New Tech High a good challenge

August 27th, 2012

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Last updated: August 27, 2012 10:06 a.m.

New Tech High a good challenge

Specialized center at Wayne now serves all 4 grades

Vivian Sade | The Journal Gazette

New Tech High School is fast-paced and challenging, but students think the end result will speak for itself.

This is the fourth year for New Tech, which is housed at Wayne High School, and the first year the center has been open to all four grade levels.

“It’s a lot of stress, but it’s a good challenge,” said Aye Aye, 16, a senior at New Tech. “In the end, we will be ready for life after high school.”

The students hit the floor running on the first day Aug. 20, attending cultural discovery classes and college and career readiness workshops, said Liz Bryan, director of New Tech.

Working in a project-based learning environment allows the students to be creative and learn to work with others as they collaborate on projects that require critical thinking and communication, Bryan said.

In an integration of English and biology classes, students in New Tech’s biocom class, for example, read “The Secret Lives of Bees” and then learned about the disappearance of honeybees, Bryan said.

Aye, who came to New Tech as a freshman from Miami Middle School, has vastly improved her social skills, she said. Those skills will give her an advantage as she pursues her goal of attending NYU and studying world languages and biology, she said.

Junior Paul Wiedeman, 16, also came to the center from Miami Middle School two years ago.

The students and teachers work on projects together, and he sees everyone as “one big family,” he said.

But that doesn’t mean the teachers take it easy on the students.

“They push us to do our best,” Wiedeman said. “If we are completing assignments too easily, they will move us up to the next level.”

Senior Kelsey Lilly, 17, came from Elmhurst High School two years ago.

“This school prepares us for the real world,” Lilly said, “whether that world includes college or the workforce.”

At a typical high school, the classes involve working alone and doing lots of paperwork, Lilly said. “We work on everything together,” Lilly said. “We are really close.”

New Tech was the first high school tech center in the area, opening in fall 2009. Students are selected through a lottery.

Others schools soon followed Wayne’s lead, including Whitley County Consolidated Schools, Huntington County Schools, Lakeland School Corp., Adams Central Community Schools and DeKalb Central United School District.

Indiana has the largest concentration of tech schools in the nation, with 23 schools, compared to 12 in California, 14 in Texas and two in Illinois.