Attention Incoming Sophomores, not sure whether to take AP Biology? Read this to make your final decision!
By Mark Zocco and Megan Kelleher
All students like to think of themselves as the top of their class. One way of demonstrating this is at the end of freshman year, all of the students ask around to see who will be taking AP Biology and who is not.
AP Biology has a reputation for being a class that is too difficult to take and will make one pull all nighters which is just false information. Do not let the rumors you hear about AP Biology sway your decision whether or not to take the class. The gossip one hears around the school should not be used as a reliable source when making such a decision.
You might be wondering what type of information and from who should you trust when you are in the midst of making your choice for next years science class. Look no further because we sat down with the current and most qualified AP Biology teacher for the high school Dr. Gorton. We then asked him a few frequently asked questions about the course.
“One requirement that the incoming AP Biology students need to have is self motivation. They need to be willing to do the work on their own.” says Dr. Gorton. He also goes on to say that “taking this class does have its advantages. AP Biology will help them learn how to learn. It will teach them what ways for them individually are the best ways to study and learn new material.”
He also said “The major difference from say an honors biology class versus the AP Biology class is the speed and rigor. It is much more rigorous and there is simply more content to cover. AP Biology requires a much higher level of thinking and problem solving then say an honors or level one class.”
When presented with the question “what are some fun and exciting activities that students will be able to partake in?” His immediate response was “We don’t do fun”, but quickly rescinded and followed by “Rather than fun, the students will find the class and what they are doing to be quite enjoyable. They have the opportunity to build a family type relationship with their peers in the classroom. They have the opportunity to investigate scientific principles that they otherwise wouldn't normally have in their other classes.”
The last question has to be the question students are most curious about due to the fact that it is not uncommon to have a bad grade in an AP class. Dr Gorton went on to say that “students need not be shy when not understanding the material. I encourage students to ask questions and seek extra help after school when struggling.” Dr Gorton concluded the interview by saying “this class is like a marathon, you can’t fall behind but you need to maintain a steady pace.”
If at the end of your freshman year you do indeed decide to take AP Biology, you will need to stop by Dr. Gorton’s room and pick up a textbook and a test prep book. With these you will need to complete a summer assignment by taking notes on the first five chapters of the textbook because you will have a quiz on them the first week of school so be prepared! This also gives you an opportunity to go and introduce yourself to Dr. Gorton. Remember, first impressions are very important!
Don’t think if you don’t have straight A’s and have a 4.0 GPA you won’t be successful in this class. If you are willing to put in the time and effort I think that you will fit right in in AP Biology. If you still have questions or concerns feel free to email Mark Zocco or Megan Kelleher at Zoccomark@wethersfield.me or Megankelleher@wethersfield.me.
By Stephanie Breglio
WHS business courses are crucial in preparing students for the future and building basic life skills that may not be taught in other core classes or electives. New WHS students or even any student may wonder what the benefits of business courses are, or if they should be enrolled in one. The answer-- according to WHS students and teachers, is yes.
Senior Rachel Gopaul is one of these students who says “yes.” Rachel stated that taking Career Prep and Personal Finance was, “Eye opening in terms of looking for college stuff, getting used to gpa and looking into future careers.”
WHS offers many options for business courses amongst the 3 teachers; Mrs. Griswold, Mrs. Ricardi, and Mr. Palazzo. The courses include Intro to Business, Career Prep, Personal Finance, Marketing I, Marketing II, and even more.
Basic and fundamental skills needed for the future that are taught in these classes, especially Career Prep and Personal Finance, may be surprising to some. They include resume writing, financial goal setting, learning how to save money, filing tax returns, learning how to use the program Excel, and even learning how to fill out a check and the parts of the check.
“I absolutely encourage students to take multiple business courses throughout high school because no matter what field they end up in, there will be things that they learn in the business courses that will apply, whether it’s soft skills or the math that we us,” said WHS Business Teacher Mr. Palazzo.
Mr. Palazzo mentioned that one of his graduate students came to him years later talking about what they learned through Excel and they said, “I was one of the first people who when I got the job was able to teach others how to use it.”
