Students look forward to June Academy experiences

Julia Lawlor, Staff Writer

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After a long year of exams, homework and downright exhaustion, WHS students are given the opportunity to participate in a new and unique way of learning. June Academy allows students to choose a course that they find interesting and take advantage of experiential learning.

In 2014, the idea of June Academy first appeared after being proposed to principal Anthony Parker by a parent at a Principal’s coffee meeting. June Academy finally came to life in the 2016-2017 school year, and ever since, it has flourished with various courses.

June Academy has progressed over the years by improving the different courses offered. Senior Hannah Brown explained the reason why she believes it has been so successful.

“I think June Academy has been successful…because it allows teachers to teach random interests they have and students to take new classes, without having to worry about grades, homework, or our transcripts for college,” Brown stated.

During the last eight days of the school year, students will be traveling to foreign countries, experiencing innovative and different courses, and volunteering their time and skills to help others.

This year, numerous students are traveling to Argentina to experience many different cultural portions. For example, students will be visiting the Gaucho Ranch to see Argentinian Cowboys, which is a major part of the culture there.

Spanish teacher Nicholas Pezzote elaborated on the educational and personal experiences that students can gain from the trip.

“The Argentina trip is a cultural trip where students will be able to utilize their language skills and experience the culture. My hope is that everyone will grow an appreciation for a different culture and other people, as I want students to get exposed to different ways of life,” Pezzote said.

One of the most popular June Academy options, volunteering at Camp Sunshine in Maine, offers the chance to leave WHS. Children with life-threatening illnesses attend this camp with their families, where the goal is to give them an experience that they will never forget.

Senior Kelly Kirk commented on her experience at Camp Sunshine last year.

“Volunteering at Camp Sunshine was amazing and rewarding. The strength of the families there and the positive atmosphere was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced before. I plan on going back year after year and would recommend it to everyone,” Kirk said.

In addition, a brand new course was created this year for students to be able to travel to Martinique. There, they will be exploring the culture of different families while also experiencing the landscape.

French teacher Sophie Kulas explained why students will benefit from this new trip.

“For me, it’s really making the students understand the culture. They are also going to be able to connect with the local people and see how things are different. It generally surprises anybody, what’s different in another country,” Kulas said.

Throughout the school, students and faculty have shown their appreciation for this well-loved time of the year. Junior Katheryn Milligan explained her passion for June Academy.

“I really love how it gives me a chance to learn about things different from what is offered in school, and have the opportunity to participate in experiences that I normally never would otherwise.”

Guidance counselor Samson Luu also explains why he believes that June Academy is so successful.

“I think one of the benefits is that students can dive into courses that are atypical of the curriculum. Students are able to explore different areas of interest, and it gives students the opportunity to work with new teachers as they experience this event,” Luu commented.