All posts by Tianna Loftsgordon

Students adjust to AP English

For several years, Black River Falls High School has given students the opportunity to take Advanced Placement (AP) classes. One of the AP classes available for students is AP English, which is also a class that has gone through many changes in the past five years.

“To prepare for teaching this course, I went to a week-long conference for teachers, and that pointed me in the right direction and gave me a lot of good teaching ideas for the class,” said current AP English teacher Brad Lobenstein.

AP courses are meant to prepare students for college. The classes are challenging and require a big commitment from students.

“The class requires students to go further with their discussion and analysis of literature than they have in any of their other classes,” said Lobenstein. “They need to be motivated and dedicated to doing homework, which may include sizeable reading assignments at various points in the semester. Being just good enough doesn’t really work all that well in an AP class.”

There is a reason why AP classes are college-level classes: students have an opportunity to receive college credit for the class at the end of the year. Before they can receive the college credit, students have to take the Advanced Placement National Exam and earn a score of a three or higher on it.

“To prepare for the National Exam, I am having my students take practice exams. So far, they have taken the multiple choice practice test a couple times, and they have also done a lot of practice essay writing,’ said Lobenstein.

Students themselves prepare for the national exam outside of class as well as in class.

“I go over my practice tests that we did in class at home and then I read some of the poetry that we read in class,” said Lipke.

Throughout the year, students also read different types of literature to help prepare them for the essays that will appear on the National Exam.

“We’ve read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Invisible Man, and we’re going to start reading King Lear,” said senior Liz Lipke.

The reading list has changed with different teachers, however.

“Last year, we read The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Heart of Darkness,” said senior Hanna Hodge.

Overall, students have responded well to the class and seem to enjoy it.

“I would recommend this class to other students because it’s very beneficial and you learn useful skills to have,” said Lipke.

Student athletes warned against donations

Three times a year students are presented with the opportunity to donate blood to the American Red Cross, but while most students only have to worry about their iron being high enough in order to donate, athletes have more to worry about.

“I am not allowed to do any physical activity during practice if I donate blood,” said junior Danny Forman.

Danny is not the only athlete in this situation, but a lot of athletes are not allowed to donate blood at all because their coaches tell them specifically not to.

“My track coach tells us not to donate on practice days because she thinks missing practice will lower our performance,” said Forman.

Along with lowering performance, donating blood on a practice or game day could have dangerous repercussions.

“It is very important for athletes to not donate blood up to 48 hours before a practice or a game because your body is losing all that blood, and it takes a long time for that blood to be replaced,” said track and field coach Laura Christenson

Some athletes, however, feel that donating blood and saving lives is well worth missing a practice.

“I think athletes should donate blood because you’re saving lives. You’re only missing one practice, but I wouldn’t recommend doing it on a game day,” said junior Haley Beams.

According to the American Red Cross, after blood donation, donors should avoid heavy exercise or lifting because they could experience dizziness or lightheadedness.

“I have had students come to practice after donating blood, and I send them home. I tell them not to do any physical exercise for 48 hours, and depending on what even they’re in, if another person can fill their spot, I might push that person up because they were able to practice,” Christenson said.

According to the American Red Cross, one pint of blood could save up to three lives. They also have the option for donors to donate two pints, so one donor could save up to six lives.

“I think that for athletes, it’s definitely worth it to donate blood. You’re only missing one day of practice, which in the grand scheme of an entire sport, really isn’t that much. Sports are one thing and saving someone’s life is a completely different thing,” Forman said.

BRFHS Teams up with the American Heart Association

Students at Black River Falls High School have teamed up with the American Heart Association to help raise money for the charity.

Starting on Monday, January 26, Pep Club adviser Laura Christenson asked students to buy red t-shirts for ten dollars. Christenson has been the main organizer of this fundraiser after activities director Jim Rufsholm was presented the idea by a spokeswoman from the American Heart Association.

“He designated it to Pep Club because he thought it was something that we could work with,” said Christenson.

As well as selling t-shirts, Pep Club will be hosting a “red out” basketball game on February 17. Pep Club asks students to wear red at the game. At half time, Pep Club will run a 50/50 raffle where half of the proceeds will go to the American Heart Association, and club members will be selling memorial hearts for a dollar to be hung around the school.

“The whole purpose of this fundraiser is to not only raise money for research, but also to promote health and really bring awareness to one of the number one killers in the United States,” said Christenson.

The American Heart Association is a nonprofit organization that raises money to help aid in research, reduce deaths caused by cardiovascular problems, and to raise awareness of cardiovascular diseases.