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2news • Eight cadets assigned to the Falcon Battalion participated in the Army JROTC Leadership and Academic Bowl on Jan. 15. Academic cadets include sophomore Shelby Merrell and juniors Devin Esslinger, Sergio Islas and Leah Schnell. Leadership cadets include juniors Kevin Mundy, Rachel Lund, Holly Armstrong and Chris Keesee. The event focused on leadership traits and academic knowledge obtained through JROTC. The cadets promoted the JROTC program to parents of Rugby’s eighth grade students at the Rugby Parent Night on Feb. 8. All cadets assigned to the Falcon Battalion will also host the annual JROTC Essay Contest to promote skills in building leadership and character on Feb. 28. • Foreign Language Club members cooked jumbalaya for Mardi Gras on Tuesday. They are also preparing for the foreign language competition at Western Carolina University on March 23. • National Honor Society will induct new members in late February. • FFA members will participate in the district shooting tournament on March 20. They will enter a livestock contest on April 1. • Skills USA members will participate in regional competition at Blue Ridge Community College on Feb. 23. They continued their food drive until Jan. 31 and collected more than 1,101 lbs. of food to donate to Rescue Mission, Interfaith Ministry and the Salvation Army.

Photo by Chelsea Blanton

Clubs plan ahead for spring

Start to Finish

Photo by Eric Schreck

In Flight

wingspan • february 19, 2010

Pop Mix Talking on the radio, senior Matt VanWingerden (above) completes the required 15 mentor hours for his graduation project. VanWingerden decided to do his project at WHKP in Hendersonville. Conducting a science experiment in Haley Watkins’ biology class, sopho-

mores Laura Whitaker, Shelby McLennan and Briana Stallings (above right) place Mentos in different brands of soda to test variations in how high the soda spews. Biology I is one of the five end-of-course exams required to graduate.

State’s graduation requirements implemented for Class of 2010 Hailey Robinson Asst. Entertainment Editor


enior Autumn Raby nervously walked into a classroom where four adults sat waiting. She would be presenting her graduation project to them in an eight to 10-minute presentation with a Powerpoint slideshow. The judges would not only be grading Raby on her project, but also on her use of language and other presentation skills. “I chose graphic design for my graduation project. There was a lot of preparation that went into completing it,” Raby said. “I had to find a mentor and then work out a schedule that worked for both of us so I could get my required 15 hours.” In October 2004, the North Carolina State Board of Education approved new high school graduations requirements for students entering ninth grade for the first time in the 2006-2007 school year. The new requirements were referred to as “exit standards,” and if a student did not meet the standards, then he or she could not re-

ceive a diploma. is a retest that takes place. Beyond that, The exit standards established by the in years past, there has been a second policy included scoring a Level III or IV on retest. The second may not be an option five N.C. end-of-course exams — English this year,” Shannon Auten, senior guidI, Algebra I, Civics and ance counselor, said. Economics, Biology and “Eventually, it will go Instead of a U.S. History — and sucto what is called a portteacher being able cessfully completing a folio. This is where a graduation project. committee looks at the to teach what he The Class of 2010 work the student has or she feels is most is the first class to fall completed during the important, they under the exit standard class in order to deterpolicy with one excepmine whether or not he are sometimes tion; in June 2009 the or she has met the exit more inclined to N.C. General Assembly standards.” teach areas that delayed the statewide imSince there is such a plementation of the N.C. major focus on state are likely to be on Graduation Project until end-of-course tests, the test. at least the fall of 2011. Auten said some teach The General Assemers feel pressured to Shannon Auten bly allowed local school teach only a certain guidance counselor systems, including the curriculum. Henderson County Public Schools, to re“I believe that instead of a teacher being quire graduation projects. able to teach what he or she feels is most “If a student does not receive a Level important, they are sometimes more inIII or IV on the end-of-course exam there clined to teach in the areas that are likely

to be on the test,” Auten said. Currently, West students complete their graduation project over the course of one semester in their English IV class. They choose a topic to work with a mentor on as well as a related topic for a documented research paper. Students are required to spend 15 hours with a mentor and then create a portfolio documenting those hours. The last part of the project is a presentation of the student’s experience before a fourperson jury. “For six years the seniors at West have participated in graduation projects with great success,” English Department Chair Brenda Gorsuch said. “I am very glad the General Assembly realized that schools with strong programs should be allowed to continue. I truly believe the project is the single-most important curriculum change in the past 25 years that I have taught at West. It provides a real-life experience that you cannot get from multiple choice tests. It stresses skills that every high school graduate should have.”

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