WESTFIELD – The School Committee was all about Westfield High School on Monday night. WHS Student liaisons, Aiden Chisholm and Alanna Barzola, spoke about upcoming events, including the National Honor Society Induction this Thursday evening (5:30 p.m.) for new senior and junior members, and the upcoming Spirit Week from Nov. 14 to Nov. 19. Nov. 19 is the Powder Puff Football Game, and Nov. 20 is the Homecoming dance.
Principal Charles “Chuck” Jendrysik said for his scheduled WHS presentation he wanted to have the students speak about different initiatives at the school that offer an equitable experience for all.
Morgan Thayer and Elizabeth Gentile and Developmental Learning Program students Jade Smith and Katelyn Flaherty spoke about Café Friday, a new initiative begun in the spring of last year that has continued this year. DLP students and mentors take orders on Wednesdays, bake on Thursdays, and deliver two separate baked items to teachers and staff on Fridays. This program teaches skills and promotes inclusion for all students.
Kevin Jocelyn said thanks to the Inclusive Enrollment Program (ICE) and the East Mt. Transition program he is now in his second year at Westfield State University. He said the Transition Center, which is under WHS gave him the opportunity to go to college, where he has been taking Sports Management classes. Jocelyn said he previously attended Westfield Technical Academy, where he student managed the soccer team, and was hoping to continue that into college. He said his ICE counselors at WSU helped him to make the connection there to the athletic department. “I’m happy to say I just completed my second year of student managing the Boys Soccer team,” Jocelyn said.
Jocelyn also said after volunteering for a year for the WSU Athletic Department, selling tickets, working the equipment room and keeping score at games, he was asked if he’d like a paying job in the equipment room. He accepted, and now works there 10 hours a week. “The ICE Program has given me a chance to attend college, meet great people, continue working with soccer, have a job and take classes in the field I love …sports,” Jocelyn said, adding, “Nothing better than being part of a team and the athletic community.”
Chisholm returned to the podium to speak about AP (Advanced Placement) classes in WHS. He said he took AP history as a sophomore, then continued, taking four his junior year, and five this year as a senior. He said the classes not only offer college credit opportunities and look good on resumes, “they provide deep information on topics I’m interested in.”
Chisholm said his favorite AP class to date was on statistics in his junior year, which he said was a map to the real world. He said his only regret is that he didn’t take all of the AP classes that were offered.
Asha Fisher spoke about the Pathways program. She said it is a smaller campus run by WHS for students who need extra help in succeeding in school. She said online courses are offered along with classes taught by teachers, and next week they will go on a college tour as a school.
Fisher said that Pathways helped her to get the individual attention she needed. “I’ve been there three months, and I’m excelling way more than I was in high school. Pathways is not just a school, it’s a family,” Fisher said.
Students also talked about the Westfield Promise program with Westfield State University. WHS juniors in the program are currently taking modern world history and English composition, which are being co-taught by a WSU professor and high school teacher. Juniors Madison Adamczyk and Elizabeth Clink said the classes give an insight into what college is like in smaller doses that are not overwhelming. In their senior year, students in the program will take classes at the college. “Our classmates, some didn’t think they would go to college,” the students said.
Community service is also a part of the Westfield Promise. Last year, the classes painted a mural on Meadow Street. This year, they will be doing interviews, and publishing a book. Speaking to Mayor Brian P. Sullivan and the School Committee, Adamczyk and Clink said they hope to interview some of them for the book.
Principal Jendrysik ended the presentation by saying his intention was for the School Committee to hear first-hand about some of the programs they support at WHS.