El Capitan High School is dedicated to delivering the highest quality education possible to their students. Over the past three years, they have been working to increase offerings across the board, including much-needed Career and Technical Education (CTE), and Arts courses and programs.
For many years, the only CTE course available at El Capitan High School was the Business Management and Administrative Service (BMAS) program, run by Linda Earl. As of today, they offer seven CTE courses including Agriculture, Auto Shop, Construction, Welding, Cooking, Sewing, and BMAS. The school has invested heavily in additional programming, purchasing a greenhouse and aquaponics system, construction tools worthy of a professional contractor, and building a home economics classroom to house the cooking and sewing classes.
“The thing that we are trying to get students to understand is that there is a lot to life. Being a well-rounded person helps you to be a well-rounded citizen. We’re really trying to emphasize character,” beamed Linda. “There are kids who do well with social things, and there are others who work well with their hands. They really get into it.”
Many students are talented in the CTE fields, and the school’s investment in those courses has given them a place to fully develop those talents. The Welding, Construction, and Auto Shop classes are popular for both boys and girls.
The Art offerings at El Capitan have also recently diversified, with the addition of band and glee club. The school has an established reputation in the community for its great drama productions. The visual art program, run by LuAnn Williams, has been a beloved home to students regardless of their initial aptitude for art. “If you ask me, it’s the mortar that holds the bricks. It’s that sense of accomplishment they may not be able to get somewhere else.”
LuAnn went on to say, “Art teaches kids to look deeper, harder. I hope the kids in my classes leave seeing the world differently. Every time they look at El Cap – the peak which is the school’s namesake – hope they’re looking for shadows and colors. It helps you appreciate your environment if nothing else.”
LuAnn’s Art classes include beginning and intermediate drawing and painting classes, utilizing a variety of mediums. She also does a printmaking course which covers block, etching, monoprints, and silkscreen. Each year she works with students to display their work in an art show that turns the school’s walls into a superb gallery.
The Art Show provides an opportunity for students to see the impact art can have. “A lot of kids will throw it in the garbage on the way out the door. But I have seen so many meaningful conversations between parents and kids over the years. It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it,” LuAnn said.
This year the Art Show features the products of another program the school has recently implemented called RISE. RISE gives students one hour, once a week, to explore their interests. It consists of various projects that are led by teachers, community members, and even students. The program allows students to explore subjects such as jewelry making, rock painting, literature, film, fashion, leatherworking, guitar, bookmaking, puzzles, zentangle, gymnastics, and more.
The faculty of El Capitan is looking to add more courses, programming, and opportunities for students in the months and years to come.