Capstone Class

Science Hill students Brayden Dmytrik, Brookelyn Bennett, Caleb Taylor, teacher Debbie Mottern, Jemimah Ndune, Jacob Spangler, Marlo Banton and Gracesyn Rush all enjoyed their time last semester in Mottern’s Capstone Scholars class at Science Hill.


Clothing Closet caps off successful second year of unique class at Science Hill

A clothing closet was icing on the cake for a class full of community service projects that came out of Debbie Mottern’s second year of her Capstone Scholars class at Science Hill High School.

Sarah Miller and Rachel Lemkin’s clothing closet, which will help students in need of clothing at Science Hill, was just one of eight projects that included fundraisers for the Melting Pot, animal shelter and more.

The class, which is modeled after a college freshman seminar class, is open to students that have met their requirements for graduation and carry a 3.0 GPA or higher.

“I have tried to make it as useful to them as possible, whether they are going on to college or into the workplace, but more focus has been on college with this group,” Mottern said. “I try to model it after a freshman seminar class that incoming freshman would take at a college or university.”

Last semester, students worked on book studies, wrote papers and even developed a thesis, all with the idea of making their academic transition to college easier.

“We have this class for students that are looking for a class that will be useful, instead of enrolling in a class they’ve already had; or being a student worker for a period,” Mottern said. “I try to make this as much as college real-life as possible.”

Senior Marlo Banton had a goal of raising $1,000 for the Melting Pot – a local soup kitchen for the underprivileged - with a spaghetti dinner. She was able to meet that goal and more at she raised well-over $3,000.

“I chose that because I have always gone to Munsey and I recognize the importance that the Melting Pot has on our downtown community,” Banton said. “They not only build relationships, but they provide physical things that the homeless need like food, blankets and toiletries.”

During the dinner, Banton had presenters describe what exactly the Melting Pot did for the community and people were given the opportunity to donate time or money toward their cause.

Senior Gracesyn Rush, who has her postgraduate-eye on the healthcare field, picked a project that was dear to her as she followed an open-heart coordinator at the hospital in order to make an informational PowerPoint for what patients can expect after a procedure.

“My grandfather had heart surgery and he wasn’t informed a lot of about the necessary measures to take care of your stitching and everything like that,” she said. “So I just felt like it was really important.”

Fellow senior Jemimah Ndune proposed a peer support group as a solution to Science Hill athletes that might fail a drug test during their time at the school.

Two other senior students, Brayden Dmytrik and Brookelyn Bennett, decided to focus their efforts on helping animals at the local animal shelter. Dmytrik made a public push for people to adopt from their local shelter instead of getting dogs from breeders. One way he brought awareness to the issue is by filling a calendar with photos of animals with all proceeds going to the animal shelter. Bennett brought more awareness to the rising pit bull population at local shelters, which included two at the Washington County / Johnson City Animal Shelter that have been over there a year.

Senior Jacob Spangler’s project had him volunteer by serving food to the homeless at The Melting Pot. Spangler said that he signed up for the Cornerstone class after he heard good reports from classmates about how the class would prepare him for college.

“I wanted to know a lot about how to get ready for college so I won’t be worried as I start,” Spangler said.

Senior Caleb Taylor enjoyed the class so much that he took it a second time after enrolling as a junior. This year, he created a business plan and website for ticket sales and ticket exchange that he said the community could use for all events.

“Mrs. Mottern really pushes us hard and tries to get us prepared for college,” Taylor said. “We do projects, but we also do a lot of college prep and college readiness that I other classes don’t help us with right now.”

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