragraph I knew so well. My dry mouth finally completes the introduction, but then I freeze. I rush to bring satisfaction to my audience by stumbling on through the remainder of my notes, but I know it’s not working. This scenario was typical for me when it came to speeches--until I took Advance Speech.

                After taking Advanced Speech my junior year, I am more comfortable with my speech-giving abilities. I still build up a few butterflies in my stomach when I first get on stage, but after a deep breath or two, I’m able to swallow my anxiety and plug through more smoothly than I’d been able to in the past.

                Most people would take one glance at “Advanced Speech” and say, “Thanks, but no thanks.” That was my initial thought too, until I read and understood the purpose of the course. Advanced Speech isn’t for people who are experts in debate and who consider giving a speech a walk in the park; the class’s principle subjects are those who do not feel at ease preparing a paper and speaking in front of a group. For example, our first week consisted of preparing a simple speech (the shield of arms with four different personal topics) to introduce ourselves to our classmates and familiarize ourselves with the stage. Next, we started a book that, on top of Mr. Shuman’s input, taught us techniques to shake off that “butterfly” feeling, like breathing exercises, proper stances, and cursory movements. Already in the first few weeks, I was starting to feel content with my decision on taking the class.

                I didn’t let the class’s name get to me or any nasty rumors obscure my choice. I aimed to receive more than just another English credit and understood the true reason for taking any class in my high school years: to learn something. Every career requires some type of communication ability. Therefore, I decided to get the most from Advanced Speech class in hopes that it would benefit me in the long run.

Advanced Speech

            Advanced Speech is a useful class to take to improve one’s writing and presentation skills.  Although its duration is merely one semester, the course is jam-packed with oratory techniques, many of which will be used for the rest of the student’s life, be it in a job or in college.

                Some of the skills learned in the class are recapitulated from ideas taught in previous years.  Then there are other skills that are completely new and just a joy to learn about.  One type of speech that was entirely new to me was the eulogy.  This oratory tool is the type of speech made at a funeral or memorial.  I, personally, was able to have fun with this speech as I took a twist on it while presenting the dedication of a monument.

                All the students in my class seemed to like different speeches better than others.  Some enjoyed the parliamentary procedure, some the debates, and others the hands-on How-To speech.  No mater which speeches students struggled with, it was clear to see, by the end of the year, the improvement in all of our oratory skills.  Even students who knew many persuasive techniques and types of problem-solving discussions found themselves challenged in more specific topics and expressions.

                However, the class is neither too directed nor focused on details of types of speech to confuse or baffle someone with no previous knowledge.  For instance, should students who have nearly no experience with speeches decide to take the class, they would find the material covered and ideas presented easy to follow.  Mr. Shuman does a great job of explaining the fundamentals and teaching his students the tricks of the trade he has mastered so well.

                So, to all the students with hopes of college or full time jobs, it doesn’t hurt to know how to express yourself.  You may become a news anchor or even the president of the United States; whatever the case, the skills learned in Mr. Shuman’s Advanced Speech class will come in handy.

American Literature

    One of the most benefiting classes I took during my high school career was American Literature. My knowledge of our history increased immensely in one semester. From stories written at Plymouth Rock, to the Declaration of Independence, to children’s folk tales, I relived each memorable moment specifically. Because history is my weakest subject, I was not looking forward to the assignments and information that were going to be taught. Throughout this course, however, the activities and assignments only had me begging for more. I thoroughly enjoyed every excerpt we read, including Patrick Henry and his speech at the Virginia Convention where he persuaded people to join his side. I was thrilled with every video we watched, from the intense journey of the Last of the Mohicans to the dark, gothic feel of Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Raven”.

    Surprisingly, I remember the majority of information we learned. For example, I will never forget breaking down the Gettysburg Address to understand Lincoln’s message about the war. Also, I recall reading The Great Gatsby, a classic American story of love and tragedy. In this class, we read over 30 stories in chronological order of our country’s development. It was fascinating to see how literature had changed within each century.

    I would recommend this class for anyone who needs a semester of English during their junior or senior year. Many people probably look past this class when registering, thinking that they cannot take it because of their inability to remember names and dates. But as a person who had no inspiration to learn about the history of our country, I was flipped upside down because of this class.

    American Literature has shown me that I can take in information and never forget it because it was taught in an interesting and enjoyable way. Being a strictly musical-based person, I am not interested in classes that have nothing to do with acting, dance, vocals and instruments. My goal could have been to persuade you to take a music class, but I decided to write about a class that had the greatest impact on a subject I previously had no interest in. Now, all you have to do is put an “x” next to the class and prepare yourself for what is in store.

AP United States History

         AP United States History is the most valuable class I have taken at AHS. Most kids question whether to take this class because of the intimidating amount of homework assigned. It was rumored this class would drown a student in hours of reading a dry textbook, and ten-page study guides would be assigned twice a week. Horror stories of the three-and-a-half-hour AP exam terrified the prospective students. This class was going to be tough, and anyone who took it must be prepared to spend a quite a few hours a week to get through it.

As a junior I was one of the kids who heard these rumors and horror stories. I had planned on taking AP United States History but was becoming dubious. The thought of applying to my top-choice school and the desire to get in was the only thing that kept me from switching to Foods 1 or Microsoft office.

             The first day of class my senior year I became aware that none of the rumors were false. There was loads of homework and reading. I would spend Friday nights studying for hours and filling out study guides. I had decided to take a class that would take up a good percentage of my time, and I would have to make social sacrifices to earn an A.

As the year progressed, I learned that all this studying wasn’t as bad I thought because I was learning such valuable information. Spending an hour or two reading my textbook became almost fun. Everything from the Articles of Confederation to the Bill of Rights became interesting to me. I learned that America is actually really cool, and I enjoyed learning about it.

             By taking AP United States History I gained wisdom and knowledge that will help me later in life. I have a better clue of how the government works, my country’s history, and what I’ll do when it comes time for me to vote. This class made me more proud to live in a country with such an admirable past.

