Posted in Middle/High School

First Place winner for the HS Creative Writing Contest

In The End

By: Cedês Doherty

An excruciating pain racks her body exploding outward from her heart. Its sears her with a white hot fury. It is as if her memory was erased. She knows only the pain. She writhes clutching her chest trying to reach in and pull it out. She feels as though she’s dying as her body curls around itself in defense. The pain intensifies so it is no longer one massive force but thousands upon thousands of red hot pokers relentlessly stabbing into her heart. A cry escapes her lips burning her throat.  

Surely no one can experience such pain and hope to live? Please God make it stop! I will do anything so long as my suffering is ended. I shall welcome death with open arms if it meant the end of this agony.

Suddenly a light the color of blood envelops her. She cannot help but to hope it is the answer to her feverish prays. The light brightens with each passing second. Soon it is so remarkably bright that even with her eyes squeezed shut she cannot escape it. It burns her making the tears she had fought to contain pour forth in salty streams down her cheeks. Yet it continues to intensify until her skin is sizzling. She knows now that it is not her salvation just a new flavor of torment.

Strange noises begin to sound at the edge of her hearing. She strains to listen. Glad to have something to think on that is not her own torture. They sounds have the cadence of words, but it is in no language she has heard before. The words float about her and focusing all her attention on them she is able to push the pain to the back of her mind. They begin to dance and whirl about her. At first watching them wrap about each other is mesmerizing. But when the are so entangled as to be indecipherable a thought strikes her.

Wait . . . sound wasn’t visible. You could not see words that were not written. Could you?

No sooner does the the thought flit across her mind is she flung forward by an unseen force straight into the eye of the crimson beacon. Her body twists and tumbles as she falls through the air. Her stomach jumps into her throat as she is hit with a wave a vertigo. Thankfully her stomach is empty and nothing comes up. The light disappears or has blinded her, she cannot tell which, and she’s captured by darkness. Her descent quickens. Wind batters her from every side making it impossible to tell which direction she is falling. Her tears fall more quickly as the wind whips her eyes. Her chest compresses in fear. Her lungs flatten fighting for every gasping breath. She tries to determine how long she falls but it could have been seconds, days, years and she would not know the difference. Trapped in her vortex of deliverance she once again knows nothing but pain.

With a suddenness that makes her gasp everything stops and she is slammed down on her knees with bruising force. As battered as she is her reflexes fail her and her face smashes into the ground as well. There is a sharp crack and a dull pain pulsing in her nose as blood pours forth. She pushes back up onto her knees and tilts her head back to stop the flow. A moment passes before her brain comprehends that her broken nose and aching knees are the only hurts she feels. The punishing light is gone as well replaced by a soft yellowish glow.

Blinking slowly she looks around assessing her new surroundings. She finds herself in a monstrous cave. It seems to go on forever in all directions save up. Not twenty feet above her hung thousands upon thousands of dangerous looking stalactites. Their sharp points covering the ceiling like a mouth full of deadly canines. She fears the moment they should fall and resolves not to look up again. Red-brown dirt coats the ground and her as well thanks to her fall.

She has no memory of obtaining the knowledge to describe what she is seeing. Thinking on it she realizes she does not remember anything. Not even her own name! The not knowing terrifies her. How could she not know who she was? What had happened to her? What had brought her to this place? She strains to remember back before the red light and her sister pain. She must remember something! However, her efforts are met by a new pain. A pain that charges through her head like a bull with force enough to knock her out. Not a moment later she wakes up to find herself face first in the dirt yet again. She struggles to her feet shaking her head to clear out the cobwebs. Remembering is not worth the pain she decides. She needs to find aid. There must be someone here that can help her. With naught else to do she chooses a direction at random.

And walks . . .

And walks . . .

And walks . . .

She has walked an eternity to no end. With every step she takes the heat increases tenfold until she is sure it will burn her. The ground has already succeeded in cooking her bare feet. Every step is agony as she sets her blister ridden soles to the dirt. Bloody footprints mark her path. Every inch of her skin is covered in sweat. Her hair clings to her back and shoulders where it is not matted in greasy clumps. The humidity and dust combine in her lungs leaving her to choke out every breath. Her mouth is desperately dry without even a hint of saliva to wet her tongue. She is close to despairing. Perhaps she was wrong and there is no one else here. Or maybe she chose wrong and should have gone in another direction. Or worse what if she has been going in circles all this time. She decides to change course. Then it is as if a veil has lifted she is not alone.

