Sophomore Staff Writer, Amith Jagannath
Every student looks for the opportunity to expand their knowledge with four new classes every semester at Voyager Academy. In the last few weeks of the semester, however, the tension begins. Finals, the word that every student despises; it’s the word that causes chills down people’s backs, even if they don’t feel that their classes are challenging. Some students only feel the fright of finals when they begin the test. The exams test the student’s ability to recollect lessons learned throughout the course of a class. While certain class’s content varies on the state-mandated requirements, content from other classes can go beyond to test a child’s long-term memory. More than this, the emotions during the week of finals can range from one being a nervous wreck to one being very confident.
Voyager Academy is different from other schools as its curriculum is based on Project Based Learning. In other words, teachers utilize projects, rather than tests for students to be able to express the knowledge they have gained over a specific period of time. When it comes to finals, however, the course determines the final product, whether it’s a state-mandated exam or a presentation. One student at Voyager with a wide variety of classes is Kiera Degroat. Kiera is a sophomore at Voyager Academy and when asked about how she feels about this week, she answered, “I’m not stressing about finals because my classes aren’t that stressful.” Kiera’s classes this semester are spread out through the various fields with Spanish Three Honors, Art I, Civics Honors, and Forensics. The testing schedule at Voyager does support a student’s stress by only administering one exam a day and giving the rest of the time as review sessions for other classes that the student has. She said that she was most scared for her Civics and Economics class, “because history and government have never really been my strong suit.” In general, students tend to be more scared for state-mandated exams because they are more strict than teacher-made exams. Additionally, taking tests made by teachers all semester allows students to get used to a teacher’s style. Kiera hopes that she can do well on her finals and says that she is excited for next semester so she can get a fresh perspective.
Students from all around Voyager face challenges when it comes to taking finals for classes, occasionally adding the extra stress of an Advanced Placement course (APs). Voyager’s AP course availability has a variety of options for students to carefully choose courses that they are passionate about. One student who has accepted this additional challenge is Will Johnson. Will is currently taking a class called AP Human Geography, which is a course that many students at Voyager have taken in the past. The class is known as one of the preliminary APs at Voyager, but students don’t take it lightly. Will is stressed about this week as he is currently taking the AP. He says, “A lot of teachers put a ton of work that they haven’t finished at the end of the quarter so while I’m finishing up my work in all my classes, I am also studying for my classes.” Will’s opinion addresses one of the issues of having semester long classes, but students get used to it as they mature in high school.
Voyager Academy is home to many gifted students as well, whether it be in art or academics. One of Voyager’s most artistic students is Ashley Harris. Ashley is part of Nina’s Dance Academy and is a stellar art student. Although Ashley feels her semester is relaxed, she has worked to make it so, already having finished her art final. When asked about how she feels other people are reacting to this week’s tension, she said, “I don’t think people are reacting that much. I know teachers are talking about it a lot, but I don’t think that people are too worried.” Finals always amounted to some tension, even if some students don’t feel it first. The idea of being tested on all the work one has completed over the course of 18 weeks causes some stress, but students at Voyager Academy are on top of it.