AP U.S History  

    Advanced Placement U.S. History is a thought-provoking class for college-bound students who aspire to further their knowledge about our nation’s past.  The subject content of the class covers a wide time period, starting at the Neolithic Age and ending at present day.  

    Those who enroll in this year-long class taught by Mr. Wiley will be challenged by its brisk, university-level pace. Also, since this is a college-level course, there are accompanying college-level expectations. If a student is caught cheating on a test, he or she will be given a zero for the test and a failing grade for the entire class. At the end of the year, students decide if they want to take the class final exam for a small fee in order to earn possible college credit. The test is a comprehensive timed exam with multiple choice and essay questions.

    Students can expect a similar class routine, week after week. Mr. Wiley’s teaching style is lecture orientated, in which students are expected to take notes from the beginning bell to the final seconds of the class. Mr. Wiley has a unique, yet captivating way of grasping the students’ attention and maintaining it throughout the lecture. He does this by exhibiting an excited and upbeat attitude, often becoming engrossed in retelling a historical event. With the entire class time spent in lecture, there is no time left for students to work on book assignments or reports. This leaves a substantial amount of homework and writing to be completed outside of the classroom.

    Although the daily class schedule is demanding, Mr. Wiley encourages students to support and help one another when completing assignments and preparing for tests.  Mr. Wiley also makes himself available before school to provide extra instruction to students as needed.  Another example of Mr. Wiley’s commitment to the class is the extra study times that he offers to students as they are preparing for the final exam. During these sessions, he meets with students twice a week – either after school or during the weekend - to administer practice tests and to provide guidance on how to answer potential essay questions.

AP U.S. History is a good class to take for anyone seeking a challenge. By taking this class, students will develop study skills needed for college, possibly earned college credit, and greatly further their knowledge of our nation’s past.


Art -

    Myth: Art classes are “pud” classes. Taking an art class means aquiring a free period to talk and mess around with friends. You don’t have to take tests, write reports, or copy notes. You simply work on assigned projects over an extended period of time.

If you want meet the wrath of Ms. Wiederien, then take this attitude. If not, become familiar with the facts about art education at AHS.

    Fact: There’s no such thing as an “easy A.” You must work for your grades and make an honest effort. It is important that you learn to use any criticism you’re given to your advantage; “Leave well enough alone” doesn’t exist in art. Take projects seriously.

If you don’t do your work, you will fail.

    Fact: If you mess around you will not get away with it. Ms. Wiederien is not afraid to scold, give detentions, or even kick students out of the class. If you cause disruptions you will be called out for it. This is never a pretty sight and, in the end, we all lose. So shape up or ship out.

    Fact: You do take tests, copy notes, and write occasional reports on artists, photographers, and art movements. Basic Art introduces a little of everything, like working in pencil, colored pencil, charcoal, conté crayon, ink, oil pastel, chalk pastel, and watercolor.

    Throughout the year, you discover elements of art such as form, value, and texture, as well as principles like balance, movement, and proportion.

You will be expected to retain the information and techniques learned. You will be expected to improve in skill. Pay attention.

    Fact: If you use your time wisely and behave maturely, you will enjoy the time spent in room 412. The class provides you with a fairly relaxed atmosphere to work in. The radio is always playing, but you are also free to bring your iPod or Mp3 player. Note: It’s never karaoke day.

    Why it’s worth it: Even if you claim to only draw trees and stick people, you will not leave an art course the way you came in. If time is used effectively, you WILL learn and you WILL improve. The best part is that you will be able to see this as it happens.

    Taking a personal interest in a project will keep the inspiration alive and create a connection between you and your work of art. In the end, you’re left with a sense of pride in the final piece produced by the work of your mind and your own two hands.

Atlantic Football

     I will remember playing football at Atlantic High School for as long as I live. The great memories will come to mind every time I watch a football game. Memories such as watching Jordan Mullen turn the corner and explode past every defender my junior year against Glenwood, or the three or four sacks I had against Creston as a senior. Those are the memories that surface at first thought, but there are so many other recollections when I reminisce over my years as a Trojan. I have  many memories from practices and team nights. I also recall playing school-yard type football in the freezing cold as a freshman. Coach Muldoon played quarterback, and the rest of us were wide-outs. It was a blast.  Once, at team night, we all played four-way volleyball in the Schuler gym. At the time I had a knee injury, and during that game of volleyball, my knee started feeling better and I was able to play that Friday night.

    Football isn’t just a sport filled with memory after memory of fun. There is a commitment that is essential with football. The offseason workouts have to be a priority, along with camps and staying out of trouble. The typical day in the summer involves going in to lift during the day, and depending on the day of the week, going to speed and agility. Lifting happens three to four times a week, and speed and agility twice. These workouts show the coaches how committed to football you are and also help teach discipline. All the labor is definitely worth it. If the team is successful during the year, what else can you look back on besides the work you put in during the summer to get the team to the point it is at now? Looking back it is obvious what caused the success: the effort in the offseason.

    Football also teaches team unity. In life team unity will be essential everyday in the business world: working together with others well. As life moves on, interacting with other people is inevitable.  Teamwork is needed in such jobs as construction of a large building. People skills are valuable in that situation.  If teamwork within the group meshes well, the project will go forward successfully. Teamwork and unity are another set of skills that football offers.

    Football has allowed me to experience some of the best memories of my life. It has taught me the value of hard work and discipline. It has also stressed the importance of team unity and the ability of teamwork. Football has been one of my greatest decisions. Will it be yours?

Basic Art

                Now in my final year of high school education, I occasionally look back and gain a sense of the sheer multitude of growth and learning that I have endured over the past four years.  I must say that although much of my academic time was squandered away meandering about the hallways and tinkering in the ag shop, there were many classes that I quite thoroughly enjoyed.  As a freshman, I was elated about my new ability to choose classes for myself and succeed (or fail) on my own accord.  In particular, I remember selecting Basic Art as one of my first classes in the new building.  Little did I know that this would be one of the most influential decisions in my high school career.

