Dear Seniors… With Love, Mr. Leyden

Seniors– the next chapter in your life is about to begin. Yes! Be willing to change your flight plan mid-course. I was pretty sure I knew what I wanted to be when I “grew up” as I headed off to college, but it took me two years to reach the realization that a career in medicine wasn’t in the cards. Fortunately I had pretty wide-ranging interests, and social studies topics were always fascinating to me. I didn’t feel like I was going with a Plan B, but rather a second Plan A when I changed majors and eventually put myself on a path to teaching. Be grateful for your special station of life as young adults. The weight of the world’s responsibilities is not on your shoulders just yet, even though at times it may feel that way, so branch out, take risks, and do some exploring. Harness the unique potential energy you have to utilize your gifts—and yes, you do all have at least one—to improve the lives of others & the world around you, and have fun doing it. And for those among you who may not be so academically inclined, you don’t have to let school get in the way of your education! There’s no shortage of life lessons to be had outside the classroom. Be kind to others, be in the moment (put away your device!) and be a good listener, smile & nurture a genuine curiosity about the world around you, and doors will open up for you as you make your way. I’m excited for your future! Good luck, & take care— LEYDEN

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Senior Blog: From, Ms. Lee

Dear soon-to-be graduates,

As I was in school to become a teacher, we were taught many “useful” things such as lesson planning, how to handle parent-teacher conferences, and classroom management. But no one warned me that being a teacher can be heartbreaking at times. No one prepared me for this emotional roller coaster. Some of you who’ve had me as a teacher are probably thinking “Ms. Lee has emotions?”. I know we joke in my class about when was the last time I cried this year or if I ever show my feelings or if I’m a robot. But yes, it’s true.

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This emotional roller coaster has its ups and downs (as the thrilling/fun roller coasters usually do). Sometimes the downs creep into my mind when I get to know a student because I know that eventually I’ll say goodbye to them, give them a hug and take a selfie with them at graduation. Sometimes it has to do with a student who is making poor choices and no matter what I or others say, nothing changes. Sometimes it is when a student shares about difficulties at home that no teenager should be put through. These are the things that break my heart.

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The ups happen when I see my students walk across that stage at graduation and as they walk back through the tunnel of teachers, give me the biggest, most grateful hug ever, and thank me. Sometimes it happens when a struggling student, who failed their freshman year, turns their life around and ends up in the most challenging AP courses. Sometimes it happens when a student asks me for advice or wants to share a funny story or a joke on the back of a Laffy Taffy. These are the things that heal my heart.

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Whether you’ve contributed to the ups or the downs, thank you. Through it all, you have taught me. You have taught me how to notice students who don’t want to be noticed, how to listen to a student who doesn’t want to work because things at home are difficult, how to sometimes take the rabbit trails and talk about The Flash or my dog, and, most importantly, how to deeply care about you and your life in and outside of school. You have shaped me to be a better teacher.

You have made a difference.

As you approach the last few weeks of your high school journey, I encourage you to notice the kind of legacy you are leaving behind. And as you go from BHS, I encourage you to learn from the ups and downs that life throws your way and remember that education goes beyond the classroom.

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I am so honored to be a part of your life and your story. So thank you. And congratulations.

-Ms. Lee

LEARNING: Q & A with Mr. Turner

Mr. Turner has been teaching at Beaverton High School for 15 years. This year, he’s teaching American Lit, Lit and Comp 10, and Lit and Comp 2. He loves the students here and says “they irritate him in perfect ways”. His students like how sarcastic and real he is with them.

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We asked his opinion on a few questions, and these were his responses.

When asked what inspires him, and if there are any things his students have done to inspire him, he said that they inspire him every day by their ideas. He is inspired by them because they think of things that he never has, and opens his mind to new perspectives.

We also asked him what his students have taught him and if they have impacted or changed his teaching style. His response was that he changes his teaching style every year to cater to his students. He also changes his style each year because of what his students enjoy most while staying on topic with his lessons.

A student in his American Lit. class shared her opinions on what she likes about Mr. Turner: “I’m able to expand my thinking when I’m in his class because the topics we talk about are so big that were all able to have our own opinions and discuss them. He encourages us to think outside the box.”

A few quotes from Mr. Turned are, “Have I made anyone mad today?” and on our way out of class he always says, “Don’t be teenagers”.