People who don’t take many business courses/business courses at all may not realize how much they really help students. I encourage all students to take business courses if they have the choice. It may help you in the future even if you are unaware of that right now.
by: Kevin Rascius
IBM is reaching out and making a difference at Wethersfield High School. Science teacher Mr. Kess runs an interesting independent study called, “Mastering the Mainframe.” This independent study provides seven WHS students with the incredible opportunity of learning how to use mainframe computers and setting them up for future success in the field of computer science. The independent study gives students the chance to learn about these computer systems and gives students real-world application of this knowledge. The students access IBM’s mainframe computers through laptops and are advised by Project Manager Christopher Zack from IBM.
Mainframe computers are essential tools in the real world, they are used primarily by large companies for critical applications, transaction processing, storing important information, and so much more. As Mr. Kess said, “Mainframe computing is something that doesn't get alot of attention, but is a huge, huge part of the finance community.” 92 of the world's top 100 banks use mainframe computers, there are 30 billion business transactions handled by mainframes everyday, and they handle about 87% of all credit card transactions. “Mainframes are secure, they are fast, and the whole point is to crunch data. It’s incredible what mainframes do, they're in the background, we don't know realize what they do, but everybody touches them everyday when they make a credit card transaction or book an airline ticket.” (Christopher Zack) Mainframe computers are a key component of our everyday lives, yet very few people know about them. They handle our most important transactions and store the most vital information because they are fast, secure, reliable and dependable. Tests have shown that they can survive an earthquake with an 8.0 magnitude on the Richter scale, these are built to handle the extremes.
This independent study is very different from any other class at Wethersfield High School, as it culminates in a competition sponsored by IBM that can result in obtaining “Digital Badges” that acts as credentials to recognize students achievement and contribution. These badges are a tangible item that proves to potential employers that you have the skills to work for them. Project Manager Christopher Zack from IBM said, “Ideally, students will get those badges. The goal here is to complete the course, and earn the badges. The badges are an incredible thing to take away from this. This contest identifies the people who have the potential to be mainframers, and get their names out there as candidates to be mainframers.” In the competition, hundreds of students compete, and are asked to complete a multitude of challenges and projects on a mainframe computer. Successful students in the competition can earn these digital badges, and win other prizes such as Amazon gift cards.
With this independent study, IBM and WHS expose students to an amazing job opportunity in a rewarding and important field. These students are getting a free jump start on a potential career in the field of computer science, and IBM is getting a head start on training the next generation of mainframe programmers, and identifying possible future employees.
The independent study has just begun this semester, and Mr. Kess and Mr. Zack hope to make it into a half-year elective by the beginning of next year. As it is an independent study, students try to meet with Mr. Kess once a week but do most of their work in their own home. In order to do well in this class, students must be responsible and self motivated. While the course may sound difficult and very ¨techy¨, both Mr. Kess and Mr. Zack encourage anyone with any interest in the field of computer science to participate. The class can shed some light on what “computer science” means, and presents an amazing and free opportunity for all Wethersfield Students.
All in all this independent study and future WHS elective provides an incredible opportunity for students. If you are curious about computer science, enjoy a challenge and love the thrill of competition, this class is for you.
by: Amanda De Jesus and Jenna Colon
Wethersfield High School has many electives for juniors and seniors, one of them for seniors is Journalism.
Journalism, which is taught by Mr. John Martin, involves writing for newspapers, magazines, and online. We interviewed him on the basics of his Journalism class.
¨They're going to learn everything I know about journalism,¨ Martin said. “In this course, students will learn how to write for the web, design the web, and write in different styles for many different readers. They will even learn how to write a multitude of articles from short pieces to long forms.”
¨If a student hates writing, I hope that this might be the first class where they actually enjoy it.¨
Martin enjoys hearing about what his students write about because it varies from some things he knows nothing about, and can learn about, to things he loves too.
