OPUS offers new take on English


Kyrsten Brown, Reporter

OPUS is a hands-on, project-based, student-centered technical writing class that’s focused on what students know or want to know, and an opportunity to teach people. Dean Smith is the teacher of the class, that started in the 2017-2018 school year. With the class just beginning in the 2017-2018 school year, there are still some kinks that need to be worked out. Smith said, “The class started when Richard Fry, superintendent, worried about how a traditional English course class just wasn’t cutting it for vo-tech kids,” and Smith rose up and solved the problem.

Since Smith was a technical writing teacher at HACC, he took some of the projects and skills that were taught and transformed them for the kids to turn the projects into subjects they want to study. Smith said, “I have a passion for teaching the first aid section of the class because there’s nothing more relevant or helpful to teach.” Along with his passion, he also said, “I love watching my students shine on exhibition night. Even though last year no one had hope for the class, the students turned it around and made the best of the night.”

Some of the students have said that their favorite part of the class is how hands-on the course is, and how the content is related to what they want to do with their lives. Kalie Bistline who is part of FFA and is attending an EMT course said her favorite project in the class was making her manual for fire first aid since she already knew a lot about the subject. While on the other hand Derek Wise who attends Cumberland Perry Area Vocational Technical School for the welding program said his favorite project was creating his welding manual. There are a few things that Smith wants his students to take from his class. He said, ” I want my students to know that what they have to offer/what they know is just as important as kids who go to college.” He also mentioned how trades are some of the best things to learn because not everyone knows how to work on a car, clean teeth, tear apart HVAC systems, or even put out fires.