                The first day of freshman year is slightly unsettling for most students, and I was no exception to the rule.  It didn’t help that my first class was art, taught by a certain Ms. Pat Wiederen.  Wieda, as I came to affectionately call her over the next three years, is an imposing person to any freshman. For example, she skipped introductions and started the class with a bellowing list of expectations that echoed through the concrete and steel room crammed on the end of the southwestern wing of the building.  This came to characterize her loud and proud method of education that I so enjoyed in proceeding classes.  At first I was intimidated and began to reconsider my decision to enroll in art class, but I soon came to see that Wieda was really not that scary and her yelling is just how she shows she cares.

                The course description was short, but the lesson plan was not.  Every two weeks, our motley crew of prospective artists undertook a new challenge.  I learned proportions, shading, layering, blending, color mixing, and even sculpting.  From pencil to pottery, we dipped our pens in the many media of artistic expression available to us, all the while boisterously hurried along by our fearless leader, Ms. Weideren.  Our class became almost like a team, working together to keep up with Wieda’s blistering pace and unanimously objecting when Wieda changed the background music to a country station to keep the class from singing along to the top forty hits.  Her famous phrase, “Its not karaoke day!” still resonates down that hallway on a daily basis.

                Basic Art gave me a taste of the wide spectrum of the tactile artistic world, and left me craving more.  For the next five semesters I took a variety of art classes and further expanded my capabilities to the point where I felt I had developed my own style and technique, mainly focusing on drawing and painting.  I discovered that all artistic expression whether it is painting or singing, is interconnected and stems from the same creative juices within the artist.  If I were a freshman once again, knowing what I know now, there is no doubt Basic Art would still be my first pick.  Art is part of who I am, and always will be.

Basic Art      Basic Art is an introduction course to various types of art. It is one of my favorite classes in school. I decided to take the class because I have always loved learning new ways to create works of art, and I wanted to broaden my artistic interest.  I’m glad I enrolled in Basic Art because I absolutely love it. I have learned more in the last nine weeks from Ms.Wiederien than I had in the previous eighteen years on my own. So far this year we have covered proportions, shading, and positive-negative spaces.

     Proportions are important because if they are not done correctly, everything could be the wrong, whether it be the size, shape, or height.  Imagine if a shoe artist didn’t check the proportions of the shoe before

making it; the shoe would probably resemble a clown shoe!  Or if a portrait painter didn’t correctly proportion the features on a faces, it might look like the horror movie character Scream. I now realize that everything is about proportion. In fact, nearly all of our projects will require us to use proportion.

     Shading has been my favorite project thus far. We practiced by drawing and shading cones, balls, boxes, and rolls of toilet paper of various sizes.  Four days in a row we rotated around the room to practice with a light source coming from a different direction each day.  For the final, we sat at our normal desk and drew different objects than we had before. For example, we had a crooked house instead of a tall box, a jack-o-lantern replica in place of a roll of toilet paper, a sea shell where a long box had been, and a gourd replacing a baseball. The light source came from behind me, so I had very few shadows to shade. I think that is the hardest angle to shade from. This project was my favorite because it added shading to the use of proportions.

     We are currently learning how to do positive-negative spaces. Although it is confusing, I think that as a class it is our favorite undertaking yet.  The positive-negative space project require us to first draw out

something that is plentiful in negative spaces, such as an old fashioned windmill or a tennis net. We then use an exacto blade to cut out the negative spaces and glue the pieces to a white piece of paper.  Once all of the

pieces have been cut out, we glue the positive (what is left after the negatives are cut out) to the other side of the white paper. We had to use proportion to accurately draw the object we used in our positive-negative

space project.

    After the last nine weeks of Basic Art, I have begun to study the world in a new way. Instead of looking at something and seeing its face value, I look at it and ask myself “How would I draw that?”, “What would I use to measure its proportions?”, “How would I shade it?”, or “What part of that would be negative?”. The great part is, I love it!


    I remember CPI as a class that helped me improve my ability to properly analyze a newspaper or newspaper article.  It seems as if it were just the other day when I was sitting in Mr. Petersen’s room as a Junior waiting for class to start.  Once the bell rang, I nabbed a Des Moines Register from Petersen’s desk and scurried back to my seat.  It may seem rather odd, but I was unfamiliar with the Register and where to find the article about the 200-pound gorilla that beat a police officer.  When I asked Mr. Pete to point out the article of the brutal ape, he directed me right to the page.  He also told me where all the different types of news were located.  Anything from local to world wide, I could find the right page for the article I was in search of.

    As the class progressed, the class became accustomed to the weekly routine in CPI.  The easiest day was always Friday.  Every week, each student was responsible for summarizing an article in that week’s news and having it ready to present as a speech for the class on Friday.  The average student’s presentation lasted no longer than a minute and a half, which fit Mr. Petersen’s expectations perfectly.  Everybody’s article was very unique and no matter what week it was, at least four students would discover a topic that gave the class a good chuckle.  Those soothed the student’s souls with laughter.

    Although people knew the schedule for the week, every once in a while, Mr. Pete would throw a curve ball at us and let us watch a movie, but there was a catch.  The movie had to have some sort of historical importance.  The movies also provided a release of stress.  Just think of this.  Your early classes are becoming frustrating with teachers handing out handfuls of homework.  How can you relax?  You just go to CPI and watch a movie that the class has decided on.  That is always the best part of CPI.  Even if CPI isn’t the most difficult class, it actually teaches students things they will use in life.  I will always have one thing to haul with me in life from this class.  Forever will I remember how to properly read a newspaper and where to located articles of my interest.

