Eighth-grade students at Canyon Creek and Jemtegaard middle schools in Washougal are preparing for success at high school and in the real world through two differently specialized programs.Each is designed to help students as they develop new skills and a broader understanding of society and themselves.
The project at Canyon Creek is based on volunteerism. Students choose an area of interest, then are required to write a research paper, complete a minimum amount of volunteer hours that supports their topic, create a poster illustrating their work, and make a presentation to an audience of parents and peers.
“Students come away from this experience with the realization there is more out there in life than ‘my little world,’” said Pete Forgey, CCMS eighth-grade social studies teacher. “They benefit from the experience of working with new people and come away knowing it isn’t so scary out there. Students also realize that there are people who need help, and they can help them.”
According to Forgey, the public speaking component gives the students a sense of accomplishment.
“They have to stand in the gym with a microphone and speak to a large audience of parents and peers. They practice and practice, and in the end say, ‘Wow, I did it!’ It probably overrides everything else in the project in terms of personal growth. I’ve not lost a student yet,” he joked.
Student Morgan Goetz pursued an interest in understanding homelessness and helping families in need by handing out food with his church outreach group.