'Different ways to shine'
LOHS seniors Mitchell Moos and Jack Kehoe hold town hall on technical-vocational classes
When Mitchell Moos came to Lake Oswego High School from Sunset High School in Beaverton, he loved his teachers and fellow students but something was missing.
At his previous school, Moos had access to classes such as computer programming and photography. Now in his senior year, Moos and fellow student Jack Kehoe are working to bring professional-technical training to LOHS, too.
Kehoe and Moos established the Committee for Professional Technical Training (CPT) in their Political Action Seminar class. PAS is an elective that affords juniors and seniors the chance to spearhead projects to develop citizenship and leadership skills.
Moos and Kehoe are using PAS as a springboard to bring more hands-on learning opportunities to their school. They successfully recruited local leaders to a town hall last week, including Superintendent Heather Beck, Mayor Kent Studebaker, LOHS educators, several city council members and several school board members.
Before Measure 5 limited property tax revenues and reduced funding for schools, Moos told the crowd, Lake Oswego had a strong vocational-technical curriculum, offering the life skills and job skills students need to be successful.
Measure 5 resulted in drastic cuts in educational offerings, he said. Its been two decades since this happened, and I think the time for change is now.
Kehoe, a senior, said he hopes the town hall will raise awareness and bring about discussion to create change. It seemed to do just that when the young men asked attendees at several tables to begin discussing the issue, using a list of prompts.
At one table, City Councilor Skip ONeill told three teens and a parent that work experience is important and many students graduate without it, making it difficult to find a job. At another table, LOHS sophomore Daylee Shaw said shed love to have a finance class.
I could really use finance, because as you get older, its something you really need to focus on, Shaw said.
A few tables away, senior Kayla Allen said theres a hole in her education.
I have no idea how to balance a checking account, she said, and next year Im going to college.
Senior Jessica Gardner said that whatever the vocational-technical curriculum is, it should be required. Otherwise, some students could shunt it aside in favor of A.P. classes that look sharp on a college transcript.
Freshman Wooyeon Kim said a graphic design class in high school would put her a step ahead in college, and that taking such classes outside of school can be spendy.
Theres a lot of people who probably cant afford to take outside classes, Kim said.
After listening to one student, LOHS Assistant Principal Brian Crawford said he agreed that technical-vocational classes would offer something to students who may not excel in core academics.
There are so many different ways to shine, Crawford said.
Moos and Kehoe said PAS teacher Andrew Duden was instrumental in helping them bring together so many diverse voices. Duden said he has experience guiding other students through projects. Hes helped with many a town hall, including one on school safety and another on whether to have an LOHS Gay-Straight Alliance. (Now there is one.)
Duden said Moos and Kehoe have impressed him through the whole process, from founding the Committee for Professional Technical Training to the town hall.
These guys were really fired up about it, Duden said. Theyre also really articulate. I think it helps that they have a natural charm and are good at speaking in front of a group.
Lake Oswego School Board Chairwoman Liz Hartman said she enjoyed Moos and Kehoes presentation and the chance to hear what students need.
How often do you get to sit and talk with students and look at something where there is a need for change? she said. Dont you think everyones going to jump at the chance? Everythings doable if you find the right time and place.
For more information on Committee for Professional Technical Training, visit www.lakeoswegocpt.blogspot.com.