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The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

The Student News Site of Altoona Area High School

Mountain Echo

All freshmen take new class

Miley Naugle
Freshman Seminar. A picture of a schedule from a ninth grade student who takes the class.

A new required class was added to all freshmen schedules this year. This is listed on ninth grade schedules as freshmen seminar. 

“I thought that we would be learning about how to do taxes and stuff like that,” freshman Abby Harkins said.

This class is based on a program called “Leader in Me.” It uses a book called “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Teens” by Sean Covey. 

“The freshman seminar class is designed to help freshmen build connections as they start high school and develop habits that are necessary to their success,” math teacher Natalie Trimmer said.

Teachers think there could be some changes made to make the class more interesting for the students and easier to teach. 

“I think it would be nice if it was just a semester course. I feel like we could probably accomplish what we’re doing in half a year. It would also give students the opportunity to have another elective the other half of the year,” Trimmer said. “However I also think if you have a good relationship with your students it is nice for them to have a safe place where they are all year.”

There are also some other changes teachers think could improve the class overall and help each student individually. 

“I like the overall idea of it,” English teacher Robert Wynn said. “I think it’s a good idea that kids can benefit from, but I feel like the approach should be a little different, a little bit more narrowed down towards a specific group.” 

The program is supposed to help students adapt to high school, teach them how to be a leader and help them prepare for their future. 

“The purpose is to set the kids on a path that sets them in the right direction for the future. I have a lot of kids that don’t know what they want to do when they leave high school,” Wynn said. “ One kid told me they have one goal, and it’s to not to fail. They have no plan of what they want to do beyond that, so I think the nice thing about this is that they’ll be able to set a goal and have their own personal life and independence.” 

Teachers think this class could help the students for the rest of their lives if it is taught correctly. 

“One of the big things is independence, which a lot of students I’ve noticed might struggle with,” Wynn said. “They think independence means that they have to do everything on their own, rather than asking for help when they need it. I think this kind of helps them learn a balance of growing on their own, knowing when to ask for help and knowing how to really function on a daily basis.” 

Students are learning about leadership, following rules and how they can prepare for the future.

“Right now we are learning about technology and the impact that it can have on us,” freshman Riley Behe said. 

Some freshmen think the best part of this class is how simple it is. 

“It is really easy. It is an easy grade to pass the class,” Harkins said. 

Some students are upset that they are being forced to take the class even though they do not want to. 

“I was sad when I saw this on my schedule because I have CTC. I have to leave the CTC a period early to fit the freshman seminar in my schedule,” Harkins said. 

Superintendent Brad Hatch thinks this program will be beneficial to the freshman and will help them throughout the rest of their life. 

“What we’re trying to instill in freshmen is really a set foundation for what you’re going to need for the rest of your high school career, and for young adulthood, which is centered around goal setting,” Hatch said. “Not sweating the small stuff, prioritizing, making sure you’re doing the little things that matter, communicating and working together as a team.”

Hatch thinks the “Leader in Me” program would be beneficial to all grades K-12. The program could be put into effect for all grades next year. The current plan would be to take a 20 minute time period out of the day, extending homeroom or lunch periods. 

“Our understanding is that it’s going to be expanded to the other grade levels. That’s being discussed,” freshman counselor Tiffany Johannides said. “I can’t say with any certainty because we’re not on that team that’s developing the curriculum and making that, but that’s being talked about. It’s in the works.”

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About the Contributor
Miley Naugle
Miley Naugle, Reporter
My name is Miley Naugle, I am a 10th grade reporter on the AAHS Mountain Echo. This is my second year on the staff and my third year as a reporter. My favorite thing to do as a part of the staff, was take photos. I started writing on the Livewire staff in 8th grade. I love to take photos and write sports stories. I also like to run, I have been running since 7th grade. I run Cross Country and long distance for Track. I am part of the Student Council and I am also in chorus. In my free time I enjoy hanging out with my friends and spending time with my little sister.

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