No longer is she lost in a desolate cave but surrounded by a crowd of people. She gasps stumbling back in astonishment. The people vary wildly from one another in race, height, age but they are all the same. Every one of them is deathly thin. Their bones strain against the thin layer of flesh covering them. Gaunt faces look about with a blankness in their stare. And they all wear the same rectangular scrap of burlap that covers them neck to thigh with holes cut for their head and limbs. Emptiness and dejection radiates off of them. She knows she will find no help here.

They look even more lost than she feels. Some are wandering about in aimless circles, others laying in the dirt blinking at the ceiling with their mouths hanging open, one man is clutching his knees to his chest and weeping. His sobs are the only sound other than the shuffling of feet and the rasp of her ragged breathing. She wants nothing more than to run from the despondency around her but she cannot ignore the urge to alleviate the man’s sadness. Kneeling in front of him she lays her hand on his shoulder.

“Ser, are you alright?” she asks. His sobbing ceases and he lifts his head to look at her. His eyes are glassy black orbs that seem to emanate darkness. She jerks back and collides with flesh while arms snake around her waist holding her in place. She struggles to free herself and notices the others have congregated around her. They stare at her watching her fight. Her heart beats faster than a hummingbird’s wings pounding like a drum in her chest. A dry cackling sounds in her ear as the arms tighten around her. His arms are less than skin and bones without even a whisper of muscle, yet his hold is as strong as iron.

“Feed on the madness or it feeds on you.” The man singsongs in her ear over and over again. The chant disturbs her more than she can say. The others take up his call swarming around them. They get closer with every word. Their bodies seem to radiate cold instead of heat chilling her to the bone. Her blood runs cold, her breath leaving her in white puffs.

“Feed on the madness or it feeds on you.”

The chant rises in volume until it is the only thing she can hear. It drowns out the pounding of her heart. Her fear is a physical thing. It suffocates her. Smothers her cries for help. Squeezes her heart so tightly it is like to burst. The others reach her then and she gasps in horror. They are not people as she had originally saw but skeletons come to life. Their bones are held together by dried tendons. Their eye sockets gaping holes of death. Their teeth aligned in macabre smiles. As they bear down on her their weight forces her to the ground.

“Feed on the madness or it feeds on you.”

How can the dead talk? Her brain spins trying to make sense of the insanity. The creatures begin to mutilate her. They claw at her with sharpened finger bones shredding her body. Her skin hangs off of her in bloody strips as they tear out chunks of her flesh. They rip out her hair by the handfuls leaving her scalp a gory mess. Her anguish filled screams turn to a strangled groan as they claw out her eyes. She bats at their grasping hands but she has no strength left to her.

“Feed on the madness or it feeds on you.”

Her arms fall weakly to the ground as she loses all hope of escape. Resigned to her fate she stops struggling. She lays in the arm of a monster, being picked apart by his brethren and feels nothing. Her fear died hand in hand with her resistance. What is there to be afraid of when I am already dead? The arms around her no longer feel like restrainment but a lover’s embrace. Comforting hands to help her through her change. What she had thought was ripping and tearing was naught but gentle caresses urging her forward. When the others finish their ministrations they back away. The arms around her help her to rise. Looking down at herself she sees that she is now as fleshless as her friends. Her skull falls back as she laughs with joy answering their calls.

“Feed on the madness or it feeds on you.”

 

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Posted in Middle/High School

Don’t Miss Out

By: Tyler Hailston

Concert season is upon us and time is running out! There are different genres of music on display in Upstate New York all summer. Good vibes and positive energy is a huge part of the atmosphere at these summer concerts. It’s something most people should experience at some point in their life. Why not experience it with a summer lineup like this?

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Posted in Middle/High School

13 Reasons Why

By: Emily Jackson

It seems like every year there is a new TV show that blows up on the internet. In the beginning of April the Netflix original TV series 13 Reasons Why was that show; everyone was watching it. It was released on Netflix on March 31st. You may not know this about the show, but Selena Gomez is one of the co-producers.  

