SHINGLEHOUSE — In a Potter County schools series, kicking off this week — National Public Schools Week — each district shares what makes theirs distinctive; in Oswayo Valley, high school students still take part in traditional electives.
In spite of the trend to eliminate such classes nationwide, arts and humanities, family consumer sciences and technical education are among the variety of specialty electives offered to OV high school students.
“Many schools have gotten rid of them,” High School Principal Julie Hall said. “We’re very lucky to have all of these opportunities.”
Wood shop and mechanical drawing are part of the technical education electives taught by Jon Anderson.
“We try to push them to see the finer details and teach them skills that will help them be better problem solvers down the road,” Anderson said.
Students enrolled in these classes have heard guest lectures by building and trade teachers from post-secondary schools and have gone on field trips to places like the Carpenter Shop in Ulysses. Creations by students taking tech ed have included shelves, tool boxes, bedside tables and baseball bats. Freshman Avaree Kellert has been building a bench this school year. Kellert said she enrolled because her dad is a contractor and her older siblings all took Wood Shop before her.
“It’s one of my favorite classes,” Kellert said.
Sometimes students take requests for their tech ed projects; Colton Gietler, a senior, built a shelving unit for OV Support Staff Member Amber Costello. Gietler said Costello gave him the measurements and a general idea in October; he designed and built the unit himself, using pine and maple woods and starting from the outside and working in. Gietler said the masterpiece should be done by the end of March.
Anderson said Gietler has continued to be part of technology education since completing the mandatory three years in junior high school. He has had four years of woods class and two years of mechanical drawing.
“Colton has shown dedication and drive towards learning as well as focus and attention to detail,” Anderson said. “Colton plans to pursue a career in civil engineering. As a teacher, I am hopeful that I can keep my classes relevant to all students whether those pursuing a college degree or those immediately entering the workforce after graduation. Colton has made this job easier, due to his motivation for learning. I am very excited to see what Colton will do in his future endeavors.”
Another elective outlet for creativity is art. Lynzie Rinamon teaches this subject and is the advisor for the arts and humanities club.
“All good schools want to provide the most engaging and diverse activities they can for the benefit of their students, and that’s what we do at OV,” Rinamon said. “The arts are only one part of the rich academic experience at this school, but they are an incredible piece of our success Research supports the academic, emotional, and social benefits that the arts have on students. Our children are a reflection of our community; our students, their families, our faculty, our administration and our community all support our students and their arts endeavors because they know the value these experiences hold for our children.”
Rinamon said nearly all of the students taking art classes, which include 3D art, drawing and painting, as well as graphic design and photography, are members of the A&H club. Club members have gone on field trips to New York City, the Corning Museum of Glass, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and plan to go to Ohio this year. Sophomore Alyssa Frair said she liked the trip to Corning, where they all got to make flowers from glass.
“I like sharing different experiences,” Frair said.
All art students have access to a full ceramic kiln for 3D art and a full darkroom for photography. Seniors who take all of the art classes available to them during their underclassmen years, are given the option to enroll in a portfolio art class, where they have free range of whatever types of art they want to pursue.
Creativity isn’t limited to wood and art however; Megan Moshier teaches family and consumer sciences.
“Family and consumer sciences is a versatile subject area that teaches many important and useful tasks,” Moshier said. ““According to the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, it is the ‘field of study focused on the science and the art of living well in our complex world.’Students who have the opportunity to participate in family and consumer sciences classes, like those at Oswayo Valley School District, are better prepared for futures of independence in their homes, families, careers and communities.”
Previously known as home economics, FCS course topics include personal finances (budgeting, price comparison shopping, etc.) child development, nutrition, cooking/baking, interior design, balancing work and family and sewing. Students enrolled in FCS have taken field trips to cabinet and furniture stores, daycares and the Alfred State Culinary program as well as created course-related projects, such as scale models of a room and making blankets. For personal finance, students participate in life-like simulations and are given “it could happen to you” scenarios to consider, such as getting a new pet, acquiring an inheritance, losing a job, having a baby, etc.
Junior/senior high school students taking electives also have access to two new 3-D printers and utilize SolidWorks — a Computer Aided Design software.