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The Geyser

Independent studies allow students to personalize learning

Kae DeVries doesn’t have an official independent study, but she spends her free period in Mrs. Mussetter’s classroom making art projects. She is currently working on a screen printed hoodie and has done six projects this semester. Her favorite has been a colored pencil and alcohol marker piece. DeVries plans to continue along the art path after high school. “I can’t see myself not doing art in the future,” DeVries explained.

On the other side of the school, Warren Lee spends his time in the wood shop. Currently Lee is building a custom truck bed camper for his truck, which has quickly become his favorite project. He explains that he likes construction and thinks “it’s cool to have a tiny camper to hunt with and have on hand.”

William Tyner has chosen to use his independent study to explore different religions and their beliefs. He wants to observe the way religion affects different people’s thoughts and actions and compare it to his and the community’s thoughts and actions. His favorite project so far has been when he sent out a survey to gauge student’s knowledge of Buddhism, the religion Tyner was studying at the time. Tyner recalls “I got back a lot of interesting answers that make you think.”
Tyner took on this task because he’s “always been fascinated with religion and beliefs, and wanted to gain more knowledge on the topic.” Tyner hasn’t decided yet, but believes he might pursue religious history in college.

Vikki Gasparakis has run out of English classes that she wants to take, so she decided “why not make my own?” Gasparakis writes research papers about topics that interest her. Right now, she’s working on a paper in which she compares the book Emma by Jane Austen to the movie “Clueless”. Gasparakis plans to write another paper about politicians and their strategy of tearing each other down versus building their own campaigns. She hopes to major in political science, write for fun, and maybe even publish her own book one day.

Gloria Lynch, on the other hand, uses her independent study as her normal class time. She takes all of her main courses, like English, Math, and Science, online, so she can take electives at school. Lynch’s sister did the same thing and had a good experience with classes and friends. Lynch expresses that it is a hassle, but it’s worth it to spend time with her friends. “It’s nice to sleep in, but it does mean there are no sick days for me,” she said. She would like to attend college in person, in the future, but it wouldn’t be too big a deal if she had to do it online, as she’s already used to it.

Logan Hawthorne is using his independent study to take two online AP classes, right now he’s studying for upcoming tests. He got into these classes because he lost a bet with a friend, but despite this, Hawthorne still thinks taking the classes is worth the trouble. He doesn’t think he’ll be taking any online classes after high school, though.

Taking the musical route, is Brinley Halland, who spends his independent study time practicing his drumming skills. Halland describes drumming as his passion, and is absolutely going to do something like this outside of high school. He even built his own drum set!

Cole Hawthorne, like Lee, spends his time in the wood shop. Hawthorne just finished up a bowl he made on the lathe, which was his favorite project he’s made so far. He took this class because he’d “rather work with wood than take an art class,” and isn’t quite sure yet if he wants to continue working with wood past high school.

Terry Gasparakis is also taking online classes; AP Biology, AP US History, and AP Government, though his favorite of the three is AP Government. He studies in the D-Pod, and is doing it because he wants college credit in those classes. Gasparakis believes that “if you’re dedicated enough, it’s worth all the effort because it saves a lot of money,” though he doesn’t want to do any online school in college.

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