Senioritis Is REAL: 10 Reasons You Know You Have Senioritis

Seniors! At this time of the school year, you’re probably feeling down due to all the school work. Your motivation to get good grades probably hit rock bottom. What is this feeling called, you ask. It’s called Senioritis, and we’re all experiencing it right now. If you have even one of the following symptoms you may have Senioritis…

You wish you were sick when you aren’t and when you are sick you are happy about it

You can’t sit down at the lunch table

You know the weeks, days, hours and minutes until graduation

You stop caring about what you look like

You don’t care about your grades because you are already accepted to college

You walk into class and regret it

Your parents no longer care about getting the phone call that you were late to class

You can’t get up in the morning (even when you have late arrival)

1st period becomes optional

You give up on making this top 10 list.

To all who don’t believe or think that “Senioritis” is real, we are here to tell you that it is and many seniors at our school are infected by it and are looking for a cure. The only known cure is graduation.

LEARNING: Forecasting for Our Future

As the second semester of school begins, we start to think about next year. For seniors, this means finalizing college plans, applying for scholarships, and making sure that they are on track to graduate. For juniors, sophomores, and freshmen, this means forecasting.

Every year, we all grab those sheets to pick classes and get teacher signatures, but do we all appreciate the opportunities presented to us? Beaverton offers students over 150 courses next year in Language Arts, Science, Social Studies, World Language, ELL, Special Education, Visual Arts, Theatre, Business, Engineering, Music, Education, Health Careers, P.E., and others. The classes that Beaverton High School offers help prepare us for our futures as well as keep us entertained with interesting subjects. We just added a few enticing classes which include Intro to Astronomy, Child Development, Environmental Studies, and several more. These new classes, paired with the recently developed automotive and science classes, will help broaden the scope of our education and prepare us for life after high school.

Of the 150+ classes offered, we have 20 Advanced Placement (AP) and over 30 dual-credit courses, which allow our students to receive college credit while in high school. Beaverton also has pathways in education, engineering, digital media, health careers, and marketing, which could help students get started on a career path early.

These opportunities often become overshadowed by taking a class simply because it is easier than the alternate, which could end up being something a student regrets. By challenging yourself in high school and utilizing the courses available, you can both take interesting subjects and start to cut your way through college credits. We also have great staff with a lot of real-world experience, which is another very valuable resource when deciding your path through college or otherwise. Take advantage of the possibilities available at Beaverton High School; your future self will thank you.

LEARNING TRANSFORMS US: In Practice.

Beavers are Learners.

Every day, when you walk the halls at BHS, you experience learning first hand. Whether it’s in the math hall where teachers teach students on whiteboards, or in MD where students use technology to learn how to use Microsoft Office in Computer Apps or how to create websites in Web Design, students are hard at work learning valuable skills to be prepared for life after High School.

Students learn using a variety of resources, including teachers who dedicate their time to help students prepare for their future. Teachers are key role models to students and help influence what happens for the rest of their life. Teachers use what they have previously learned and pass that knowledge along to students in many forms, in all classrooms around our school. After school, student athletes can be found in the gym or on the field with their coaches, learning or improving their sport. You learn through practice.

“You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.”-Wayne Gretzky

If you don’t throw the football tons of times, you will never be good at football, if you don’t shoot free throws at practice, you won’t ever make free throws during the game, and if you don’t do math homework, you will never be good at math. It takes practice to learn, and you have to learn to try.

(School) Trip of a Lifetime

By Rianna Ayoub, senior

Everyone looks forward to something during their senior year. Whether it be Prom, Grad Night, or simply getting out of here. Well for me, the thing I looked forward to the most was the Digital Marketing trip to NYC for Social Media Week.

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Social Media Week is a worldwide conference that curates and shares the best ideas, innovations, and insights into how social media and technology are changing business, society, and culture around the world. The people who went on this trip are our Social Media Team who make the content for BHS, so we could apply the ideas we learned to the content we make for our school. We heard from awesome speakers such as Megan Summers from Facebook, and even David Harbour, or “Officer Hopper” from Stranger Things!

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Besides from the conferences, we had plenty of free time to explore the big apple. There were enough chaperones for us to split up and do our own thing, so I did many different things such as go to the Empire State Building, 9/11 Memorial, Central Park, Chelsea Market, cool dessert shops, and more.

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Going to NYC was such a different experience, for I have never traveled to the East Coast. I plan on going back as soon as I can. If you get a good school trip opportunity, take it. Hands down. You never know what you will learn, see, or how much fun you will have!

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The Process and the Unseen

By Mr. Matt Hottmann, English teacher, basketball & tennis coach

LEARNING TRANSFORMS US.

Lately my mind has been wrestling through two primary topics: the process and the unseen.  I think both relate to the Beaverton High School experience.