13 Reasons Why is about a young girl named Hannah Baker, played by Katherine Langford, who was bullied in highschool and she kills herself. A young boy that was in love with her named Clay Jensen, played by Dylan Minnette, finds a box containing thirteen tapes inside. He later finds out that they are tapes from Hannah explaining why she killed herself and who caused it. Each tape is directed at a different person and they each have a connection as to why Hannah did it. Clay goes through many different emotions during the show listening to the tapes. Netflix posted all thirteen episodes at once, some people say they did this so you either had to listen to the tapes all at once like Alex or slowly like Clay. The Netflix series was originally a book written by Jay Asher. There is a second season coming out in 2018.

Posted in Middle/High School

Blood Drive

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On May 24th 2017, Herkimer High School hosted a blood drive with the American Red Cross. Krissy VanHorn of the ARC was interviewed to get some more details about the program and her time involved.

Carney : How long have you been involved in American Red Cross?

VanHorn: I’ve been with ARC for 24 years.

 

Carney: What has made you stay for so long, and why did you choose this career?

Vanhorn: I love the mission, we help save lives. That’s a great feeling. We’re always helping people. I have never needed blood myself, but I’ve known people that needed transfusions. People have said they feel like they’ve been brought a new life, when they can finally breathe right.

 

Carney: Do you only stay in this area?

VanHorn: We do travel around central New York, but we originated from the Liverpool

area. Just last week we traveled to Albany, so we don’t stick to just CNY.

 

Carney : What advice would you give to someone who would want to take on this career path?

VanHorn: We are always meeting new people. Everyday is a new place. If you’re a person who likes constant movement and change, you might like this.

 

Carney: You said you’ve been here 24 years, what’s a noticeable change you’ve seen?

VanHorn: Definitely technology. We used to only use paper and now almost everything we do is on computers.

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Carney: Is it easier with the new technology from when you first got into the career?

VanHorn: The computers are a help, I can say It’s definitely more proficient for us.

 

Carney: Lastly, what has surprised you about this career?

VanHorn:  That I’d be here this long! You don’t think about that when you first start. When I got into the ARC, I never gave much thought to the amount of time I’d be here, I was always focused on present.

Posted in Middle/High School

Seniors

By Emily Jackson

The Journalism class asked the senior class what their favorite memory of high school was, and what their future plans are.  The following are the results:

Name: Cassie Pontius
What is your favorite High School memory:
Sub-30-ing for the first time senior year on the home cross country course with a 29:59:99.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.):
Attending Hamilton 4 year college.
Name: Tyler Hailston
What is your favorite High School memory:
Braxton puking in my car.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.):
HCCC, for Business Administration
Name: James Huyck
What is your favorite High School memory: Food fight in 10th grade.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): to become a social studies teacher.
Name: Codi Gay
What is your favorite High School memory: When Shayna body slammed the Canastota vending machine and broke the glass.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): HCCC for accounting/playin volleyball.
Name: Gianna Bambara
What is your favorite High School memory: The waterballoon fights at the end of every year in the parking lot.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.):  I plan to attend the university at Buffalo for occupational therapy.
Name: John Chimento
What is your favorite HIgh School memory: Winning golf sectionals in 7th grade.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): Go to college and be a psychiatrist.
Name: Tyler Rood
What is your favorite High School memory: When Devon Everson was being dumb and ran through the vending machine.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): SUNY IT, for forensic investigator.
Name: Gabrielle Tangorra
What is your favorite High School memory: End of the year kareoke in Meininger’s room.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): St. John Fisher College to major in English.
Name: Amelia Whitney
What is your favorite High School memory: Skipping with my friends on lunch and not coming back.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): Going to HCCC for two years then moving to Missouri.
Name: Ariana Janes
What is your favorite High School memory: Taking sick days so I didn’t have to be here.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): MVCC for digital animation, continue on in Austin, Texas at the Art Institutes. Hope to animate 3D figures for video games.
Name: Kyle Smith
What is your favorite High School memory: When Anthony Lupino got hit by a car from Jake Wheet
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): Go to MVCC for psychology then-transfer somewhere to get my masters then grad school for sports psychology.
Name: Kimmie Buckley
What is your favorite High School memory: This, this paper right now. Just kidding, eating all the foods.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): I am going to Herkimer for Human Services.
Name: James Putecci
What is your favorite High School memory: Everything I love highschool.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): Go to law school.
Name: Antonio Aceto
What is your favorite High School memory: Hanging out with some good friends.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): College at HCCC, then transfer to finish my major at SUNY Cortland.
Name: Kyler Ford
What is your favorite High School memory: When the 4×400 team beat Clinton in outdoor track.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): College at HCCC and the SUNY Cortland.
Name: Brian Mula
What is your favorite High School memory: Sophomore year of Baseball.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): Attend Herkimer College and major in Business Administration.
Name: Alyssa Felshaw
What is your favorite High School memory: Skipping school with my friends.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): Ging to HCCC and then eventually moving somewhere other than here.
Name: Shayana Crandall
What is your favorite High School memory: Fires at Elise’s, volleyball 2015/2016, washington DC
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): HCCC and transfer to St. Rose for Art Education and/or English Education
Name: Antonio Mowa
What is your favorite High School memory: Scoring a halftime goal during a game.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): HCCC for PE/coaching.
Name: Brennon White
What is your favorite High School memory: Bowling season earlier this year.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): HCCC for now, probably transfer to another school after. Work while in college.
Name: Angelica Hunko
What is your favorite High School memory: Hanging out with my friends.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): College.
Name: Katelyn Henrickson
What is your favorite High School memory: Going to the gym, being at the gym, and playing volleyball.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): College.
Name: Morgan Rivers
What is your favorite High School memory: The musicals.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): SUNY Delhi
Name: Gina Baggetta
What is your favorite High School memory: The musicals.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): HCCC.
Name: Maddie Renshaw
What is your favorite High School memory: After winter weekend
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): Going to college then getting a job.
Name: Alyssa Miller
What is your favorite High School memory: After winter weekend.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): College and work.
Name: Andrew Boyles
What is your favorite High School memory: Leaving Shayna at weekend for a “lemonade”.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): SUNY Delhi for Architecture.
Name: Elise Davis
What is your favorite High School memory: All the soccer team dinners.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): I’m attending Utica College studying Psychology; child life.
Name: Brandan Parks
What is your favorite High School memory: My favorite high school memory was definitely our choir trip to Toronto.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): My future plans are to attend Nazareth college to major in Music/Business
Name: Jasmine Beach
What is your favorite High School memory: Having art class with Ms. McCutcheon.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): Going to HCCC for Fine Arts. No, I don’t know what I want to do yet.
Name: Trey Guyer
What is your favorite High School memory: Petucci, Eating, Mount Markham.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): College.
Name: Andrew Rathbun
What is your favorite High School memory: Going to the final four in Basketball.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): Coast Guard then College.
Name: Gio Servello
What is your favorite High School memory: Doubling up as a senior while being a junior.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): General Studies at Herkimer College.
Name: Kyle Long
What is your favorite High School memory:
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): SUNY Poly for Civil Engineering.
Name: Derek Newman
What is your favorite High School memory: My junior year of Basketball, wicked fun season. All the memories I’ve made with my bro’s, you know who you are.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): Attending College at HCCC, planning on helping with family car business.
Name: Nick Ferri
What is your favorite High School memory: Winning a league title in Basketball.
What are your future plans (college/workforce/trade school/etc.): Pursuing a Pharm.D at Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
Posted in Middle/High School

Art Grant

By: Emily Johnson

IMG_6408On May 17, Mrs. McCutcheon’s Art and Sculpture classes attended a special field trip to the Little Falls Canal. In order for Herkimer students to go on this trip, Mrs. McCutcheon wrote a grant proposal and eventually got approved for nearly $3,000 in grant money and the total grant adding up to over $10,000. She came up with the idea of urban sketching, she thought that it was an awesome idea to bring students to paint with watercolor and sketch in their sketchbooks that were handed to them.

The special art guest, Mrs. Shuster, provided sketchbooks to the students, watercolor palettes, and pencils and pens. First, the art students found a nice spot to sit, where they could sketch out the scenery in their sketchbooks at Ole Sal’s.  Mrs. Mccutcheon and her sculpture students worked together with the West Canada art class in a Google Classroom. To do this trip Mrs. McCutcheon needed to talk to and get help from the two art teachers, Mrs. Shuster, Mrs. Wilmarth, and the Mohawk Valley Art Center. They worked together to get an idea, a summary, and a step by step plan with a budget. They had to put down every person’s time that would go into this project. Mrs. Shuster went around and talked and looked at everyone’s art. She was very happy and excited to be here.

One of the many places the group went to was Benton’s Landing. The view from where we were was amazing. Nathaniel Benton came to Little Falls as a War of 1812 veteran and opened a law office here in 1819.

