#1StudentNWI: La Porte adds new 5th Grade music class

#1StudentNWI: La Porte adds new 5th Grade music class
By: Allison Glen Last Updated: September 15, 2019

Teacher Spotlight

A new face in the foreign language department has been slowly learning his way around not only LPHS, but the City of La Porte, too. 

Brandon Jones is the new Spanish teacher who took current La Porte Middle School Spanish teacher, Mrs. Bockhorst’s spot. This school year is his very first teaching job ever.

Jones is originally from Mt. Vernon, Indiana, where he attended secondary school at Mt. Vernon High School. He took his education to a new level when he began his college years at Murray State University located in Murray, Kentucky.

The many different cultures in Latin America and Spain sparked his interest in continuing his education in Spanish at a college level. 

Because he took Spanish in college, he was given the opportunity to live in Spain for a month, and he also spent time in El Salvador for a week. 

“I enjoyed learning about the history of Spain,” Jones said. “It was cool seeing all of these old churches, cathedrals, buildings, and castles in person. Trust me, it's different seeing it in person than in a textbook.” 

He loves learning about the culture and the fact that he was able to live in the country really broadened his knowledge on it. Now, he is able to merge his past experiences into his lectures at LPHS.

Even though Jones is unfamiliar with the area, he has felt an endless amount of embracement from the staff at La Porte High School since the day he first started.

“I love how supportive everyone has been,” Jones said. “Being new to the community, I don't know very many people and everyone has been so welcoming and supportive.”

He has loved his first year of teaching, but like all teachers, they need breaks too. Outside of his classroom, Jones enjoys zumba, playing piano, singing, and traveling.

LPHS is more than excited to see all of the wonderful concepts and content Jones will continue teaching his students!

Student Spotlight

Corrine Kelley, a Slicer standout since day one of freshman year, is finishing up her final year at LPHS in a special way.

Many seniors finish their high school career by taking the easy way out and pulling back on motivation, but Kelley is not an average senior.

She thrives in school, taking many challenging classes. She is currently in AP Calculus, Spanish, Expository Writing, and Natural Resources classes, and she is even in a program that allows her to take half days. 

The ICE program is available to high school students who are interested in on-the-job training. This program helps students gain experience in a job related to their career goal. Kelley has spent her year doing half days and participating in the adventure of the ICE program.

In addition to taking half days and all of the incredibly difficult classes, Kelley has also been a lead manager at Burger King for two years.

She carries this leadership role to school as she was also named the FFA president for the 2019-2020 school year. 

“I love FFA and agriculture classes,” Kelley said. “People often believe in the stereotype that FFA is just a group of racist, sexist, and homophobic people. I wanted to become president to change that stereotype.” 

With her final year of high school just beginning, she has been working on deciding what her plans are after leaving LPHS.

“I want to either go to college at IU South Bend to become a dental hygienist or an actuary,” Kelley said. “If that doesn’t work out, or if I change my mind, I might join the military.”

At the end of the day, Kelley appreciates LPHS and all the valuable lessons it has taught her.

“The most valuable lesson I have learned throughout high school is that change is good,” Kelley said. “Taking new classes and trying new experiences is what high school is all about.”

No matter what Slicers decide to do after finishing high school, they will always be a Slicer, and Kelley is a prime example of what it means to be just that.

What’s coming up?

La Porte High School will be holding auditions for their annual fall play on September 18 and 19 in the Performing Arts Center. The director of the play, Richard Snyder, does not require the auditioners to attend both days. 

Any La Porte High School student who is willing to step out of their comfort zones is able to try out for a role. During the audition, it is expected that the performer is able to get on stage and read a script, sounding confident, making clear eye contact, and really owning the role. 

To change it up this year, Snyder decided to produce a version of Frankenstein. 

“The play and the novel explore the limits to humanity's control of our natural world,” Snyder said.

The undecided cast will make their debut of the show November 22 and 23 at 7:30 p.m. and November 24 at 2:00 p.m.

What’s been happening?

Kesling Intermediate School has gone through many exciting changes this past year, and the recent adjustment to fifth grade music is one of many positive changes on the list.

Instead of the fifth grade class taking music once every week, students now take it every day for six weeks. Once the six weeks are over, they move on to taking another art or computer class.

With the music class, students are given the opportunity to advance their knowledge of instruments. They learn about the band or orchestra instruments, and the students who prefer choir are able to learn how to use their voice.

There are four sections of fifth grade choir and music classes, and there are also four instrumental band classes, with roughly 25 students in each section.

The fifth graders have handled the change well as they’ve been adjusting to the new class nicely.

“The fifth graders are so excited to learn! They have been a joy to teach,” said Mrs. Sullivan, La Porte Middle School Band Director. “I love teaching them as 5th graders, but I am even more excited for them to join our performing classes in 6th grade.”

The main idea behind the new music class is to educate and communicate the different sounds instruments make, so that students are prepared to decide on an instrument to pursue with actual reasoning behind it.

“I think in previous years a lot of students chose an instrument because their sister played it or because they thought it looked cool,” Sullivan said. “Now, they will choose an instrument knowing more about how sound is produced, what feels good to them, and what sounds they find most appealing.” 

The teachers have tried to have a more hands-on approach with the students. In the instrumental music class, the beginning musicians have been learning how to produce a sound with rubber bands, strings, balloons, and even a PVC pipe. 

The students in the choir class play games, talk about note names and rhythms, and work on a song.

“This batch of 5th graders are currently working on the piece, ‘Raining Tacos.’ We are having a blast!” said Carey Scheck, La Porte Middle School Choir Director.

With students diving into the music program at such an early age, the La Porte Community Schools music programs are going to be even stronger.