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The Oriole

The student newspaper of Augusta High School

The Oriole

The student newspaper of Augusta High School

The Oriole

Senior English class overcomes difficulties

Graphic by TiAna Arnn

Seniors tend to be concerned about the senior project they have to complete in their English classes, but for one senior English class, the concern was enhanced with switching teachers and learning a new class structure.

Former English teacher Scott Duerksen’s senior English class was transferred to English teacher Kristiana Smeltzer after Duerksen moved to Rhode Island. Smeltzer chose to take over Duerksen’s senior English class so a sub would not have to take on teaching the senior project.

“I offered to take it because I thought it would be helpful to have an experienced teacher and not a sub. At the time, we were not sure who was going to be taking over this position,” Smeltzer said. 

Smeltzer has not taught senior English in over 12 years, but English teachers Tim Laner and Becky Timberlake stepped in and helped. 

“Mrs. Timberlake and I met with her, and we shared with her all of our PowerPoints, and what we had done with our seniors, and what we had done with our senior projects up to that point,” Laner said. “We basically shared all our materials and so it was kind of  natural for her to kind of pick up where we left off.”

Senior Lizzy Priddy appreciates the change in English teachers. 

“Our last English class was not structured at all; we weren’t on top of things, and there’s  a lot of things that people got away with doing,” Priddy said. “Now that we’re in a different class with the teacher that knows what she’s doing, we’re kicking into gear and actually getting work done, and there’s no arguments at all now, and it’s so crazy.”

One of Smeltzer’s classes moved to English teacher Megan Springs because Smeltzer took over Duerksen’s senior English class. 

“I had to rearrange my schedule because the first hour on A days was my planning period, so I lost an on-grade level [sophomore] class and rearranged my schedule to make it work,” Smeltzer said. 

While Smeltzer gave up her 4A class, they moved to Springs class. Due to the transfer, Springs also gave up a junior class. 

“For me, it’s just a practical response. That way, the new teacher is able to have all junior classes. I was sad about losing my one junior class because I’ve been enjoying that. I only have one junior class left,” Springs said. 

While three of the English teachers’ schedules changed, Springs is happy about the communication with the staff. 

“I think as a department, we’re coming together and working really hard to support our kids, so it feels really good,” Springs said. 

Duerksens’ English class was behind first semester, and it caused issues for the rest of the year. 

“We’ve kind of talked about what students from his class may have missed and what would be the best way to go about fixing those holes without creating more work for the student and the teacher,” Timberlake said. 

The senior project is the main portion of senior English and Smeltzer has not taught a senior project since it was changed from a semester project to a year-long project. 

“Mrs. Timberlake and Mr. Laner have both helped create the senior project and modified it in recent years,” Smeltzer said, “which is part of why I’m having to relearn it because when I learned it before, it was the old one semester, so now I’m having to relearn how to do the year long.” 

Even though Smeltzer is re-learning how to teach the senior project, she knows a lot about it from previous years and wants the best outcome for her students. 

“I’m excited to see how it comes to fruition. I don’t want to mess it up, so I’m nervous about that a little bit,” Smeltzer said. 

Priddy is ready to start the senior project and to create a family cookbook. 

“I like cooking and like making a cookbook. That’s a life skill that I think that everybody needs because it’s cooking,” Priddy said. “I’m really excited to see what I can make and what family recipes I can combine, put in my cookbook or take out and add my own recipes in there.”


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About the Contributor
TiAna Arnn
TiAna Arnn, Reporter
Senior TiAna Arnn is a third-year reporter on The Oriole Staff. She joined The Oriole to write about activities going on in the school. She wants the website to be full of information about what is going on in the school and the community. While on staff, she enjoys talking to different people around the school and getting involved with activities going on. When she is not writing stories, she can be found playing tennis, bowling or playing pep songs with the band. She enjoys playing the clarinet, hiking and going to the lake with her family. Her plans for the future include attending college, and majoring in something in the culinary arts field.  
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