As most of you reading this know Calumet High School is a New Tech school. My school's partnership with the New Tech Network in 2010 was a huge change.
When I first heard that Calumet was becoming a New Tech School, I wasn't sure what to think. I had no clue what New Tech was. Now I know and want to share how this change has given me many opportunities I didn't have before.
One day during my sophomore year, one of my friends, Robert Brown, asked if I was interested in giving a tour of the school. My school was very innovative and had plenty of visitors. Every student had a computer and was gaining important 21st century skills. I said sure, why not.
I had no clue what I was going to do, but I thought it would be fun and interesting.
The first tour I led with three of my classmates was for Kris Williams. The first tour went pretty well, but there were a few things we did wrong. Since then we have discussed how we could do better and have improved at knowing our school and being able to explain what we do to others.
During my sophomore and junior years, I gave numerous tours to our middle school teachers, visitors from other schools, and to members of our community. Also my school does side by side visits, which are when the parents of students come in to Calumet and follow their student around to learn about New Tech. The parents get to see what their child is doing.
A highlight for me was when Dr. Tyrone Bledsoe, the founder of Student African American Brotherhood, and one of his colleagues visited my school. I gave him a tour and he was very pleased with what my school was doing.
My favorite tour was when Dr. Martha J. Kanter, the Under Secretary of Education, came to visit. Jay Williams, the executive director of the Federal Office of Recovery of Auto Communities and Workers and the former mayor of Youngstown, Ohio, also came.
He was pleased with my school and even came back to be the keynote speaker at graduation even though he was supposed to be in Washington, D.C., The day after Dr. Kanter and Jay Williams came, I was featured in the newspaper.
Without New Tech I would have never gotten a chance to participate in these tours.
I’m very grateful that my school decided to make the crucial change. I’ve become a better learner and now look outside of the box. Project-based learning encourages creativity.
The New Tech model has made a drastic change in my life as a student. Becoming a part of New Tech was a big change that has improved my school.
Through Calumet New Tech I have taken advantage of the opportunities given to me. Not only that, but I also work harder because I enjoy New Tech, and my GPA has improved too. I’m glad Calumet is a New Tech school.
Jaylen Johnson of Merrillville is a senior at Calumet New Tech High School. The opinion expressed in this column is the writer's and not necessarily that of The Times.