Eighth grade students at Canyon Creek and Jemtegaard Middle Schools in Washougal are preparing for success at high school and in the real world through two differently focused programs. Both are designed to make students stretch personally as they develop new skills and a broader understanding of society and themselves.
|Hana Nekvapil, CCMS 8th grader, enjoyed her work helping raise research funds for conditions such as scoliosis at the Doernbacher's Child Annual Spring Brunch Auction at the Hilton Vancouver.|
"Students come away from this experience with the realization there is more out there in life than they thought," said Pete Forgey, CCMS 8th grade Social Studies teacher. "They benefit from the experience of working with new people and come away knowing it isn't so scary out there. Students also realize that there are people who need help, and they can help them. "
According to Forgey the most significant source of accomplishment of these projects is the public speaking component. "They have to stand in the gym with a microphone and speak to a large audience of parents and peers. They practice and practice, and in the end say, 'Wow, I did it!' It probably overrides everything else in the project in terms of personal growth. I've not lost a student yet," Forgey teased.
|By volunteering at the Jack, Will and Rob Center, CCMS 8th grader, Levi McDonald, helped kids be active to support this study topic of preventing childhood obesity.|
Morgan Goetz found an interest in homelessness and helping families in need, handing out food with his church outreach group. "It really gave me quite a different perspective on life," Goetz explained. "Homeless people are just like us, except they had a crisis or something bad come down in their life. They are not all on drugs. Many are families." Goetz said he plans to keep volunteering with his church.
Over the past three years, Hana Nekvapil has been treated at Shriner's Hospital every six months for her severe scoliosis. Her research project allowed her to learn more about the disease and its treatment. Nakvapil's community service was helping with the Doernbacher's Child Annual Spring Brunch Auction at the Hilton Vancouver. She assembled auction baskets, labeled them and worked at the event. "It felt really good to help others by raising money for research," Nekvapil said.
For the JMS 8th grade project, students work over six weeks and investigate a potential career. "We are giving students a chance to explore the possibility of their dreams," said Anna Linde, JMS 8th grade Language Arts teacher.
Students must complete a research paper about a career and what it takes to become qualified, create a PowerPoint presentation and then present what they have learned to their peers. The work is outlined in a project guide and is modeled after work that will be expected of them in high school. They research using books, web and interviews with people working in their area of interest.
"Some students get very excited about their career direction and can start making high school course decisions based on what they've learned they will need. And some, after taking a closer look, realize this is not something they want to do with their life. Both are important things to learn," Linde pointed out.
|CCMS 8th grader Mark Calderone studied habitat restoration and volunteered at the Steigerwald Natural Refuge planting and protecting trees.|
Students also discover many different types of educational opportunities other than traditional college like trade schools, internships, and training as an apprentice. Some careers studied included police officer, marine biologist, stunt man, underwater welder and anesthesiologist.
Lauren Scott chose to look at novelist as a career. "I was surprised at how little they actually make," she said. "It is actually a hard job and most people that do this also have a second job."
"I was surprised as how much police officers need to know to do their job properly," said Avery M. Chan about his research into police work. "You see them pulling people over on television but you have no sense for what it really takes for them to do their job like all the detailed reporting."
Both Chan and Scott are still interested in pursuing the careers they studied and both agree that now they have a better idea of what they need to do to prepare as they take the next steps into their high school education.