New Courses Open Doors for New Opportunities

Marissa Douglas and Gabriel Colman

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Sehome High School’s new building came with a class that’s fresh out of the oven. Starting this school year, students can now sign up for Nutrition and Wellness class, Culinary Arts, Exceptional Education Yoga, and become a G.R.A.D.S. Advocate. These classes all build unique life skills that reflect Sehome’s core covenants: perseverance, inclusivity, integrity, respect.  

Are you interested in becoming the next Master Chef? Or just want to know how to take care of yourself? Then Mr. Bechkowiak is at your service. Mr. Bechkowiak teaches Sehome’s Nutrition and Wellness class and Culinary Arts class. While the Nutrition and Wellness class has already started, Culinary Arts won’t start until next semester. In Nutrition and Wellness, you will learn about the importance of knowing how to prepare nutritious food. Many students value understanding how to make meals for themselves. In an interview, Mr. Bechkowiak told us that most students take his class, “So that when they…go onto college… they can cook for themselves and cook nutritional meals.” You will also be prepared to take the food handlers exam and receive your food handlers permit, paid for by the school.  

After taking Nutrition and Wellness, students may take the culinary arts class. In this class, students will explore the flavors and recipes of a diverse group of cultures, that students get to vote on. You will learn to prepare and cook delicious foods. In Culinary Arts, you will begin with simpler breakfast recipes, and move to more complicated meals that you could use for long life skills. This class focuses less on nutrition and more on the science and art of cooking, like what a student would learn in their first year of culinary arts school.  

According to those who have tasted the goods coming out of the culinary arts kitchen, the food is mouth-wateringly good. On Thursday, September 12th, Nutrition and Wellness made cookies and according to Mr. Toney, they were, “exquisite”. In the future, it is hoped that other dishes will be just as delicious.  

 Mr. Bechkowiak is teaching the importance of cooking through everything from making blueberry scones to Pad Thai. Knowing how to cook is a great way to become more independent and able to care for yourself. If you are interested in taking either of these classes, talk with your counselor. 

Students may also enroll in Mr. Hofstedt’s Exceptional Ed. Yoga class, during 6th period. They will be doing partner yoga in the mat room with some students who are a part of the life skills program. By taking this P.E. class, students can build extremely rewarding relationships. 

Starting next semester, Mr. Hofstedt hopes to modify this class so that everyone taking it is enrolled as a student (instead of students signing up as TAs). This will allow for students to earn a P.E. credit and boost their GPA a little. Activities within this class will include partner yoga and a written final. The partner yoga will be with a student from the life skill class that the other student clicks with. Hopefully, they will be able to build a connection for the semester and onward. The written final will be a report on a disability (such as Down Syndrome). This class is about having fun, making bonds, and having a positive attitude. 

When asked about the responsibility of new students to the class, Mr. Hofstedt stated, “Relationships are the foundation of a strong education”. He wants students there to help build relationships with and bridges for students with disabilities. There is also the opportunity for students to learn new perspectives and new appreciations, as people tend to do when learning about anyone they didn’t know before. These important relationships will be aided by fun, cooperative games, like soccer or basketball in small groups, and once again, a positive attitude. 

If you would like to become a student in Mr. Hofstedt’s 6th period Exceptional Ed. Yoga class, talk with your counselor. 

Lastly, students can become a G.R.A.D.S. Advocate during 4th period in the G.R.A.D.S daycare center. Students will be expected to help advocate for teen parents and help them achieve the high school experience they deserve.  

It is important to note that this is not an opportunity to babysit. This class is for students who are if you are interested in helping teen parents throughout their high school experience. Advocates are there to support the parents and help them achieve the “normal” high school experience by giving them the confidence to sign up for activities like sports and homecoming. This class can also earn students a CTE credit because they will be involved with learning and applying life skills such as financing and the importance of early literacy.  

Having a child does not mean that teen parents do not deserve a good high school experience. Some teen parents feel it is very hard to go to school events and take part in school activities because they have kids. Advocates need to be ready to contribute to a positive, supportive environment so that the parents they work with feel confident when involved with school. Ms. Wilhelm is looking for people who are loving, capable, compassionate leaders that are open to alternative situations without judgement.   

Apart from being a good friend to a fellow student, G.R.A.D.S. advocates must be open to working with Ms. Wilhelm. Communication and respecting confidentiality are a big part of this class. The parents you work with must trust you enough to be comfortable to talk about EVERYTHING. If you want to help bridge the gap between teens with and without children, talk to your counselor about becoming a G.R.A.D.S. advocate. 

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