Creative Writing

When I first walked into Creative writing, I didn’t know what to expect.  I had never had Mrs. Morenz as a teacher before and didn’t know what she would be like.  But, now that I have finished this class, I would say that Creative Writing has been my favorite and most beneficial class.  I found Mrs. Morenz, when she was here, to be an excellent teacher.  This class was never boring.  On one of the first days of class we were instructed to make something creative out of play dough.  This jump started our creativity for the year and got us excited for the class.  Another thing that I loved about this class was when we got to write our short stories.  I liked that we could just write whatever made-up story was in our head and get a grade for it. It was also fun to read through everyone else’s short stories.   I liked looking at the imagination’s of my class mates.  My favorite story was written by Taylor Williams.  It was about an old lady that loved the fourth of July and had a son in the army.  In the end of the story the boy comes home to find his mother dead.  It was sad, but it was also full of emotion and a good story.  This also made me a better writer with all the revision that I did on it and all of the different ideas my classmates had for it when they read through it.  We also worked on writing poetry in Creative Writing.  I wrote a poem about how much I hated Chemistry and I got an A.  This shows that you can really express what you’re feeling in this class through your writing.  We also made powerpoints about children stories.  My group did "The Three Little Pigs."  It was fun to have the freedom to work on the project without her instructing us the whole way.  Like I said before, we could just be creative.  And even though I was wary of this class at first, I’m very glad that I ended up taking it.

Choir/Show Choir

         Choir has given me many opportunities to express myself through music. For example, one of the songs we are currently singing is called “I Believe” from the musical Spring Awakening. This song is particularly moving for many students in the class because the lyrics say “all will be forgiven.” We’ve all made mistakes, but with the promise that everything will at some point be all right, life is more positive.

             Another way that choir has impacted me is by advancing my music skills. For example, before I was in choir the only formal music lessons I had ever experienced were piano lessons that I took half-heartedly because I was forced into them. Once I got to high school choir, I realized that music was something that I, personally, was very good at. I knew notes and could figure out key signatures with ease. Although I was still not the best musician in the class, I could compete. Knowing the musical alphabet allows me to produce short songs without having a train wreck of noises.

             One aspect of choir that gives me a way to express myself is show choir. Show choir enables me not only to sing, but also to dance at the same time. Dance allows me to express myself through movement, and with the dual expression, I am even further emotionally attached to the music. During our ballad in show choir, “Remember When It Rained” by Josh Groban, all of the students in our choir are allowed to express themselves with movement however they feel fit. This is a growing trend in ballads for show choirs today.

             Leadership in choir is one more way that I am allowed to express my skills in choir. For example, my role as a senior promotes me to take charge in the classroom. There are many opportunities in choir when the group needs a leader. For example, last week during choir we had a small group lesson during which nothing was being accomplished. Although I am not the best piano player, I know my notes. By knowing notes, I can play pitches to start off people’s singing. This is only one example of leadership.

             I believe that everyone should at least give choir and show choir a try. Even if a student can’t sing (or doesn’t think he/she can), everyone has a talent of some sort. It takes courage to get out on the stage, and only weak-hearted people wouldn’t take the plunge and try it.


    High school is all about identities and I would consider mine to be “the singing girl.”   I have always loved to sing.  In most cases, I would entertain my family with a hairbrush and my mom’s guitar.  I would take requests and play something that was nowhere near close to what they were thinking; they still loved the delivery.

    If you find yourself to be the kind of person that loves to entertain through voice, I can’t think of a better class than choir.  Choir used to be a required class when I was younger, but is now a choice.  For example, most of the boys quit after middle school because their parents were no longer forcing them to sing.  For me choir was never a choice.  It was a requirement for my happiness.  Cheesy?  I know, but that’s why choir is perfect for me.  I get to freely express my emotion through each song.  Each concert that I perform in is like an emotional roller coaster.  The choir starts off the concert by singing an upbeat, in your face, here-I-am-ready-to-perform-for-you song.  Then we progressively move to different tones:  angry, hopeful, ecstatic, thankful, sad, etc.  I love music for various reasons.  I not only experience emotions I may not get to otherwise, it also forces me to face different realities about myself. All state is a prime example of this.

    All state is the best/worst opportunity I could ever experience in high school.  I’ve never had the chance to use the expression “make or break,” but I think it fits this case like a glass slipper.  Jessica Pritchet had been an all stater going into her audition last year.  She had been to the big concert and knew what she was striving after last year.  She worked harder than ever and didn’t make it.  After being considered an “all stater,” and then having it ripped out from under you messes with your confidence, and whom you think you are.  I experienced what she did this year.  I tried out and didn’t make it, after being an all stater last year.  In my eyes, I had lost my identity as “the singer.”  I dedicated three months of my life to that music, and in the end what did I receive?  After uncontrollably sobbing, I pulled myself together and went over to other students who had tried out and either congratulated or shared my sympathy with them.  I felt that I had grown so much in those few minutes.  I found myself thinking of others before myself in one of the hardest times in my life.  I set aside my tragedies to celebrate with my fellow singing colleagues.

    Music has made me who I am today. While other activities might teach sportsmanship and character, I spend all year with my choir family. I have the opportunity to learn so much more with choir.  I have a much-needed vulnerability that allows me to be molded in a positive way as a person.  

English I

    When the average adult thinks back to their freshman English class, I expect they think of nouns and adverbs, of Romeo and Juliet or The Catcher in the Rye. Well, I don’t. When I think of my freshman English class I think of life discussions, card games, and heavily needed afternoon naps. That’s not a class I can easily forget.

    Mr. H was an excellent teacher. He taught at Walnut Community High School for thirty-three years, transitioning from English to German and back again. He knew more about language and writing than anyone I had ever met. I remember sitting in his classroom playing monopoly while he sat at a desk and wrote stories. Sometimes he would share them with us and the words would flow through the room and hang there. He was an artist painting a picture that formed in our minds just as clear as if it had been drawn on the chalkboard. Sometimes he would refuse to tell us what he was writing about, which made us even more curious. We would sit in the front of the room contemplating the inner workings of his mind while he sat in the back scribbling on paper. It’s now that I see the irony in the situation. The only person writing in my English class was the teacher.

    After a period of time, we, as students, just came to believe that English one was a slack off class. We saw it as a time to do homework, catch up on gossip, or play computer games. Whatever chance Mr. H had at teaching us was thrown out the window the second week when he decided we would learn better in a comfortable environment. With this reasoning, he trucked us all outside with pen and paper in hand and sat us on the wooden playground to let our creativity flow. It didn’t take long before the boys’ creativity flowed right into a vigorous game of capture the flag, the flags being H’s book and bag.