¨I want to give every student the opportunity to try this class and then decide if they want to do this sort of job or not,¨ says Martin when asked about the effect this class has on students and his role towards that. He went on to say that even if they don´t want to succeed in journalism he still loves that feedback, but also when they do want to continue with their journalism career.
This course can really help students discover more about themselves. Whether it's that they absolutely love writing articles about topics they love or that it's not for them and they don't want to do anything in that field. We highly encourage you to try it out and see how you like it, who knows you might find your future career!
By: Ashley Anduha and Mark Nieves
Career Preparation is a class at Wethersfield High School that involves planning for your future. It is a class available to any grade and it is taught by business teacher Mr. Chris Palazzo.
Palazzo describes this class as, “Providing students with the opportunity to learn about future careers, the opportunity to gain experience with interviews, gain experience with potential employers. It gives students the opportunity to dive deeper into their interests.”
It is an amazing class for every student’s future, even if you know what you want to do after high school. Career Prep still prepares you for your career because you learn things that are very important.
Palazzo recommends that every student at every grade level take this class. He says it can be very good for freshman who have never thought about what is next after high school but also for seniors because you are on your way to graduating and this class can put you a step ahead in your next path in life.
It is an eye opening class for anyone who hasn’t really gotten involved with school because you realize the importance of things like extra curricular activities so it pushes students to get more involved.
In this class, you learn things that are very important for when you go to interview for a job and Palazzo describes this as a major benefit to this class, “All students get the opportunity to develop a resume, write a cover letter, a follow up letter, having the experience of talking with potential employers, learning about careers that will one day provide them with a paycheck and help them make sure that their happy with their future.”
In this class there is a segment called “Mock Interviews” that you prepare for throughout the semester. Before you start your mock interview, you build a resume full of information about your job experiences, skills, awards education etc. as well as a cover letter and with this you meet with a mock “interviewer” and you get a grade based on how you do in the interview. It is a good way to work on and realize any struggles you had with the interview.
Many students who have taken the class can agree that it is very helpful for them especially because they learn things before that nobody has taught them before. Not many people know how to make a resume, many don’t know what a cover and thank you letter are, and a lot have never gotten the experience to practice in a mock interview.
In conclusion, we highly recommend this class to every student who attends Wethersfield High School, It will be a great help in the future. You will not be disappointed after taking this class, in fact you'll thank us.
by: Isiah Timmons
One of Wethersfield High School’s most recent class music production. Being taught by WHS teacher Michael Bowles is definitely worth your time. Here’s why:
Music production gives in-depth lessons about the composition of melodies and workings of sound and production. The amount of creative freedom in this class is endless. As a music creator this class definitely gives the best fundamentals of mixing, EQ’ing, and the musical process with the addition of fun.
Music Production prepares a great space for you to enter your creative process and to stop stressing about other classes and just create.
WHS student Katie Galusha said, “Music production for me was a lot of creative freedom. I didn’t feel like I was limited to do whatever the teacher said, because it was just like a general outline and then he said ‘take it and run’ and you could literally make whatever you want.”
Music Production students are greeted with a Mac computer, piano, and three different usable softwares Logic Pro X, Pro Tools and Garageband.
Music Production will help you improve your tracks and help you explore more into the field of music production. This class is definitely worth your time because it shows you the fun of sound mixing, chopping, folleying and creating sentences with different pieces of audio. Katie Galusha said “I’ve always gotten the music handed to me I never got to create anything, which was like, very cool.”
One of the most interesting projects I’ve done in this class is changing the mood of a movie trailer. This is done by changing the key of your music in the background from major to minor or visa versa. Major creating a more happy feel, while minor creates a sadder or fearful mood, using different sound effects and changing the entire ambience. For example turning a comedy movie into a horror movie, or turning a love story to a sci-fi movie.
Music Production holds many career choices, from foley artist, to music producer, sound designer, digital audio editor, radio broadcaster, or a digital audio editor. If you’re interested in any career involved with sound?
Music Production is definitely a class you should consider!
Written, edited, and produced by Wethersfield High School students, covering all news and events.