The Rocket Flame

“Houston, We’re Ready For Take Off!”

Learn about the new Voyager Program coming next year at JB

“Houston, We’re Ready For Take Off!”

Three…two…one…blast off! During the 2018-2019 school year, the Voyager Program will be launched at James Buchanan High School.

 

The Voyager Program is a self-driven class for students, which includes three different disciplines: English, Social Studies and Art. Students will be coming up with their own projects that encompass these subjects. The program is worth three credits, one for each subject.

 

Mrs. Kayla Chambers-Matulevich(Faculty), one of the five coordinating teachers of the program, said “One of the examples we gave was a student built a bass guitar. So with that, he would write a paper maybe on the history of bass guitars, but then he also found music and wrote music for it.”

 

The Voyager Program is made up of a lot of open-ended work that is done in the students’ own time. Students will be tasked with completing two projects a marking period for two marking periods. It is compared to college, where students do a lot of learning on their own, but they also have to manage their time. To help students, the coordinators set up weekly journals where students have to report their progress. They are also hoping for at least one class period where students can come to any of the coordinators and receive time and help on their projects.

 

“This could really benefit students that might not learn perfectly in a regular classroom setting,” said Chambers.

 

Rather, students learn school subjects through what they love and have an interest in. Some students do not excel in the typical classroom setting, but the Voyager Program enables students to learn in a different environment.

 

“For example, when I was in high school, I would have excelled in a program like this, but that’s because I could have focused on art and then learned the history and English related to it,” said Chambers.

 

Mr. Rodney Benedick (Principal) first found this idea form Central York High School’s Apollo Program, where each student has their own tailored way of learning. Several teachers became interested, including Mrs. Danielle Fox (Faculty) for English, Ms. Jena Antonelli (Faculty) for Social Studies, and Mrs. Erin Martin (Faculty) and Chambers for the Arts. The program is being led by Mr. Michael Mele (Faculty).

 

In the end, the teachers involved are looking for what students can take away from this program. They feel this program can help prepare students for life outside of high school and into college. They hope to have fifteen students this next year to make the program really take off.

 

“We are looking for any driven student. I don’t think there is any cookie-cutter student for this program and I think that’s what’s great about it,” said Chambers. “If you are driven and willing to put in the work, willing to grow as a student and to work with your teacher mentors, I think that’s the ideal student.”

 

The teachers and staff here at JB are looking forward to seeing how this program does next year and years to come, hoping learning can reach new heights.

 

Do You Drive?

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Parking in the school parking lot, Sammie Mills (12) shows off skills learned through taking Driver’s Education and Driver’s Simulation

A person can start learning to drive at 16 years old, and, through Driver’s Education and Driver’s Simulation, which are offered at James Buchanan High School, students are learning to drive properly to be in control on the road.

 

Driver’s Education is a mandatory half-credit course offered to students in their sophomore year. The course goes through 10 modules that consist of a lesson and quiz. Throughout the 10 different modules, there are many topics covered, including emotional driving, driving under the influence, all the way to what is under the hood of a car and liability insurance.

 

After the modules are completed, students must take a final driving assessment to determine whether they will pass the course or not. If the student receives under a 75% on the final assessment, they have failed and must keep trying to complete the course in order to graduate. Unfortunately for students that fail, they must pay a fine of $50 every semester they take Driver’s Education.

 

At James Buchanan, Mr. Michael Mele (Faculty) is in charge of Driver’s Education. This means he informs all the students about the course and supervises students to keep them on track, especially for the final assessment.

 

“It is really important to get an understanding of the rules of the road,” Mele said. “I think what the exposure to Driver’s Ed does is it gets you making conscious, safe decisions on the road.”

 

James Buchanan also offers Driver’s Simulation directed by Mrs. Julie Eshleman (Faculty). Driver’s Stimulation is a course taken by students where they go through simulations at a wheel and even practice driving on the road with instructors. There are nine different simulations that the students go through which replicate different weather conditions. Each simulation is required to be taken twice.

 

Driver’s Simulation is an optional course, though, since students have to pay a fee to take it. Once a student completes the course, they are allowed to take their driver’s test through the school instead of through a DMV. There are also circumstances, depending on the type of insurance, where students will be given a discount off their insurance if they take the course.