    Determined to do his job, H would try to plan short lessons, teachings that would only take about the first fifteen minutes of class. One day we sat down and he handed out a basic sentence structuring worksheet. When the class began to complain at the tiniest hint of work, H decided to teach us why work ethic and a strong sense of will are more important than any worksheet we will ever complete. Those of us who cared enough to listen joined in the heated discussion; the rest of us put in our headphones or started our own arguments.

    In his own way H taught us more than any teacher I’ve ever had. It may not have been about language, although I did learn quite a few German cuss words; it may not have been Iowa Core Curriculum and it certainly won’t help us on the ACTs. But he taught us about life, about being good at something and taking pride in it, and about caring for each other and for ourselves. To me, that’s memorable.


    American Government is taught by Mr. Wiley and is helpful to better understand the functionality and history of our government. For example, before I started American Government I was unaware that America had a group of terrorist named the Sons of Liberty. This terrorist group tarred and feathered British tax collectors, along with Americans who supported English rule. American Government opens up a student’s eyes to certain pieces of history that may have not been covered in American History. For example, every educated American knows about the Boston Tea Party. However, I believe that few people know that Boston Tea Party was carried out by the Sons of Liberty.  I find it amusing that one of the ways Americans protest government control was started by a group of terrorist.

                    Mr. Wiley teaches students about the powers of the three branches of government.  Some students may think this sounds boring, but it is necessary that a student understands what is unique about our government and how the branches work together in our system. For example, students learn the three branches of government are called legislative, executive, and judicial. The legislative branch is called congress; it has the power to make laws. If a law passes that a student does not like this is the branch of government to be upset with. The judicial branch is the courts and its job is to interpret the laws. Before I took American Government I did not realize that the same part of the constitution can be interpreted different depending on the case and judge. The last branch of congress is the one most of us are more familiar with, the Executive branch. The Executive branch is the President; his job is to enforce the laws of congress.

                    American Government helps students for future decisions. Let’s say that it’s an election year and a presidential candidate is trying to appeal to younger voters by saying, that if he is elected he will lower the drinking age. A former student of Mr. Wiley’s hears this and says out loud to himself, “does the President have the power to do that?” The former student grabs his old Government notebook and looks up the powers of the President. He reads that the President can only veto or pass laws; it’s up to congress to make them. He also reads that the drinking age is set by State laws, not the Federal Government. The former student realizes the candidate is a fraud and votes against him.


            “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.” Thomas Jefferson’s quote comes from the Declaration of Independence, adopted on July 4, 1776. It may seem like useless information to some, but I will never forget learning and memorizing it. Government is a one-semester class taught by Mr. Wiley that is required of all seniors.

                All of Mr. Wiley’s classes are structured with a strict no-slacking policy, which does not seem to be a problem for most students. His expectations are simple: work until lecture is over. If he is still talking after the bell rings, students must stay in their assigned seat until he is finished. Government is a class where students should ask questions if they do not understand the material. All of his tests and most worksheets are over the notes taken during class. It never hurts to have him explain materials in detail if it is not comprehended the first time. Just the other day we had a worksheet; one of the questions had to do with our notes. I asked Mr. Wiley about the information, because I didn’t understand. After he explained it, I was able to finish the worksheet, and I also knew what the notes meant.

                Mr. Wiley loves giving quizzes. He gives at least two or three a week. They may not be hard, but quizzes are a great way to see who knows the material and who does not. He sometimes gives easy quizzes, but he can toss in tough ones too. Behavior quizzes are given out if he is upset with a class for not paying attention. This quiz could be ten-questions worth fifty points. For example, he whipped out a fifty-point quiz just last week because there was a mild disruption in our class period. Luckily, I scored a forty-five out of fifty, because I had been looking over my notes the previous days. Some students did not pass that quiz nor even get close to passing. That is why looking over the notes daily and behaving in his class is important.

                A normal day of Government class consists of getting numerous things accomplished. The class period starts by students reviewing notes and asking questions about things not remembered from the previous day’s lecture. Mr. Wiley gives oral quizzes in which are not graded. After all the questions are answered, we move into that day’s lecture and notes. Most of the class period is spent taking notes and listening.

                Mr. Wiley gives a plethora of assignments including chapter worksheets, study packets, and article studies. The chapter worksheets are usually ten-question worksheets that check student comprehension over the material in the book. Mr. Wiley does not always give study packets before a test, but he does if there is a lot of material to be covered; filling out those packets helps tremendously with the tests. Students who do the packets can do the test. We also receive article studies.  Two articles are handed out to read and evaluate. Students then write a paper to explain what they thought about the story. The article assignments are a good way for students to give an opinion on important and debatable topics.

                Overall, Government is not a hard class. Just like any class in high school, paying attention and taking detailed notes are the keys to being successful. I do both of those and I’m passing Government with flying colors. If students follow these guidelines, they will not have a problem either.


    Most students wouldn’t say that a required high school class would be one of the best classes they have ever taken.  Surprisingly enough, I would say that Government, which is a required class by state law, is one of my favorite classes this year.  I love learning about history.  It has always been my favorite subject throughout school.  With my love for history, Government is an interesting class for me.  We have gone over chapters in our books about the forming of our country, but we have also gone more in-depth than I have previously in American History.  

    Most history classes just skim through the years, only slightly opening history’s door, but Mr. Wiley starts at one time period and goes in-depth to make sure we understand the information.  We started in the 1200s learning about the Magna Carta and England’s government, which was the beginning of America’s government.  Going all the way back to that time period helps us understand the concepts the Pilgrims and Puritans brought with them when they came to the New World.  We learn how all these ideas helped influence the forming of America’s government.  

    I believe some people go into Government class expecting a boring lecture.  I don’t agree with them.  I go in with a positive attitude ready to learn something fun and exciting each and every day.  People just have to get the right mind-set for Government.  I would hope that since Government is a required class that people would put forth the effort to enjoy it.