The Journalism students that went on this trip interviewed some of the Art students.

Maria Humble said, “Yes it’s very different than the classroom. You can get more detail when you draw in person. You see everything better and more clearly.” Maria liked the idea of this trip; it was something different and she  got out of school. She was also excited about having to make the drawing into sculptures. She thinks making the sculptures are the easy part.

Maria’s sister, Johanna, said, “Being outside talking real life things and drawing them is a lot better compared to in the classroom.”  Maria finds it easier when going off of a picture then in person, she loved the idea of the trip she liked sitting out in the sun and sketch what she wants. She thinks it’s cool seeing how something goes from a 2D object to 3D.

We also asked James Huyck some of the same questions and he said, “I enjoy it very much, I believe it’s necessary for people to enjoy art in their everyday life.” We asked him what made him decide what to draw. “We were given the opportunity to draw art history at this site in Little Falls. The tree could be here forever but the building won’t be.” We asked him what he usually likes to sketch and which was better drawing or sculpting.  “Mirror Lake is where I usually sketch for scenery. Drawing seems to be easier, but sculpting seemed to help learn/teach easier.”

Posted in Elementary School

The Blocks vs. Period Debate

Written by: Tyler Hailston, Nicole Jordan, James Huyck, Emily Jackson, Eric Carney

Currently, the Herkimer Jr. High operates on a period schedule and the Sr. High School operates on a block schedule. It has been decided that, beginning next school year, we will switch to a school-wide period schedule. This change will affect a high school students schedule by having nine 42 minute classes per day, instead of four 82 minute classes per day, plus lunch. The HHS Journalism Class recently conducted an anonymous survey for students and teachers grades 8-12 regarding the proposed change in our schedule.

 

The following are the results of the student survey:

  • 32 students in grades 8-12, who responded, are in favor of moving to periods
  • 177 students in grades 8-12, who responded, are in favor of staying with blocks.

 

Students were asked to explain why they wanted either blocks or periods.

Those students who were in favor of periods said the following:

 

“I don’t remember what I did two days ago when I have blocks. The day goes faster with shorter classes. I get all my homework done the first day. Sitting in class for 80 minutes is boring.”

“I don’t think I would be able to fully concentrate for 80 minutes.”

“You get to see the same teacher every day.”

“I have blocks and it makes the day go by really slow.”

“When I have homework for more than one day I will be a procrastinator and forget to do my homework. It would be frustrating.”

“Periods are less confusing.”

“I am used to periods. More classes per day. I don’t want 80 minute study halls.”

“Many kids can’t focus on one class for 80 minutes.”

“You could remember more information if you hear it daily.”

“I can’t pay attention in one class for 80 minutes.”

“If you are absent with periods, you have less work to catch up on.”

 

Teachers were also surveyed. Of the 30 who responded, 14 were in favor of the periods.  The following are some of the teachers’ comments, in favor of moving to periods:

“I have been teaching in periods for several years now – student’s attention during the class period and retention in the next day’s class period is better.”

“Seeing students everyday will allow less material to be covered at once and more retention of material will occur. Plus, when a student is out, they will miss less material.”

“Especially for struggling students, smaller but more frequent doses of material is more effective than larger, further apart. 24 hours is long enough to remember how; 48 hours is long enough to remember to forget how.”

“Easier for students to stay focused for entire class –  80 minutes is a long time to stay dialed in.”

“With middle school students, attention span in short periods works better to see them daily and briefly.”

“Periods because we will have every class every single day.”

“Daily contact with students. Fits better with students’ attention span.” “Prefer to see students every day.”

“It works better to see them daily and briefly.”

“Kids more focused. Day goes by fast.”

 

The students who voted for the blocks had many different responses. Those in favor said the following:

“I don’t have to do all my homework in one night and it’s too much info [with periods] for one day.”

“The teachers won’t try to rush through lesson plans and will take their time in class.”

“It gives students the opportunity to receive help on their days off from a certain class.”

“You will have a higher failing percentage due to having homework due every day.”

“Students won’t have any time to see teachers for extra help, and will be overloaded with homework.  If you think failure rates are high now, wait till we switch to periods.”

“In my classes, it provides me the opportunity to complete more work on time, homework is due every other day, and the day goes by quicker with only four classes, making it easier to put forth 100% effort.”

