Lakeview High School seniors learn life skills in class

By Meghan Nelson • Last Updated 2:36 pm on Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Jeremiah Ropoleski, 17, far left, presented the retirement options ChrisBruggema, on right, was going over with his academic center class. Thursday night, Ropoleski presented what he has been learning in academic center classes to Lakeview Board of Education. — Daily News/Meghan Nelson

LAKEVIEW — Lakeview High School wants its seniors to be prepared to enter the workforce, a trade school or college after graduation.

In order to better accomplish that goal, the high school changed its seniors academic center (AC) classes to better prepare students for skills they will need after graduation.

“What we decided to do this year with our seniors is give an opportunity to learn skills they can use when they go to college, trade school or in the workforce,” math teacher Chris Bruggema said.

According to High School Principal Tom Wilcox, he and along with the other AC teachers began to brainstorm last year about how to change the class to better prepare students.

“(Seniors) aren’t taking the SAT. They’re getting ready to enter the real world,” Wilcox explained the reason to use the class to incorporate life skills.

Kelsey Rossett, 17, presents her resume she fine-tuned during senior academic center.

Four Lakeview High School teachers teach four different sections of the AC class. Students take a nine-week course on one subject and then rotate to a different topic.

Bruggema teaches high school seniors about banking, credit, loans and retirement. English teacher Christian Smith teaches students how to write a well-formatted college or job application essay. Spanish teacher Delaina Friedman goes over how to fill out college and job applications. Physical education and health teacher Ryan Vellanti teaches students how to create or improve their resumes.

“I started out with banking in Mr. Bruggema’s class,” Jeremiah Ropoleski, 17, said while presenting to Lakeview Board of Education members Thursday. “As an activity, we had to choose a dream car.”

Ropoleski chose a brand new sports car with a price tag of $1.5 million. He discovered that even if he could afford a $50,000 down payment a five-year loan would cost him $27,000 a month, including interest but excluding insurance.

During the nine-week finance section, Bruggema also covered topics such as the pros and cons of 401ks, 403bs, pension plans and Roth IRAs and when to invest in those plans.

After being in the three of the four rotations, Ropoleski realized how he could have done more academic activities to improve his resume and scholarship applications. He did have experience with sports and helped create the climate team, which aims to improve the atmosphere at the high school.

“I did a lot of volunteering with volleyball, basketball and track meets even though I wasn’t part of NHS (National Honor Society),” Ropoleski said. “It’s nice to a part of the community.”

Kelsey Rosset, 17, presented with Ropoleski on her experiences with the senior AC class and showed board members the resume the class helped her improve.

“In the health sciences program at the (Montcalm Area) Career Center last year, this was required of us, but Mr. Vellanti helped me to make it a stronger resume,” Rosset said.

Her resume includes her work experience as a babysitter, hostess and barista. She also listed her clinical experience with various local hospitals and long-term care facilities, which she completed as part of the health sciences program at the career center. Rosset also had multiple academic awards as well as experience in sports and student government.

Jeremiah Ropoleski, 17, and Kelsey Rossett, 17, presented what they had learned in senior academic center classes to the Lakeview Board of Education.

“You’re teaching kids how to fill out applications and loans and stuff like that,” Lakeview School Board Treasurer Jack Jeppesen told Bruggema. “I think this is one thing we’re lacking in schools right now.”

Trustee Jeff Kurtze suggested adding job interviews to the list of skills taught in the class.

By the end of senior year, the goal is for seniors to have the skills to be ready for college, trade school or the workforce. The projects from all the rotations and stored as an electronic portfolio for students to be able to take with them after graduation.

“(The class) has been very beneficial,” Wilcox said. “They’ve learned a lot, and it’s helped them get organized. It gets them thinking about what’s next and stepping towards college, the military, trade school or the workforce.”

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