My name is Devynn and I’m in the 9th grade. I really like going to CEC and how my school day is filled with such variety. In fact, that’s one of the best things about school here—your day is never dull. Each day things run just a bit differently, so in the beginning it was a little confusing to figure out the schedule, but now that I’ve got it down, it’s fun and makes learning interesting.
We have two different kinds of days in our week: Blue days and Gold days and that’s how we know which classes to attend. This means that we don’t have every class every day and that we get to spend more time in each class so that we don’t have to switch classes just when we’re getting into a lesson. I think it’s a good way to learn.
Here’s what my day is like:
Blue Days (Monday, Wednesday and every other Friday)
Mondays and Wednesdays are blue days and I start with Geometry first thing in the morning. Ms. Fant is our teacher and she’s really nice. When we get into class we’re all still a bit asleep so Ms. Fant warms us up into the class by talking about the math videos we’ve watched online at home. Her class is a little different that way because she’s done something new that most other teachers haven’t done. She says she’s “flipped” her classroom, which in a nutshell means we do our homework in class and learn the lessons at home by watching the different educational videos she has posted online on her blog. The videos go in order and cover whatever topic we’re working on. The reason she does this is so that we really get the attention we need from her when we’re working on complex math problems. I like her style of teaching because it’s so much better than getting home and opening up your book and getting stuck on the problems you learned about in class and not having any help to get your homework done.
I love Ms. Gojara’s class. Besides my career classes it’s one of my favorites. I love science and she makes it really fun because she jokes with us, but we always get our work done. In class we usually do an activity and she works us through it, step-by-step so we don’t go off and get confused in any way, so it’s really kind of awesome. Right now we’re learning about evolution and natural selection and the processes with which that happens. We did this experiment where we had these little tiny colored pieces of paper. Ms Gojara set these pieces of paper out on the table and we had to grab as many as possible from the table. Once we grabbed a handful, we had to calculate the population of each color. Then, since there would be new “babies” born, creating a new generation, we had to multiply the remaining colors by a certain percentage to calculate how likely the group was to survive. This showed natural selection because it showed how the population of each color was affected by our hunting.
Aside from the experiments, we usually start class with some sort of warm-up which is a question relating to the activity we’re going to do and then we have a big book that has all of our lessons, so we read through the procedure for the activity we’re working on to understand what is supposed to happen. Most of the time we get into groups of four, do the activity together and record the data. We’ll have a series of questions to answer and do some analysis. There usually isn’t homework if you get it all done in class, but sometimes she assigns papers. Right now we have to do a research paper. Each student was assigned a specific animal and we have to research it and write general information, as well as the evolutionary information. I’m excited because I got the giraffe!
At CEC we have a special program called College Ready Literacy. Every freshman has to take the class, which is for college preparation. Since our school offers concurrent enrollment with a local community college (that means you can earn high school and college credit at CEC) our teachers want to make sure we are prepared for the work that we will be getting in our high school junior and senior years, and beyond. Our Assistant Principal, Ms. Kenny says literacy class helps make sure that we have the best opportunity to be successful during and after high school because students who don’t have solid skills in the basics are less likely to graduate college. At CEC the goal is for everyone to have the chance to do well in college-level studies.
Ms. Price is my literacy teacher and it’s a great class. It’s engaging and each week we have a topic and articles that we have to read through with our group at our table and then we answer certain questions about them. I like it because it evokes a lot of thought rolling it over in your brain and because it gets me involved in current events in the community and helps me think about how I feel about them. We have talked about many current issues, but my favorite was the discussion we had about different education in different countries and how each country uses homework. In some countries, they have no homework and they have better scores than the US. In other countries, they use homework, but the homework is different; it’s more studying and fewer worksheets.
Career Classes Everyday
My afternoons are when things change up a little bit. That’s when I take my career classes. At CEC, we have a Career and Technical Education (CTE) focus. This means that we have the chance to learn about different careers we might like to pursue when we grow up and get done with school. As a freshman you get to start exploring careers and then as a junior or senior, hopefully you have decided some of your interests and you get more in-depth with one specific career. For now, though, we get to take two different careers per semester and my first one is Teaching Careers. I wasn’t sure I was going to like it at first, but as it turns out, it’s a great class. Ms. Montoya, my teacher, is super nice and I enjoy the structure of the class because it is so varied. Sometimes we do work in the classroom, like right now we are learning what people go through and what happens during pregnancy, which I think is really important for teenagers to know. We’ve gone over why you shouldn’t do it and what you should do if it does happen. In class, we’ve also talked about how to teach children and how to make sure they grow up awesome. But another neat thing is that in my school building, right next to my teaching careers classroom, there is a community preschool. In our class we have the chance to view the kids through the observation window, to learn about how they act and how the teachers work with them. And other times, we get to go into their classroom and work with them alongside the preschool teachers. That’s when we truly live up to the motto of our school, Do Something Real, because we’re learning how to be teachers with actual students. I love it and the kids are so cute!