    Government gives me the knowledge I need to know in order to vote.  Let’s say I go into a voting booth and am going to vote for president.  I’m thinking that one person is better than the other because of their smile.  Now is that a logical reason for voting?  The answer would be no because their smile has nothing do with how they will act in office.  Government class helps me understand the issues and the many debates.  I now know the beginning of the Declaration of Independence because we had to memorize it for one of the tests.  I wouldn’t have even bothered to look at it if I hadn’t been taking Government.  Currently, I have to memorize the Preamble to the Constitution.  By memorizing these passages, it helps me acquaint myself with the first documents of the country.  

    Government gives me the information I need to understand the basis of politics and the issues going on.  I realize that Government is a required class, but it is more fun to me than some of the classes I choose to take.  People need to go in with the right mind-set and I am sure they will enjoy the class.

Interpersonal Communications

    I am currently taking Interpersonal Communications at Atlantic High School. Interpersonal Communications (IPC), taught by Ms. Berryhill, has been available as a one-semester class to juniors and seniors for the past two years. Ms. Berryhill creates a unique environment with a relaxed feel for the class. At the start of class, Ms. Berryhill plays Elvis music. Compared to calculus or Government, one might say IPC is a “pud” class, yet it is beneficial to a high school student’s education. IPC is an active class, and a person must be flexible in order to excel.

    Every student has the ability to succeed. The course’s curriculum starts with the listening chapter. Listening techniques include prompting, paraphrasing, and questioning. I learned that today’s media is making it harder to become good listeners; however, we all can become better listeners and communicators with proper education and training. The class also takes short field trips. Ms. Berryhill was able to arrange a school bus for our IPC class to go and practice our listening skills with Mrs. Fell’s kindergarten class. We then transitioned in our college textbook to the group discussion unit. The interaction within the class was a key component in order to learn the new skills. When learning the different roles in a group discussion, we started off by passing a beach ball back and forth. The course also covers Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs Theory. As a class, we learned the concept through a skit we put on for a freshman English class. Currently, we are learning about communication models and communication within different cultures.

    The course’s goal is for students to learn the interpersonal communication skills and then become competent using them throughout our futures. Communication competence is learned as achieving one’s goal while maintaining or enhancing the relationship in which it occurs. Ms. Berryhill also teaches how to take notes within a college textbook. Imagine yourself in college struggling to understand exactly what the text is saying. You have read the entire chapter, but you cannot recall what even the last page was about. An IPC student is taught how to record important notes on Post-It notes. As mentioned above, we are interdependent of our classmates. We have been unified as a group with an identity. We care for one another. When our classmate, Griffin Ferguson, was sick with pneumonia, each one of us made her a card.

    Many Atlantic High School students do not know what Interpersonal Communications is about. Many peers ask me what I learn in that class and what I do. I reply by saying, “Interpersonal Communications is a great class. It is an easier class than I have taken in the past, but I have learned more than I ever thought I would. It is an active class that prepares you to be a better communicator as a college student and later on as a community member working with the various people of the public.” Most students think they know how to communicate, but all of us need to realize the improvement we can make. In order to improve, one must be trained with the proper education.

Intro to Construction

        Students who want to explore careers, create something tangible, and be acquainted to other industry technology classes should consider taking Intro to Construction. This semester-long elective class, taught by Mr. Warren, is offered every other year.

        In the beginning of the semester, students learn about various jobs around the construction site, from the construction manager to the bulldozer operator.  During this time period, I was exposed to structural engineering—a profession I didn’t know existed.  A structural engineer uses math and material knowledge to make sure a structure can stand while supporting its designated lode.  Prior to taking Intro to Construction, I was clueless on what I wanted to do for a career, but now I plan to be a structural engineer.  Because students explore careers in Intro to Construction, they may find a future occupation like I did.

         Near the end of the semester, students team up to build a model house.  The house project is a hands-on activity for students to learn about various situations encountered at a construction site.  Groups overcame deadlines, absent workers, and wrong measurements while constructing their house.  In the end, students have a miniature house standing before them that if actual size would be a well-built, lovely home.

        If students take Intro to Construction early in their high school careers, they are exposed to other classes taught by Mr. Warren.  When I took Intro my freshman year, I would watch upperclassmen in the engineering drafting class make 3D drawings on computers.  These high school students who were drafting such complex shapes wowed me. I had to acquire their computer savvy.  Once my high school career is over, I will have taken seven industrial tech classes taught by Mr. Warren.  These three and a half years of Warren classes were all because exposure Intro to Construction provided.

        Intro to Construction is the most valuable elective class on my high school transcript.  It showed me a future career, engaged me in hands-on learning, and introduced me to the industrial tech classes. Students who take Intro to Construction will also receive these benefits I experienced.


    Journalism has boosted my responsibility level and helped me determine my life career.  I never thought that journalism would be fun.  I took it as one of my few elective classes to start my junior year.  Gradually, my journalism work made me take on more responsibility.  A teenager has many different levels of responsibilities.  The first and lowest level of responsibility comes from the lazy teenager: no work is done on time or more times than not no work is done at all.  The next level of responsibility is when students realize work should be done and try their hardest to get the assignments done on time.  The third level of responsibility is the student who is on top of the game.  They work on assignments and hand them in early.

    My level of responsibility was in between the second and lowest level before I started my junior year.  I didn’t have the ambition to turn my work in with my fullest ability.  Journalism was a wake up call to my responsibility. Journalists worked for themselves to keep their reputation on a good level; they also work for the team.  Editors depend on the junior journalists.  One’s ass is on the line when work is not handed in to the seniors.  Deadlines are lifelines.  

    As my junior year progressed, my level of responsibility increased.  My deadlines came quick at first.  I tried my hardest to get my stories in on time.  The editors understood that it was just the beginning for the journalists.  The editors seemed to be nice, but if I was on their bad side, they seemed more like the people that I met in my nightmares.

    The reasoning behind my career choice was the photography unit in journalism.  I had a split career decision to make for college. Photography took a huge part in my life.  On the other hand interior design seemed to sound just as fun as photography.  The photography won by far, but it was in a different way.  I always pictured photography as being Sue Fischer.  I no longer wanted to take family portraits.  I wanted to be a photojournalist.

