Washington Middle School eighth grader Madison Walker-Blake helped her teammates, Charles Thomas and Jacklynn Wick, present their "Pocket Cop" advertising campaign in Jason Williams's English Language Arts class.
Student teams brainstormed ideas for a new product to "sell" to their classmates. The purpose of the assignment was to teach students about persuasive speaking. Students highlighted positive aspects of their product, moved the focus off of flaws their product might have for the consumer, and left audiences with an appealing outlook on their new gadget. Products ranged from an energy drink to wedgie-proof underwear. Many of the ELA skills used during this project were developed during their middle school years.
"I love English. I'm never bored when I write or read," Madison said. "I particularly like poetry and don't understand why a lot of kids don't like it. Poetry is such a great way to express your feelings. I'm looking forward to taking some of the English classes at JHS like creative expressions and the poetry workshop. I've also heard about the Poetry Out Loud competition and I think that would be fun to try too. I plan to got to college and hope to become a writer."
Katie Andalora, an eighth-grader at Jefferson Middle School, is a budding artist.
Madison, who is not only an exceptional student, but has participated in soccer, softball, yearbook club, Honor Society, chorus and band while at Washington Middle School, is really looking forward to moving up to Jamestown High School.
"I was in the JHS marching band as an eighth-grader playing percussion, and it was such a great experience. I met a lot of upperclassmen who have been really kind to me and I think it will make my transition to JHS even easier."
Madison is one of hundreds of exceptional Jamestown Public Schools eighth-graders who will be making the transition from middle school to high school in the fall. Many of the eighth grade students are academic stars; others are exceptional athletes, talented artists or budding musicians. Some are worried about getting lost at the high school and others are nervous about the amount of work at the high school level. But all are excited and looking forward to the many opportunities offered at Jamestown High School.
The eighth-graders will experience a greater diversity of teachers and peers, but they will also have many choices in their academic and extracurricular activities. JHS offers more than 150 courses in any given school year with the largest variety of advanced placement and college-credit courses in the region. With an outstanding music department, unmatched athletics program and unique opportunities like the Raymond J. Fashano Technology Academy and VideoWorks program, incoming eighth-graders will have every opportunity to pursue their interests and fulfill their graduation requirements.
Katie Andalora, an eighth-grader at Jefferson Middle School, is a budding artist.
"I love creating my own artwork," said Katie, who will take Studio Art II at JHS as a freshman because of her artistic abilities. "I'm looking forward to taking as many different art electives as I can such as photography and computer graphics. There are so many art classes that it will help me figure out what direction to take and find my art niche."
While at Jefferson, Katie participated in soccer, basketball, track, Honor Society, yearbook club, student council, chorus and colorguard. She knows when she gets to JHS she will have to make choices.
"I plan to play soccer and basketball, but I'm hoping to also sing in mixed chorus and hopefully a cappella," she said. "I would like to go to college and major in an art-related field, possibly to become an art teacher."
The work in high school builds on what students learned in middle school, giving them a more advanced knowledge of many academic subjects. Students may find they have more work or that it's more challenging. But these challenges can help them find a new appreciation for biology or discover a passion for literature.
Science is Persell Middle School eighth-grader Kristin Peterson's current interest. She learned about hydraulic fracturing in Mike Swenson's science class and has been advocating against it happening in Jamestown. Her interest in science could be enhanced at JHS through advanced placement courses in the areas of environmental science, biology, chemistry or physics.
"We heard about fracturing in the news and watched a video," said Kristin, who is a member of Honor Society, soccer, basketball and track at Persell. She plans to focus on basketball at JHS. "I have written letters to Sen. Schumer, Gov. Cuomo and County Executive Greg Edwards about the potential negative affects this can have on our community," she said.
Kristin's passion also extends to ancient civilizations like Rome and Egypt, which she studied in social studies. Her career goal is to become an archeologist.
"I love ancient cultures. I am taking AT global studies next year but hopefully will take AP history courses at JHS too," she said. "I'm also interested in taking photography just because it seems like a cool course to try and might be a good skill to have as an archeologist."
Washington Middle School eighth-grader Lorenzo Rodriguez is a member of Honor Society, football, track and wrestling team, the newspaper club and a percussionist in the Washington band. Lorenzo also holds a job as a newspaper carrier for The Post-Journal, which he delivers before school every day.
"I'm deciding now which activities to be involved in at JHS. Possibly marching band, football or wrestling," Lorenzo said. "I will be taking AT English and AT global history along with my other courses, so I want to be sure I have time for my schoolwork and activities. I love social studies and history in general, so I'm looking forward to some of those upper level courses. But, I'm also interested in taking courses at the technology academy in mechanics as I love figuring out how engines and bikes work. I'm planning on going to college when I graduate."
Lorenzo's interest in mechanics could be fulfilled with a course in small engine or motorcycle maintenance and repair, robotics engineering or manufacturing technology.
Jefferson Middle School eighth-grader Zachary Ricker is interested in the music field, possibly a music teacher. He is well on his way to that goal as a member of the Jefferson band as a percussionist, talented pianist, organist and composer. He was chosen for all-county band and will be a member of the JHS concert band, which is an honor for a ninth grader. At Jefferson, he is also a member of Honor Society, student advisory board and plays the steel drums in the Infinity music program.
"I'm looking forward to all the different choices in classes I will have at JHS," said Zachary, who will be taking accelerated coursework in geometry, global studies and English next year. " I'm also really looking forward to concert band and marching band. I think being part of the marching band with practices over the summer will help me meet new friends before I begin high school."
Zachary's musical interest could find him in a music theory or business of music class.
Persell Middle School eighth-grader Terry Hinman has overcame obstacles in his life but his positive, can-do attitude has helped him thrive both academically and in athletics. Terry participates in cross-country and track and is currently a member of the JHS varsity swim team.
"I loved middle school. There are so many different types of people at Jamestown schools and the teachers are so nice," Terry said. "I like being challenged, so I am looking forward to going to the high school. I really enjoy writing. If I have a topic I'm interested in, I can write forever. I also love science and can't wait to take some of the cool courses at JHS. I am going to continue to swim at JHS but know I need to concentrate on my studies too. I want to work at my highest level, and I know the classes at JHS will help me get to my goal of going to college and hopefully become a police officer to save lives and help others."
Terry's interests could be enhanced with one of many 12-grade English electives such as comedy in literature or beasts in books, or possibly a science elective like physical geology.
JHS will hold a freshman orientation in late August. All parents will be mailed a schedule of dates. The orientation is an opportunity for students to gain an overview of high school expectations and to spend time with their high school counselor. In addition, it is a time for students to get their actual schedule so they can walk around the building as often as they need too, learning where their classes are prior to the first day of school. It is also a time for the Class of 2015 to alleviate some of their "getting lost" nerves and embark on their new high school adventure.