learning something different
It was a perfect day for painting outdoors. Students sat in the warm sunshine, creating watercolor landscapes with art teacher Amy Stockfield. “I signed up for Plein Air Painting because I love being outside,” said one student.
Plein Air Painting was one of eight workshops offered on October 11 through John Jay High School’s first Workshop Wednesday, an option open to ninth and tenth graders only. There are no grades, no stress, and no homework for these sessions; students are asked to bring their curiosity and willingness to learn something different.
plein air painting
how to tie a load
practical, creative and insightful sessions
On the other side of John Jay High School, students were gathered around a trailer carrying a large bundle and a lawnmower. John Quincy Lawton, a John Jay dad, New York City firefighter and member of the US Coast Guard Reserve, was giving a hands-on session called How to Tie Down a Load. In response to why he wanted to teach this workshop, he said, “Because there’s a lot of mattresses on the side of the road. Because people own cars and shop at Home Depot and are given string.”
Students learned how to use a ratchet and tie secure knots.
“I took it because I thought it was the most practical workshop,” said sophomore Abigail.
more than 160 students participated
That’s what also drew students to The Foundations of Investing, a workshop led by financial advisor Ed Zapson. Students jotted so many questions on index cards for Zapson that he didn’t get to answer them all. He said that his favorite one was “how can I pay for college?” “People are often not underpaid. They overspend,” he told the students.
Students could also choose to attend A Chat with the SRO, led by School Resource Officer Brett Schlosser; The Basics of Pickleball, with teachers Peter Neidell and Chris Shamkin; Ceramics Coasters with art teacher Kristen Lowe; Dark Room Photography with art teacher Diane Nerwen; and Yoga led by Samantha Thomson.
“My tenth-grade self would have signed up for How to Tie Down a Load,” said Principal Steven Siciliano. Lawton, who taught that workshop, said he would have signed up for pickleball. Assistant Principal Mallory McDonald, who set up Workshop Wednesday, agreed. “That being said, we had an awesome selection of workshops this year and more than 160 students participated!”