The student newspaper of Augusta High School

The Oriole

The student newspaper of Augusta High School

The Oriole

The student newspaper of Augusta High School

The Oriole

New teachers adapt to their environment

Photo by Martin Epperson Jr.
English Teacher Kristine Price helps freshman Dakota Stillwell and Owen Schaefer with their work. The students were working on a worksheet over a video over The Odyssey they finished in class.

A new school year means several new changes, one of which is a change in the staff. Several new teachers have started working at the school, which means many students do not know who they are.

Jobs for American Graduates-Kansas (JAG-K) was previously taught by Former JAG-K specialists Ashley Gull and Christina Pray who have since left their positions to do other things. Gull took another job and Pray received a promotion and became the JAG-K Region 4 Manager. The positions were soon taken by former paraprofessional Andrea Pletcher who became the JAG-K specialist in the morning classes while Mindy McCormick former history teacher at Friends University and substitute teacher, became the JAG-K specialist for the afternoon classes.

“I was a para up here for five years, and so I saw the work that Ms. Pray was doing, and then Ms. McCormick too, and that was amazing,” Pletcher said. “I wanted to, hopefully, be a positive change in somebody’s life, So I applied, and I was fortunate enough to get the job.” 

McCormick applied to help students and see them change for the better and help them achieve their goals. 

“I want to help kind of open up the world for the rest of my students and show them experiences or opportunities that they didn’t even know existed,” McCormick said.

The English department also had two teachers fill teaching positions. Among these teachers is first-year English teacher Kristine Price. She enjoys being able to see her students grow as people and encourage others.

“I really enjoy the kids,” Mrs. Price said. “They are funny, they’re kind, and I love to see them build each other up when they see someone who has struggled reading out loud. They encourage them, and that really warms my heart to see that.”

The other new English teacher Scott Duerksen, who taught four years in Humbolt, has some goals he would like to carry out over the course of the school year.

“I would like for my kids to improve their writing skills,” Mr. Duerksen said. “I’d also like for them to improve their reading skills, but I would especially like them to prove their public speaking skills.”

The business department also had to fill a position before school started. Ericson Brown, who graduated from AHS in the year 2020, enjoys being able to build relationships with his students and helping them whenever he can.

“I’m more interested in building relationships with students,” Brown said. “Helping a kid through a bad time is more important than necessarily learning.”

Brown was not the only teacher who wanted to build a positive environment. Tony Mark, a Special Ed Teacher who previously taught at Inman for 9 years and McPherson for 1 year, is excited to build positive relationships with his students, which he was not able to do at his previous job

“At my last school, I didn’t have very many kids in my classroom,” Mark said. “Here I have a lot of kids.”

Not all of the new teachers are exactly new. Math teacher Jayson Schwinn worked as a math teacher for 8 years, then became the gifted coordinator for 4 years before returning to a regular classroom as a math teacher. 

“I’ve done it for a long time and had a short switch to something else,” Schwinn said. “I’m glad to be back.”

Librarian Megan Vittitow is also new to the school, for more information on her and the library click here.

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About the Contributor
Martin Epperson Jr.
Sophomore Martin Epperson Jr. is a first-year reporter for The Oriole. Initially, he was not planning on joining the staff but when the opportunity was given, he joined and is excited for the year ahead. When he is not in class, he can be found performing in school drama productions, spending time with friends, playing video games, drawing and serving as a Dungeon Master for the school's D&D Club. After high school, he plans on attending college and becoming a comic book artist or the mayor of Augusta.
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