AVON LAKE

Every teen’s dream to choose what they want to learn came true — to a certain extent — last week at Avon Lake High School as a part of the school’s first “You Do You Day.”

Students were able to choose from different classes, from college readiness, gardening, euchre, yoga and bullet journaling on May 19. They even got to speak with representatives from the Secret Service, FBI and DEA and military personnel.

English teacher Krystine Frisch and social studies teachers Jeremy Kirsch and Megan DeVere started the project, along with a dozen students, in October 2020 after Frisch saw the idea in a book.

“Especially with COVID and that we’ve been in person since August, they’ve missed a lot of special days that they usually have, so it’s important to get career information, as well as life skills and some mental health skills, as well,” Frisch said.

Principal Michael May saw the possibilities for the program right away. “I think what’s exciting for me as a principal about this is that you have educators and staff members who can take passions that they have… and they get the opportunity to share that with the kids,” May said. “But also for the kids, it shows their different interests outside the classroom.”

Senior Hailee Dalgleish said she likes having a day like this because students get to pursue different areas that pique their interest.

“The curriculum is so strict usually, so being able to do stuff outside the curriculum that you’re actually interested in is really good,” Dalgleish said.

One course run by teacher Christopher Wolf called “Chicken Tenders” taught students about the basics of raising chickens. Wolf owns 36 chickens and brought in four chickens for students to look at and hold.

For students like senior Emily Presley, having a day where she gets to choose her own learning, like holding one of Wolf’s chickens named Aurora, was a unique opportunity.

“It’s been a very chaotic and stressful year for everyone, so I think this is just a good day for everyone to relax and do something that they’re interested in,” Presley said.

A number of students were involved in the planning process of the “You Do You Day.” Senior John Fazio was a part of the planning process and said having days like this can teach perspective.

“A lot of people are doing fun stuff. I mean I’m playing poker this afternoon, but most people are picking at least one or two sessions where they’re hearing from professionals in fields that they want to work in or advisers from colleges they want to go to,” Fazio said.

While the day allowed students to learn more about themselves, planning the event brought an even greater learning experience for senior Jackie Grissinger, who helped teach a college readiness course to freshmen and sophomores.

“I found out more about how organized I guess I am,” Grissinger said. “I always knew that I was a pretty organized person, but this is pretty much taking it to a whole other level trying to figure out getting speakers here and getting everybody to sign up, figuring things out, what rooms we’re going to be in and all that.”

Grissinger said she doesn't know any schools in the area that have done days like this and hopes the school continues to hold this program in the future.

“The one thing that everybody’s always like is, ‘School doesn’t teach us anything for life,’ and so now we actually are, so it was just nice to be able to be a part of that,” Grissinger said.

Contact this reporter at mheideman@westlifenews.com or 440-871-5797.

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