Two OHS African-American studies classes hosted a panel of Owensboro African-American leaders from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. in the OHS media center on Tuesday, March 7. OHS students are currently reading about the use of the “n” word in their African-American studies class.
The idea for the topic is based on two articles, Leonard Pitts Jr.’s “N-word Keeps Spreading with Stubborn Insistence” and Allen Francis’ “The “N” Word, It Just Slips Out.”
“It’s so important to expose our students to leaders in the community. I think an outside influence always provides a good learning opportunity,” said Lori Thurman, OHS Teacher.
The panel guests were Owensboro NAACP President Rev. Rhondalyn Randolph, City Commissioner Pamela Smith-Wright, attorney Dion Moorman and Owensboro Middle School Principal Cheri Smith.
OIA students taught physics lessons to all five Owensboro Public Schools’ elementary school fourth graders. On Monday, each OPS elementary school fourth grade class taught the lesson they learned to another OPS elementary school fourth grade class in what school officials are calling the Science Olympics.
“It’s been an absolute joy to watch our students teach OPS fourth graders different science labs. What’s incredible is the OIA students wrote the lessons themselves and came up with the hands-on activities,” said Beth Benjamin, OIA principal.
The lessons include marshmallow shooters and catapults, color with CD spectroscopes, telegraphs, rockets and sound by making instruments.
“We believe there’s no better way to teach a science lesson than by doing a project that shows how the lesson is applied in the real world,” said Stephanie Gray, OIA facilitator.
OIA students were on hand to help the fourth graders with the lessons.
Sutton’s chorus performed and their drama troupe did comedy sketches throughout the evening. Art projects were also showcased. School officials cut a ceremonial ribbon to officially open the space. Sutton Elementary has been and is a special place for anyone who has connections to the school. Over the past year, the school has undergone some major renovations and students and staff wanted to showcase their new, state-of-the art facility to the public.
“We are thrilled to partner with KWC to offer an opportunity where our students will get exposure to not only a college athletic event, but an overall collegiate experience,” said Dr. Nick Brake, OPS superintendent.
There will be several announcements during both games highlighting the Owensboro Public Schools and all of the programs OPS offers. At halftime of both games, several students will be recognized for various achievements. KWC will have an Admissions booth available at the games. All students and parents are encouraged to stop by to learn more about KWC.
“Kentucky Wesleyan College is thrilled to sponsor this event and partner with OPS. We welcome this opportunity to showcase our phenomenal academic programs and extra-curricular activities to our area schools and community. I hope everyone will visit our admissions booth and take a moment to learn about all the great things going on at Wesleyan,” said Jeremy Pittman, Vice President of Admissions.
Members of the Owensboro High School Chorus program will perform the National Anthem before the men’s game. Owensboro High School cheerleaders will cheer for both games. Both teams play Trevecca Nazarene University. The women play at 1 p.m. The men play at 3:15 p.m.
“I wanted to encourage the Parent Teacher Organization to take on a fundraising event that promotes health and exercise for our students and parents. The bike rodeo is the perfect fit,” said Steve Bratcher, Newton Parrish principal.
“The timing of the event couldn’t be better with summer just around the corner. We want to make sure that students’ bikes are in good shape and that they know how to ride their bikes in the safest way possible,” said Katy Harrison, Newton Parrish teacher.
Over $200 was raised for the March of Dimes.
The open house is specifically for eighth-graders and their parents to come check out what OIA is all about. OIA currently serves students in Daviess County and Hancock County.
“Right now we are in the recruiting phase at our school. Myself and current OIA students have been visiting area middle schools to tell students about OIA. Hosting an open house is even more beneficial as it allows the students and their parents an opportunity to come check us out,” said Beth Benjamin, OIA director.
The Owensboro Innovation Academy is a small stand-alone high school where students learn through project-based learning. OIA is in its second year of existence and is the only New Tech Network affiliated school in Kentucky. You must start at OIA your freshman year. New students are selected using a stratified lottery that reflects the population of their home high school. If you’re interested in applying to be a student, you can pick up an application at your middle school or call OIA at (270) 686-1085 and the school will send you one via email.
“Traditional high school isn’t for everybody. I’m thankful to get the opportunity to attend a school that’s designed to best meet how I learn,” said Hannah Clark, OIA student.
The incoming junior class at OIA can begin taking courses at Brescia this fall. Degree options include: Associate of Arts in Integrated Studies, Associate of Science in Integrated Studies, Associate of Science in Health Science and Associate of Science in Engineering Studies.
“At just $90 a class, this gives our students an incredible opportunity to further their education. We cannot thank Brescia enough for offering this prospect for our students,” said Dr. Nick Brake, OPS Superintendent.
“When the Owensboro Innovation Academy presented this partnership to us, we felt it to be a perfect fit. Our institutions share the same intimate, one-on-one learning experience that caters to the educational needs of each student,” stated Father Larry Hostetter, President of Brescia University. “We admire the innovative educational approach that OIA provides students, and we are honored to be an extension of that educational experience. By taking classes at Brescia University, our hope is that the students at OIA will benefit from direct learning at the collegiate academic level that will allow them to seamlessly transition into college and find success in their lives,” added Father Larry.
The partnership will also allow all OIA students to use the new health complex that is currently under construction at Brescia.
“Our students will get to use brand new facilities as part of a comprehensive wellness plan for each student. This ensures that our students are not only getting a quality education in STEM fields, but will hopefully improve their overall health,” said Beth Benjamin, OIA principal.
“From day one, Brescia has opened it doors to OIA students and staff to offer unique spaces for different learning activities. This exciting announcement is another example of two education entities working together to produce the best options for the students of our shared community,” said Owens Saylor, DCPS Superintendent.
Brescia will also allow OIA to use some of its chemistry lab space making it easier to offer more science classes.
"Right now we are meeting with Brescia leaders and are hammering out all of the details of the new opportunity. We will host a parent information night on May 22 at 6 p.m. at OIA to let parents and students know what the next steps are to starting their degree,” added Benjamin.