    Journalism helped me on behalf of my responsibility.  I also learned what I wanted to be after I graduated from Atlantic High School.  Journalism is a class that can change a person’s life for the better.


       Photography class is a basic introduction to the camera, film, dark room, and processing. Understanding the camera and film is the focus of the curriculum because without this knowledge, photography is not possible. During this class students study a camera and get to know all the basic parts such as the lens, the shutter and the film advance. Along with camera basics, students learn how to develop film and print pictures using a dark room. The dark room is a room that has a low power light and slim visibility. This is where the printing of the students’ pictures takes place.

    Along with the mechanical aspects of photography, students study its history and well-known photographers. Some of the well-known photographers are as follows: Ansel Adams, Imogen Cunningham, and Dorthea Lange. Photography is not just a class about taking pictures, there are other requirements and fulfillments. Some other things students will be studying are the basic techniques of exposure, lighting and laboratory work using black and white film. Some of the requirements for this class are basic art, one semester of another art class and students must provide a 35mm camera to use. Students will also be required to pay for printing paper and film, but the chemicals used for developing are provided.

I think that this class is very beneficial because it gives students a whole new perspective of the world that surrounds them. I would have never thought that looking at something from different angles would make everything look more unique. Other things that come from this class are a sense of creativity, like asking oneself “how can I take an ordinary old truck and make it look extraordinary?” For example I never would have thought that I could take an old useless rusty truck and make it look so important. Along with making ordinary to extraordinary, I have learned that photography freezes time for that split second it takes capture that certain memory. This is why I think photography is beneficial to students to take in high school.

Pre-College Comp

    Pre-College Comp is a solid introduction to the expectations of college English on a comfortable level.  This class, taught by Ms. Eblen, gives students the opportunity to grow as English students, by introducing new forms of writing as well as a more complex way of looking at literature.

                 Ms. Eblen is one of the sweetest teachers I have ever had!  Her warm heart shines through her teaching, as she offers help and guidance to allow her students to achieve the most they can.  She believes hard work should be rewarded and creative minds should be recognized.  A good week in class by listening and participating was rewarded on Fridays by a simple gesture of treats, such as donuts.  Also, for Christmas, she took our class on a field trip to the S.F. Martin House for a holiday surprise.

                        Although Pre-College Comp is a one-semester class, it covers a broad range of material.  There are weekly vocabulary quizzes throughout the semester as well as a refreshment of grammar usage during the first quarter of class.  Students are offered a wide variety of readings to enhance their respect for writers and different styles.

                 In addition to the readings, students learn many different forms of writing to broaden their skills.  Such writings include character analysis, story summaries and movie reviews.  During the last few weeks of the class, students are introduced on how to write a research paper.  This paper is not as long or as specific as College Comp or other college class papers will be, but it gives a comfortable background on what it takes to write a successful research paper with developed skills in note taking, outline writing, citation and delivery.

                  This is not an easy class.  It challenges your mind to think on a deeper level than previous English classes, but although it is challenging, it is one that is defiantly worth taking.  Imagine yourself 2-3 years down the road, sitting in some big lecture hall at college and you’re instructor asks you to write a research paper.  “A research paper,” you think as your head shoots up to your professor, “What! How does she expect me to know how to do that!?”  Well, lucky for you, you’re prepared.  Every piece of information, knowledge and work taught during Pre-College Comp better prepares students for the challenges and experiences they will receive in the future.  Even if one is not planning on continuing their formal education after high school, this is still a class that should be taken to enhance acceptance for the English language, grammar usage and well-rounded English knowledge; something we will use every day of our life.


    Psychology is a class that will blow your mind. This class is perfect for a person who is interested in how the human brain works, and people’s actions. Psychology is all about the functions of the brain. Mr. Koenck does an excellent job teaching topics ranging from dreams and mental disorders. Everything was taught clearly and in an interesting way. One lesson was over mental disorders. We watched I Am Sam, a movie that showed how a person lived with a brain of seven-year-old. Although it was just a movie, it gave many examples of how someone acts with a mental disorder. Unlike movies watched in other classes, it was comical yet brought tears to the eye. Plus, not a single student’s head was stuck to the desk in a deep slumber.

    Mr. Koenck rarely gave tests or worksheets. The class was mainly discussion, and we wrote papers about disorders and how they affect people. We did many entertaining projects on brain functions and how culture affects the mind. I remember a group project about eating disorders. We used windows moviemaker and made an eight-minute video about eating disorders. Another project was to write a public service announcement, which we read over the intercom during school. My group was assigned the topic of stimulants. Don’t be afraid; the projects aren’t as scary as they seem. Mr. Koenck also gave us plenty of time to work and helped us if we were unsure about a topic. All of the projects helped me understand concepts better and made it easier for me to remember them.

The main thing I enjoyed about the class was class discussion. Mr. Koenck would present us a topic, such as arachnophobia or bulimia. We then became involved, asked questions, and discussed each topic as a class. Everyone in the room was given an opportunity to present examples on the topic.

    Mr. Koenck is also an excellent teacher. He is young and understands that students are busy. I learned if I show him respect he would show me the same. For interesting topics, wild projects, and in-depth discussions led by a top-notch teacher, psychology is the class to take.


    When I took psychology first semester of my junior year with Mr. Wiley, he taught me not only how other people may think, but also how to enhance the quality of my own thinking. I was introduced to the true impact an exceptional teacher could have on the learning capabilities of the student. Mr. Wiley has been known as a “scary” teacher because he is tough and expects excellence from his students, but his bark is worse than his bite. I remember on the first day I had to leave early for a doctor’s appointment. I told him my grandma would be there to pick me up soon, and right after he had explained his policy on cell phones my phone rang loud and clear. Mr. Wiley took pity and gave me a free pass. It was one to the most mortifying experiences of my life.

