Courtesy St. John the ApostleSt. John the Apostle students create stained glass.
Courtesy St. John the Apostle
St. John the Apostle students create stained glass.
OREGON CITY — This year, middle school students at St. John the Apostle School are exploring areas of study through an elective offered each week. Classes to choose from include Lego robotics, fitness fun, creative writing, advanced art, organizational skills, world music choir, stained-glass painting and study hall.

Stephanie Pack, middle school English language arts teacher, said the electives are a vital part of students’ academic experience because “choosing has an automatic aspect that targets both student interest and motivation.”

Mary Haluska, vice principal and a physical education teacher, said it’s fun to see the students interacting with kids from different grades in activities that they have chosen.

The elective classes are open to all students in sixth, seventh and eighth grades and offer opportunities to delve into areas of interest. The teachers also are excited to share their interests and skills with students.
Keaton Bright, a seventh-grader, said she loves Lego robotics and hopes it “helps us learn things we will use in the future like construction, problem-solving or programing. I may want to go into aeronautical engineering and I think it will help with ideas,” she added.
Classmate Aidan McNiece said the electives “widen the variety of things we can learn about and help us explore new things so we know if we want to do more of it in the future.”

“I feel like the electives have given us more creative outlets; we can really express ourselves and dive deeper into what we like because we get to pick and have extra time to do it,” said Eleanor Ramsey, in the eighth grade.

Seventh-grader Kira Pierce said she feels the electives are a “fun time to explore new and exciting things and learn about things we may not have known about.”

“I love walking around to the different elective classes and seeing the students so engaged in their learning,” says Erica Pyne, principal. “It’s wonderful going from the fitness fun and world music, where they are active and full of energy, to the almost-silent creative writing and stained-glass painting classes. I get to know them better as individuals from the classes they choose and how they interact in those settings.”