First, given that my wife is a Tennessee Volunteer, I happened upon a video by former Vol defensive back turned inspirational speaker, Inky Johnson.  His mantra is that “the process saved his life.”  I’ll steer clear of telling his story in far less eloquent terms than he, but his lesson is that the everyday habits and responsibilities we curate are what enable us to tackle adversity.  As I look at my classroom, I find the same to be true.  It might not be about learning the cross-price elasticity of two goods (though it certainly will be on the Unit 2 exam), but perhaps it is about developing the skills to learn that formula in the first place.  I had many students realize they didn’t quite understand and then came in for help during Beaver Lodge.  This process of learning and discovery and resiliency cannot be learned through the instruction of easy things.  So perhaps the process of education and pushing oneself and consistently doing the work is ultimately more important than being able to recall the definition of demand elasticity in a few years.  Perhaps.

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And perhaps the process is also how one accumulates knowledge.  Maybe it is the consistent process of thinking critically and being able to see nuance.  Maybe more important than being able to sit down and calculate a percentage is the ability to sense when it has been done incorrectly.  This inkling that something is amiss can only be developed through a process of inquiry and consistent thinking and experience.

The other concept that I have been wrestling with lately comes from my AP Economics curricula.  That course stresses the subtlety of the unseen playing an important role in our lives.  Both opportunity cost and Smith’s “Invisible Hand” hint at the idea that there are unseen elements that need to be accounted for.  I think this week is a primary example of the unseen benefits of being at Beaverton High School.  Yes, I sincerely believe that calculating marginal revenue is important, but so is putting on a homecoming assembly for a crowd of 2,000.  When our leadership class goes through that process, quite a bit of learning is occurring.  They are learning how to organize.  They are learning how to be aware of their audience.  They are learning how to connect and move a crowd and they are learning to be flexible if a microphone is accidentally turned off.  Far more learning can occur in the unseen than in the rote dictation by a teacher.

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The same type of learning is undeniably present on our fields and in our auditoriums.  Students are learning about how to connect with others, how to face adversity, and how to balance their time and expectations.  Our football players are learning how to recognize visual cues through extensive video research and then what their appropriate response should be to that formation, often demanding that response in a split second.  Our musicians are learning how to hear and coordinate with the musicians around them.  Our thespians are learning how to display authenticity with their voices and their body language.

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All of these things are occurring at Beaverton High School and none of it has to do with direct classroom instruction.  As I look back at those who have taught me in life, I can rarely articulate what exact thing was said to make me learn, but I can clearly identify what it is I learned.  Sometimes the best learning isn’t directly measurable, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t occurred.  These unseen lessons are why I love the comprehensive high school, especially BHS.

Learning, Defined.

By Jason Sarmiento, BHS teacher AND alumnus

LEARNING TRANSFORMS US.

I grew up watching a TV show called Boy Meets World.  In the very last episode, the main characters say to their teacher, “We wanted to know if you had anything left to teach us.”  His response was, “Believe in yourselves… Dream… Try…. Do Good.”

In truth, I cannot remember what I learned in high school that had anything to do with math, science, English, social studies.  What I can remember were the lessons that I learned about myself.  I learned how to dream. I learned how to deal with adversity.  I learned how to manage my time.  I learned to leave a place better than you found it.  I learned how much impact a person’s actions could have on others.  At the end of the day, I learned who I was and how to be a better person.

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It was easy for me to fall in love with teaching.  I get the opportunity to teach others the same lessons that I learned in high school and throughout life.  Learning doesn’t have to be about content.  In fact, it is often the extra lessons that transform us in to who we are.  “Believe in yourselves… Dream… Try… Do good.”

Think. Learn. Dream.

By Anne Erwin, BHS Principal

LEARNING TRANSFORMS US.

One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish.  I vividly remember sitting with that book with the yellow cover and colorful pages.  I held it on my lap, scanned the pages.  Now the letters formed words and I was the one reading them, not my mother, not my father but ME.  It was as if the power to read came alive in one instant.  Becoming a reader transformed me into a learner.   

Flash forward to my third grade classroom.  My teacher was trying to pull independent thought out of our parrot-like brains.  She would ask a question and we would offer up the answer we all thought she wanted us to regurgitate.  “Think” she encouraged.  Same question, same answer.  She took off her glasses she and pounded on the desk “Think!” Same question, same answer.  She jumped onto the desk “Think, for the love of God, think for yourself” she implored.  Her demands that day and every day transformed me into a thinker.

Race ahead to a freshman world history course at the University of Oregon.  Sitting in the back of the room I looked around at the assembled colleagues.  I glanced out the window onto the expanse of lawn and college looking buildings. All at once a wave of realization washed over me.  “I’m in college!”  My fate as a learner was sealed.

For over twenty years I stood before my own students and watched as they discussed and debated the topics of the day, wrestled over essays, and negotiated readings.   Every day, I learned as much from them as I tried to teach.  And now as a principal every day, every action, every dream is about learning.