    As a teacher Mr. Wiley makes his classes challenging, but he is also flexible for the students that are struggling. For instance there where some students struggling with the tests, and he told them if they were truly putting forth an effort he would be willing to give a study packet to guide and help show them an effective way of studying in his classes. Psychology was a fun experience, I learned about many different scholars and philosophers. I found that I could use the information I learned and apply it to real life situations. For instance in a class they may start talking about a philosopher who achieved many things, but because of psychology I would already know extensive information about the philosopher. In psychology we touched on subjects and people I had already wanted to know more about. We didn’t get as far in the class as I had hoped we would because our group had such good discussions and participation in lectures that we ran out of time. I am glad I decided to take the class and I feel like a better student because of seventh period psychology with Mr. Wiley.

 Student Council

          I always considered myself a leader, but after participating in student council for three years, I found my self a proactive, organized person as well. As council  president I can guarantee that anyone who decides to become a member will gain important skills to be used through out life.

                Student council provides a social advantage to all of its members because they are introduced to interest diversity.  Unlike other activities, student council participants are involved in an array of high school components.  Some members choose to concentrate on improving facilities on the high school campus and some feel compelled to increase school spirit.  The broad spectrum of interests allows the members to meet people different from them, and it also teaches everyone to accept other opinions.  Student council has an open environment that anyone can join.

                In student council I have met many new people.  With committees set up every week, I’m forced to rely on new people who are held responsible for a specific event.  These events are impossible for me to do single handedly; therefore, teamwork and reliability are enforced.

                “What doesn’t kills you, makes you stronger” is a popular quote that holds true to student council.  Every week the council faces challenges and decisions.  Sometimes it seems we will never pull through, but somehow our projects prevail.  I personally have given speeches with no preparation, and made late night runs to the grocery store in sacrifice for the success of the council.  But when all is said and done, the second half of the quote comes into play: the council is made stronger. We learn from our mistakes and miscommunication.  The most uplifting moments come when looking back on a great production provided by the student council.

                For me, above all other skills obtained in student council, the improvement with my social and speaking skills has been the most prominent. I have learned to communicate with people of different interests, and I have also improved my speaking skills.  Each meeting as the president, I capture a broad audience; I speak clearly and stay on task.  I know this practice is not only going to help me present projects in college, but it will also carry over to any occupation involving communication.

Study Hall

            The class that has benefited me the most from my brief four-year stay at Atlantic High School is study hall.  That’s right, Study Hall. Not that my other classes haven’t been important, study hall made those classes come together. Study hall allowed me to review for high priority tests and important classes. As a senior, I thought it would be fun to be quality instead of quantity. I chose complicated classes such as Physics and Calculus, just to name a few.  When I had a hundred-point Physics test and a thirty-problem Calculus assignment, I would have been too overwhelmed to finalize reviewing and completing my assignment in one night. Knowing that I have a study hall worth fifty-two minutes helped relieve me.

                Teachers assign projects that must be done outside of class. I didn’t always have time for such assignments. In Physics, Mr. Baier assigned a project to design and build a bridge with a partner. One in-class period was not enough to complete this undertaking, and I was able to utilize this study hall time cutting and preparing for the building of our bridge allowing me to continue my complex after school schedule.

Study hall has benefited me by allowing me to build strong study habits. Before having a study hall in my school schedule I struggled with time management and completing homework. I can now easily manage these little hurdles without missing a thing.  Just last week, I had a project due in my Creative Writing class and had a lot of Calculus to do. With my study skills I developed in study hall was able to complete my project and get most of the Calculus done.

    I believe if study hall helped me, it can benefit you. Study hall helps you accomplish great feats. You can study for tests, complete assignments and help you build strong skills. This is why, in my opinion, the best way to fill your schedule.

AP Government

        In AP Government students utilize the benefits of a dual credit course while better comprehending the framework of our government. Although the thought of taking a college course in high school may be daunting, it’s really not as difficult as it may seem.In AP Government students will learn the history, framework, and inner workings of the United States Government. Throughout the semester students will learn the concepts of all the branches of our government, the founding of the constitution, the amendment process, the amendments themselves, the purposes of the preamble, checks and balances, and more. The class is mainly a lecture class, but is well taught and explained in a way that students will understand. When the class first starts in second semester it will seem difficult, but as students settle into the pace they develop good study habits that will help them throughout the rest of their school years. The hardest part of the class is making time to study rather than the homework. If you are a student who refuses to make time to study then this class is not for you. Taking this class does require a good deal of commitment, but is more than worth it in the end. This class is a one-semester course, and provides students with both college credits and their high school government requirement. The class will also give students a chance to learn how a college class works and adapt to long periods of lecture while developing note-taking skills.

    Taking this course will overall benefit students in more ways than a high school government course would. Students will have a more in-depth understanding of our state and federal governments, and will form new habits that will help in the future. It also helps ease the transition between high school and college through an entertaining and challenging course.

Engineering Drafting

    Engineering Drafting is a fun class that may help students with a future career in a drafting field. Mr. Warne teaches Engineering Drafting. Mechanical Drawing is a prerequisite for this semester long class. In this class we were taught to use Autodesk Inventor. It is a computer-drafting program used by engineers to design parts for whatever they are building.

We started by drawing just the individual pieces in 3D. We learned what all the different buttons did and the easiest and most efficient ways to get things done. We also learned how to make a drawing with these parts showing three different views of it with all the dimensions labeled. Drafters use to do this by hand because they did not have the ability to create a 3D rendering without the computer program. After we all knew how to draw the parts he taught us how to assemble them. We had different projects to do. One of them was a wooden calendar. We drew each individual part for the calendar, then assembled it, and made the drawings to go with it. For another project we had to bring something to draw that had a few moving parts. We had to use a micrometer and measure the parts and draw them. After we had the parts drawn we put it together and made it work. I remember Luke Nelson drew the drive assembly for an old steam locomotive. He even included internal parts such as the valves and pistons that make the wheels move. If we rotated one wheel and the rest of the parts moved as they were supposed to. If a student wanted to go to college to be a drafter taking this class would help greatly in preparing them for what knowledge they will be taught in college.