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The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

The Student Voice of Forest Hills Central

The Central Trend

Seminar periods work to have meaningful discussions within FHC’s community about its culture

Ella Peirce
One of the slides from the first seminar period showcasing the One hat ideas that they focus on.

Unfortunately, the format and structure of education as we know it does not include much time for debating over whether a hot dog is a sandwich or not.

Luckily, FHC has set aside a tiny yet effective portion of time for such discussions to occur, and sophomore Colton Comiskey is thrilled to have this opportunity.

“We haven’t been able to participate in many of these sessions so far,” Colton said, “but I remember one [where] the teacher had [the game] ‘Would you rather?’ on the screen. My peers and I got to discuss each option and debate which would be the best in a kind, respectful manner.”

This occurred during the seminar periods that take place every other Wednesday, during first hour, for 25 minutes. While there are times with fun happenings, such as the game Colton described, the main idea of these periods is to educate students on fundamental concepts that go beyond typical education.

These periods are a new opportunity that is being implemented this year, and Principal Steve Passinault believes that they have already begun to augment the non-academic principles that FHC’s teachers instill into students.

“There were things that we wanted to be able to work with students on and educate students on that we didn’t really set aside time during a regular school day to be able to do,” Passinault said. “[Such as] things that we think are important [like] the values and characteristics of responsibility and respect and all of those things. We know teachers teach every day through their normal teaching, but zeroing in and focusing on some of those things [was an inspiration for these periods].”

This time that has been set aside is being used very well. The seminar periods only take a small amount of time from each class—with the exception of fourth hour—but leave a significant impact on students.

The simple attribute of a change in students’ schedules is also a facet of the periods. Students get to use this additional time to reflect on their lives and relate to other students, all while working outside the traditional curriculum.

They let us talk about stuff [that’s] on a more personal level, rather than just [about] academic stuff, which makes me feel more connected to my teachers and to my peers.

— Colton Comiskey

“I think the seminar periods give us a well-needed break from the regular school schedule,” Colton said. “They let us talk about stuff [that’s] on a more personal level, rather than just [about] academic stuff, which makes me feel more connected to my teachers and to my peers.”

Any time that students and staff are able to talk and learn about life apart from academics, there is growth that occurs.

Students and teachers alike have felt the positive effect of these conversations. French teacher Laurie Van Houten has been able to connect with students in a way that she hadn’t before through these exchanges.

“We had some really great discussions about respect,” Van Houten said. “I was really impressed by my students’ willingness to share and listen to others.”

At the heart of the seminar periods are discussions about qualities that everyone should possess in the real world; this impact remains with students beyond their years at FHC.

“When you get students to have discussions around these topics like respect, responsibility, humility, and all the other One Hat ideas, I think it’s a benefit,” Passinault said, “because adults in the world can talk about those things. I think when you’re having conversations with your peers, it’s much more impactful.”

Through these periods, FHC has once again shown its ability to teach its students more than just the curriculum. The application of these periods allows for community building through discussion in an advantageous way.

“I think anytime we can dialogue and learn more about others it builds respect and empathy,” Van Houten said. “There is nothing more important than that in life.”

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About the Contributor
Ella Peirce
Ella Peirce, Copy Editor
Ella is a sophomore who is delighted to be returning to The Central Trend for a second year. Ella has been a competitive figure skater for as long as she can remember, and she also plays volleyball. Her other interests include hanging out with her friends, listening to music, rewatching her favorite sitcoms, reorganizing her Pinterest boards, and spending time with her pet bunny. She is endlessly excited for this year on staff and cannot wait to continue growing her love for writing. Favorite sitcom: Community Favorite stories to write: Columns and Reviews Current favorite rom-com: 500 Days of Summer

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