 

“The leading cause of death for young people is automobile accidents,” Eshleman said, “So anything we can do to prevent that would be great.”

Driving is not something that people, especially teenagers, should take for granted. By offering Driver’s Education and Driver’s Simulation to students, James Buchanan aims to teach students road safety in hopes to minimize future accidents.

What on Earth are You Doing on Earth Day?

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Surrounded by lush plants and flowers, a tree grows in the safety of old rubber boots

It’s April 22, 1970. Nobody seems to be noticing the increasing pollution in the air from cars and factories or the damage that oil spills can have like the one that occured a year prior in Santa Barbara, California. That is everyone except for a Wisconsin senator by the name of Gaylord Nelson. Using the zest and motivation from the students and people holding anti-war protests against the Vietnam War, Nelson decided to create a national day in honor of environmental awareness; this day is known as Earth Day.

 

When the first Earth Day occured in 1970, it was a huge hit. According to The History of Earth Day article, 20 million Americans took part in rallying and cleaning the Earth. Many schools would even hold demonstrations teaching people about the effects of pollution. From there, Earth Day became an annual event that is always celebrated on April 22.  

 

The next big celebration of Earth Day took place in 1990. On this year, Earth Day spread from only being honored in America, to being honored worldwide. The number people that celebrated Earth Day grew from 20 million to 200 million throughout 141 countries.

 

Today, Earth Day is celebrated by over a billion people all over the world. Within our school, there are several people who are planning on commemorating this day. For instance, the James Buchanan Student Council is planning a service event for Earth Day. One of the co-chairs of the Community Service Committee, Claire Kriner (10), hopes to clean waste around the school or even the town of Mercersburg during the weekend.

 

“Every month, the Community Service Committee co-chairs have to come together and scheduled an event or activity which the student council has to participate in,” Kriner said. “For April, we saw Earth Day as a perfect opportunity to give support to the environment and clean up trash.”

 

A teacher at James Buchanan, Mr. Michael Mele, is a huge advocate for the environment. Every year, Mele and his family always take time out of the day to recognize how important a clean and healthy environment is.

 

“Protecting the environment is one of the most important things we can do as people, not just for ourselves, but for our kids and then their kids and so on,” Mele said. “Every year, my wife and I recognize Earth Day and talk about it with our kids and tell them the importance of protecting the environment. Then we usually plant a tree every Earth Day.”

 

  Many people view the Earth’s environment and how important it is differently. However, Earth Day brings many people together to honor our one and only home, Earth.

 

Don’t Make Math a Task, Just Ask!

45 minutes may not be long enough to understand the quadratic formula, but some extra help can go a long way.

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If you’re one of many students looking for extra help understanding the mysteries of mathematics then all you have to do is ask the math tutors.

 

Every activity period in the library, any student is able to go down and receive aid in school work; all they have to do is ask one of the ten math tutors for help.  

 

Their goal as a program is to encourage students to ask questions.

 

“We want students who are struggling to realize we only got to where we are by asking questions,” said Nick Garbinski,12, one of the math tutors

 

The advisor and co-founder of the math tutoring program, Mr. Michael Mele, Faculty,  is also a promoter of asking questions.

 

“My job is to let them [the students] figure things out and ask questions when they need some guidance and clarification,” said Mele.

 

The math tutors hope to achieve the focus and effort that is based on Mele’s beliefs and the objective of the math tutoring program overall.

 

“I realized how much I enjoy being down in the library, helping others or receiving help,” said Jae-lin Carmack, 12, another tutor who volunteers his time every activity period.

 

For the people who partake in math tutoring, asking questions has helped the program better answer similar concerns from other students.

“I needed help significantly, and slowly but surely I’m improving,” states Colby Shingler, 10, currently taking Algebra 1. Shingler is a regular at the library and feels the tutoring program has played a major role in improving his math skills.

 

The math tutors have anywhere between two to five people come to the library a day with questions on homework. They hope by promoting thought-provoking questions, more students will come asking for help.

 

 

The math tutors will continue to aid others until the end of the year and start all over again once more with the new school year.

 

Carmack advised, “Never be afraid to ask questions because without questions you get no answers and without answers everyone’s clueless.” 

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