Graduation Issue May 2018

Page 5 The Dog Pound The 2017-18 school year brought a new class when English teacher Shawn Starr started Contemporary Literature. He explained, “I created Contemporary Literature because I wanted to give students a literature-focused elective that focuses on modern literature.” “LCHS does an amazing job of offering students electives in American Literature, British Literature, Drama Literature, and several writing options; however, because these categories have such a large span of time to address, the classics are often the focus of these courses.” “I wanted to show students that modern literature has just as much to offer as any of the novels in the classic canon. I also wanted to provide students an opportunity to build connections with a piece of text, to personalize their learning and literacy.” Students read eight book for this class: An Abundance of Katherines, I Am Malala, The Kite Runner, Columbine, Because I am Furniture, Perks of Being a Wallflower, and the final book in the Harry Potter series. Starr commented, “Choosing texts for this class was one of the hardest parts. I started with major ideas and genres I wanted students to take away from the course. Then I made lists of books that I felt achieve those goals in said specific genres.” “I also consulted lists like the Young Adult Library Services Association and the National Council of Teachers of English to determine which novels had the most literary merit.” For each book, students have class discussions and respond to ideas in journal entries. The students are assigned to read 30 pages a night for the following day’s class discussion or journal. A common favorite read among the students is An Abundance of Katherines. Senior Katie McAllister stated it was her favorite because “it was very easy to relate to and a quick read.” During class discussions students are encouraged to share how they felt reading each book, ask questions, or just explain how they related to the book in any way. Senior Will Pottebaum’s favorite part of class was discussing the stories. Senior Kailyn Huisman’s favorite part was “ that everyone was completely honest and trusting of one another no matter who the classmates were.” Katie McAllister enjoyed “getting to read many different types of literature, and getting to discuss our own opinions on what it was about.” Many of the students who took the class this year took it for essentially the same reason. They like to read. Kailyn Huisman, however, took the class because “Mr. Starr.” A majority of the students who took the class recommend other students take it. Will Pottebaum, for example, said, “The class forces you to read more critically, and forces you to be able to express your thoughts on each book.” With the first year of the class coming to an end, Mr. Starr believes the class went very well: “The students in the class and I have been able to have open discussions on many topics related to the literature.” “We’ve discussed topics from finding one’s personal identity to how split second decision making affects events such as the Columbine school shooting. Through this literature, we are able to open hearts and minds to topics and ideas that they may have been closed to previously.” Starr creates Contemporary Literature course elective As much fun as high school can be, eventually all students must face the decision of what they want to do with their futures. Most students look to attend a college or university. When searching for a school, one education option is often overlooked, junior college. The idea of junior colleges came about because of the high costs of attending a four-year college. The goal was to develop an option that filled the gap between high school and college educations. Junior colleges offer two years of college classes for much less than the first two years at a full university would cost. Most junior colleges have general education classes and some specialized courses to allow students to save on the early half of their college education. Junior college students can then transfer into a full college for the last two years of their degrees, having all their prerequisites already taken care for half the price. Junior colleges function almost identically to a full college but on a smaller scale. According to their websites, almost all Iowa junior colleges offer their own campuses and facilities. Housing and student services are also available for students who attend. Advisors assist with the process of transferring college credits when moving on to a university. Many high school graduates take advantage of junior college as a way of saving up more money over time while still receiving an education. Often times, full colleges partner with junior colleges to help students craft a path to a degree through both schools. For example, Kirkwood offers a 2 Plus 2 program that guarantees students a four- year graduation plan with two years there and two years at the University of Iowa. Junior Eric Isebrand believes that junior colleges are “a cheap alternative to a university if you don’t plan on getting a degree or just want to start slow.” Seniors Anna Ahlrich, Chandler Grosenheider, and Maddy Mahan agree junior colleges cost less money, making it a great choice for high school graduates. Junior Tylon Chapman likes having “the ability to complete general education courses and then transfer.” Because of the lower overall cost, some educational sacrifices are made choosing a junior college. Options for degrees at a junior college are much more limited than options at a university. In many cases, classes offered at junior colleges tend to be easier than similar classes at a full college. Though some may see this as a positive, it can be harmful when preparing to transfer to a larger experience. Credits from junior colleges do not always transfer fully to certain schools, which is usually indicated on the school’s website. Junior Danielle Rolfes believes junior college is not the best choice because “you don’t get the university experience, and some companies may not hire a junior college graduate if they have another prospect from a larger school.” “You won’t meet as many people as you would at a big college,” stated Curran Wells. When it comes to negatives, Sydney Schurr firmly believes there are none because “you get the same education as you would at a university. It’s just the fact that people think a bigger school is better, which I highly disagree with.” Most people are not aware of the many junior college options that Iowa has to offer. A popular choice for Le Mars students is Western Iowa Tech., located in Sioux City. Another nearby option is Northwest Iowa Community College in Sheldon. DesMoinesArea Community College has multiple campuses near Iowa State University and the University of Iowa. These are just a few of the dozens of options available in Iowa alone. For students unsure of what they want to do with their future or looking to save money on their education, junior college is a great option. Junior colleges offer alternative options for some graduates by Morgan Boehme by Stormii Hanno

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