Beyond the Classroom

Heather Bryant, Writer

There are many teachers who contribute to the vibrant and active PVHS environment, whether it be organizing different events, being the advisor for clubs on campus, or just doing a lot in general for the school.

They often go above and beyond to make the high school experience more exciting and engaging.

Tecia Barton is one of these such teachers, having advised the Mock Trial program since 2003, one year after PVHS reopened, in addition to teaching American Government and US History.

Initially, the program involved Ms. Barton’s APUSH students as a post-AP exam activity.

“Given these were juniors, the following year after they’d been in my class, I had a foundation of students who knew how to prepare both a criminal defense as well as a government prosecution. The program provides an opportunity for overcoming fears of public speaking, a forum to further a passion for the law, and an incredible hands on experience that brings education alive beyond the classroom,” Barton said.

Unfortunately however, next year, Barton will no longer be the advisor for Mock Trial. She hopes, however, that it can still be a rewarding experience for all students involved.

“If the Mock Trial program is done right, then it means the students have worked hard, have expended time and energy with an end result of being proud of their accomplishments. It is rewarding, not necessarily ‘fun.’ But after students present a 45 minute presentation, with an opening statement, direct and cross examination of witnesses, and a closing argument with a result of high scores for preparation, organization, and skill, the rewards are rather high,” Barton said.

In addition to teaching sociology and instructing US and World History online, US History teacher Anna Driver took over this year as the advisor for Model United Nations.

“I’ve been advising MUN since I resumed teaching at PVHS this year. It has been 10 years since I was teaching here before and I only taught for a little under a year here. But I was subbing here long before that,” Driver said.

“Model United Nations is interesting and I enjoy advising the program. I love teaching. It is always great to share history with others,” she said.

Shellie Parkinson has worked as the head of the PVHS music department since the school reopened in 2002.

She teaches Jazz 1 and 2, Marching Band, and AP Music Theory, as well as being the conductor for the school orchestra and the advisor of the Tri-M Music Honor Society.

“What I enjoy most about my job is that I’m reminded all the time how capable, mature, and accomplished the students are,” Parkinson said.

“I get the best kids, and it’s just amazing to see how far someone can really go. They can always do way more than I ever expect, going above and beyond my expectations, and I’m just always amazed by the students I get to have.”