“There is more time per day to focus on each class.  There are two days to do your homework, so if one is busy with sports or other activities they have time to do it.”

“I like to spend a little more time on a unit because we could possibly be studying and then be interrupted [with periods] and have to wait.”

“Periods are too short and unreasonable. The adjustment is not fair to upcoming seniors.”

“More time to learn, can go further in depth.”

“We get more time to talk about what we are learning about.  Also, it’s getting us ready for college.”

“I don’t want to have the same classes every day.”

“We have more time to cover material, also we wouldn’t have to rush through the subject.”

“I’d rather have an 80 minute study hall to do homework. I usually have to help my mom around the house.”

“For longer study halls because I can’t concentrate at home.”

“In my mind, blocks make the day seem to go by faster and after adopting to blocks it will be a tough transition to periods.Periods will negatively affect lab class, all art classes, and some math classes”

“Blocks allow for more streamlined lesson plans and a more attentive lesson. If 5 minutes are spent quieting kids down 2 minutes are spent doing attendance, and 3 getting the lesson/ lab setup then there’s only 30 minutes for kids to learn and comprehend the information. That’s being generous and not taking into account to explain to individual kids the lesson if they don’t understand.”

 

Along with the student comments, 16 teachers were in favor of blocks. Here are some of their responses:

 

“Less wasted time reiterating. Depth of discussions. Exposure time.  Less wasted migration time.  Writing time. Single day tests. Instruct → show → do → fix → do; No time for that in periods.”

 

“Time for me to present info to students and time for students to use that info in their work. Otherwise, they forget by next class.”

“We are supposed to do hands-on, projects based learning.  Periods do not allow set-up time for that many classes in one day or enough time to complete activities.  Many Science labs cannot be done in one period.”

“Blocks allow for more time to dive deeper into the content that is being taught and students to synthesize information with greater understanding.”

“With the classes I teach, art, students need a fair amount for material distribution, practice, application, and clean up of supplies.”

“More uninterrupted time for projects, group work, technology, hands on activities.”

 

According to the survey, students seem more in favor of blocks, but the teachers are almost at an even split. There are many studies regarding block and period scheduling; some support blocks over periods, while other studies support periods over blocks. Our survey indicates the overall preference, but whether the school continues with blocks or periods, we know that student success will be the top priority.

 

Posted in Elementary School

Are 6th Graders Ready for Junior High?

By: Tyler Hailston, James Huyck, Eric Carney, Emily Jackson and Nicole Jordan

The Herkimer Central School District is currently structured with the 6th graders as part of the Elementary School. However, the Herkimer Elementary School is slowly running out of space to fit all of the K-6 students, so it has been proposed that the 6th graders be moved to the High School. The proposal that the 6th graders move to the High School generates many questions, including: Is there enough classroom space? Will the maturity rate of the 6th graders increase? And how will we keep the 6th graders separate from the high schoolers? The Journalism class decided to meet with Superintendent Mr. Miller to discuss the topic.

 

Teachers at the High School also have their own opinions about bringing the sixth graders up the Jr./Sr. High School. Based on a quick survey, it seems that  many of the teachers have doubts about this change.  One teacher expressed concerns about classroom space. When we brought this up to Mr. Miller, he said that we actually have more space in the High School, but it is still undecided as to what part of the school the 6th grade classrooms and lockers will be located in.  Additionally, Miller said moving the students to the High School will also allow the kids to have more opportunities and electives available. For instance, students will be able to join more clubs at the high school than are currently available at the elementary school. Some of the electives that the 6th graders could choose from may include foreign languages, health, art, and even online courses. If the 6th graders do become part of the high school, they will not be able to participate in the school sports teams until they are in 7th grade.

 

One teacher who was not comfortable with the idea said she was concerned that the transition would shorten the 6th graders’ childhoods.  The University of North Carolina School of Medicine says that introducing kids at a younger age to a more mature atmosphere may cause problems including the introduction to drugs, bullying, depression, and possible sexual situations. These problems could have major effects of the welfare of the children. However,  Mr. Miller believes children already grow up at a faster rate due to strong advances in technology. He also believes that the younger kids will be separated enough from the upperclassmen, and that more mature relationships and actions are caused by mixing diverse ages, which will be avoided.
Miller also clarified this is only speculation because many other things need to go into the process to make this possible. He would like to see this transition completed as early as September of 2018.