Career classes fall on both blue and gold days and I have them together in the afternoon, so after I’m done teaching and observing the little kids, I do something totally different—work with power tools. You might not think that girls take construction classes, but my class is probably 50/50. It’s a good class to have at the end of the day because we are always up and about, working on a new project. At the beginning of the semester we spent about three weeks learning about the tools and how to be safe, but now we work on building and creating. At first, I didn’t think I would like this class, but it’s been fun. And, I think it’s empowering to learn how to use all the tools because then I don’t have to depend on boys to help me build or fix things. So far, aside from learning about the tools and safety, I have made a toolbox out of wood. This was the first main project and I received a 97% on it. Then, we practiced different cuts using a variety of saws, and since I have moved ahead of the class, I am currently making a wooden sword.
Gold Days (Tuesday, Thursday and every other Friday)
On Gold days, which are Tuesday and Thursday, my first class is Intro to Lit and Comp with Ms. Darling. Her class is fun because she tells lots of stories that are relevant to what we are talking about in class. We always begin with a writing warm up that is related to what we are going to do for the day. Then we do spelling and vocabulary each week. We’re on week nine right now. Ms. Darling keeps the class interesting by doing a bunch of different activities. At first, this semester we had lessons and had to write an essay about our summer reading book, Always Running. It was a serious book about gangs, but it ended up being pretty good. I love to read, but I don’t usually like the books that are assigned to me. This one was OK though. And actually, I’m really excited for our next books because we are going to read To Kill a Mocking Bird and Romeo and Juliet. I’m pretty sure I will enjoy those, so that will be good. Another thing we do in class is our Springboard book, which is basically our textbook, full of essays, stories and poems.
I have geography with Ms. Hilgen and so far it’s been an interesting class. Right now we’re learning about monsoons and how they affect different cities. We also do a lot of reading from our textbook and take our quizzes online. One thing I liked that we did earlier this year was a project where we had to get with a group and we were assigned a hypothetical family. We learned their likes and dislikes and had to create a road trip for them over five days in Colorado. It took a lot more work than I thought because we had to find all the places they could stay, where they could visit, the distances between everything and how long it would take to get around. My group even calculated the costs for the whole trip! When it was finished we had to present it to the class. I don’t really like to do oral presentations, but I actually felt pretty calm and confident because my group was so prepared. It ended up being a fun assignment.
This class has the same purpose as College Ready Literacy. It’s a good opportunity for all of us to brush up on our math skills so we don’t get behind in our upcoming classes. I think it’s a good idea, because even though I’m pretty good at math, you can always use a refresher. There’s bound to be something new that you learn. Plus, my teacher, Mr. Irwin makes sure that even though it’s review, we are challenged by the assignments.
Every Friday, whether it’s a blue or gold day, we have advisement. It’s actually called REPP (Relationships, Ethics, Perseverance, Partnerships), because we talk about so many things. Sometimes we do stress management activities or talk about how to eat healthy or manage your time between school and your personal lives. But it can also get into some very serious discussions like suicide, teen pregnancy and the dangers of drinking and drugs. But what I like is knowing that there is a safe place in school to talk about these things and that my advisement teacher is someone I can go to with personal questions and she will help me problem-solve or tell me who I can go to for answers. It’s a neat class and a good break from the rigorous academic classes I have the rest of the week. Right now my advisement class is preparing a big surprise for the rest of the school. I can’t wait to share our project!
Lunchtime and After School—The best part of the day
Of course my favorite times of the day are lunchtime and after school clubs! Not that I don’t like my classes, but I love to hang out with my friends and also participate in club activities. I think CEC is unlike other high schools because we are such a small school there aren’t cliques and nobody gets picked on. It’s nice to know that you can talk to just about anyone in the school and make a new friend. Plus, I love the clubs that I am a part of: Anime, knitting and Film Geeks. They are great places to hang out with people who have the same interests as well as relax and learn new things. Anime is my favorite club and when we’re in there we do all kinds of related activities, like watching an episode of a popular anime show, or we practice drawing anime-style characters. We do trivia, and we learned how to make fried rice. We also learned some different vocabulary in Japanese. The most exciting activity was volunteering for the Nan desu Kan, which is a Denver-based anime convention a lot like a smaller version of Comic-Con.
Ms. Gojara is our Anime sponsor and most days at lunch we just hang out in her room eating, relaxing and catching up. It’s a great time to unwind and have a few laughs with friends.