When this year’s seniors were put to the test, they proved their ability to adapt to any change that came their way. They took on Common Core, the changed NC State final exams and the move of Civics and Economics to their senior year.
“It was fun to be the class who tried new things.” student body president Sammi Stanley said. “I think it helped us learn how we work best and what tests we work better on, computer-wise or handwritten.”
The Civics and Economics class, taught by Frank Gerard and Vanessa Price, has been one of the most beneficial classes according to about 40 percent of the senior class. Civics and Economics had previously been taught to underclassmen in the years past until eventually making its way to the senior class.
“I think any student is going to appreciate a class that is more along the lines of their daily lives or at least what you see on the news. I think seniors especially should be aware of that,” Gerard said. “It was an excellent decision. Not every county in North Carolina teaches it to seniors, but we made the decision and the county office made the decision to do that. It makes a lot of sense because that’s the age at which you’re voting and that’s the age where you get your first credit card. It’s a lot of the stuff that seniors are experiencing for the first time.”
The move of courses to a different year wasn’t the only change that happened during their four years at West. Common Core was fully implemented the sophomore year of the Class of 2016. The new math classes used techniques to help students understand the real world use of the equations they were learning.
The NC State final exams also changed multiple times during the seniors four years at West. The English exam had begun to be given online instead of on paper and the math classes changed their exams from the traditional Algebra and Geometry questions to more Math I and Math II based questions.
While the seniors were learning new skills and techniques, they were also learning how to be different with their own personalities and character.
“Our graduating class stands out because we have so many unique people,” senior class president Izzy Denman said. “It has also been the most productive year in terms of growing closer as a school.”
Valedictorian Leah Dorn agrees that the Class of 2016 has a lot of unique individuals. Although Dorn didn’t attend West for all of her four years of high school, she has come to view the school as a home.
“Coming to West from another school I didn’t know what to expect,” Dorn said. “But everyone here was so nice and accepting and really made this place a home for me.”
Stanley also feels that the Class had a lot of unique individuals emerge as leaders.
“Everyone is very confident in themselves and we have a lot of great leaders in our class,” Stanley said. “Although we have many different people with many different talents, we are unified under a common cause to increase the spirit of West Henderson High School and to make a positive impact on the community.”
Looking back at their high school career, the seniors remember the friends they made, the games they won, and the junior and senior proms they attended. One event that will always be remembered is the Katy Perry Roar video that the whole school came together to create.
“My favorite memory would have to be the Roar video,” Stanley said. “That was a really great experience, and we all came together as a family.”
As the graduating class moves on to a life after high school, they look forward to their future. Most seniors plan on attending a four-year college or two-year college, but a few are planning on entering the workforce or military.
“I am very enthusiastic about my future,” Denman said. “ All the paths that I have taken so far have led me to exactly what I want to do..“
The seniors have learned a lot from their four years at West, and they are ready to begin the next step. They have made it through high school, but looking back it has all gone by too fast.
“I think West has prepared me for my next step in my educational journey, and the teachers here have really taught me how to be prepared,” Stanley said. “But don’t wish high school away because in a minute you are going to be graduating.”
The graduating class leaves behind their mark as students who have loved and supported everyone that has come through their school.
“Something that’s always stood out to me about this class is that there are so many genuinely good people in it,” Dorn said. “I am always surprised by the love and support that has come out of this community.”