Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Being a New Student

by Ben McKenzie (‘12)

I am a 15-year-old sophomore, who has just started at Wellsprings. Last year I went to a large public school. I was overwhelmed by the class size and workload. I had a friend who went to Wellsprings so I decided to visit.

I was turned on by the idea of small classes and minimal homework. I am very dedicated to extra-curricular activities like biking and white water kayaking, and I feel this school supports my interests.

Being part of a small school creates a sense of community that did not exist in public school. The small classes give you opportunity to have more one-on-one with the teachers and create an atmosphere where you can learn at your own pace.

Since coming to Wellsprings, I am much more engaged with what is going on in class. Chanci’s “Small Group Communication” is really cool, and I love the philosophical discussions in Tyler’s “God Who?” class.

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Photos of the Week

It has been an extremely cold week in Oregon (8 degrees!) and more students are wearing warm hats to school. In Morning Circle today, Jessica topped everyone with her "find" on eBay.

And Alex looks like she wanted to get extra close to the furry hat (or take a bite of it!).

We're looking forward to a warm-up this weekend that will bring back our winter rains to Western Oregon. Next week .... soggy hats!

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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

"Why Wellsprings?"

By Michayla Todd

Before I started high school -- before I came to Wellsprings -- I never had much trouble with academics; in fact I generally excelled in my classes. I was a reader at the early age of three, and entered kindergarten at the age of four. For the majority of my elementary years, I participated in a program known as TAG (Talented and Gifted), in which I took some classes at a higher level than the standard of my grade. So, though I never had to struggle to keep up with the rest of my class -- quite the opposite actually-- I always felt I was held back by them. I also moved around a lot, which made the participation in this program increasingly more difficult, and I strained to keep the few friends I had made.

I entered my eighth grade year as a new student yet again, and struggled with social connections throughout the school year. Though I wasn’t popular I did still finish the year with a strong 4.0 and my teachers were sure that I would succeed in high school, though they might have overestimated me a bit. As I stepped into my freshmen year at Willamette High, I became quickly irritated with the average of thirty kids per classroom, and the lack of individuality. I quickly fell victim too the all too easy routine of ditching classes. For the first time in my life, I hated school.

After being dropped from Willamette High, due to ten consecutive days of non-attendance, I discovered Wellsprings. From briefly reading a bit about the school environment I was convinced it was the place for me, this conviction was only strengthened by my visit at the school. Due to the school being full, however, I was not able to start attending until my sophomore year (last year) which was my most memorable year of school ever.

For the majority of my life, I have loved school, and been eager to learn; these feelings quickly came back to me upon entering the Wellsprings environment. I quickly fell in love with welcoming community atmosphere, and of course the fascinating course subjects that are offered. Not only did I have a whole new world of academics at my disposal, but Wellsprings also has a way of helping kids learn more about themselves, and grow in a way that encourages individuality.

Because I had been through a bit of a rough emotional year before coming to Wellsprings, I really discovered more and more about myself with each day, and each rich conversation I engaged in with both students and teachers alike. I found myself emerging from out of the school year with an entirely new attitude about myself and the life I want to live.

So after spending the majority of my freshmen, and some portion of sophomore, years partying with peers, with the help of Wellsprings and my own inner drive, I am now fully dedicated to school and writing. I am eager to learn all that the world has to offer; Wellsprings has help to open my eyes and see just how much is out there, all I have to do is reach for it.

My transition in attitude could not have been made any easier without the help that I received from all of the staff at Wellsprings. For that I want to thank everyone for truly caring about our youth and making it possible for kids who struggle with mainstream education, to have an alternative way of learning and preparing for the rest of our lives.


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