Happy Camp High Distinguished School
To some, Happy Camp High School with only 87 students, may seem humbly insignificant. This little school has the high distinction to come to be a Distinguished School, recognized by the State of California. This was awarded after the school had undergone rigourous evaluation. As Dick Holmes, Superintendent of the Siskiyou Union High School District, said, most of the people at the big award ceremony in Anaheim didn’t even know where Siskiyou County was, let alone Happy Camp.! But little Happy Camp won the award. We can be very proud of our principal, Ernie Micheli, and the teachers and staff who work diligently to give our students a good educationm and a dose of love and concern.
A letter that Ernie Micheli wrote last year sums up just some of the ways that Happy Camp High School works to educate our future citizens and community members. “We are a small school with an enrollment of 87 students. We are in the middle of a six-year Western Association of Schools and Colleges accreditation.
“Fully 100% of our sophomores passed the math segment of the California High School Exit Exam last spring—92% did so with the Language arts portion of the same test. Also, we are compliant with “No Child Left Behind” requirements. Our Academic Performance Index has been rated at 780. Because of our academic successes, we (have been awarded) Distinguished School status.
“Technologically we have 3 computer labs available. Our shop program completely built a motorcycle and is currently building a hotrod. We also field an eight-man football team and volleyball teams in the fall. During the winter months we have four basketball teams—2 girls and 2 for the boys. Spring has baseball, softball and track available for students.
Ernie also said that the “hard working staff that is caring, informed and current in their academic area” is responsible for this success. He sees students interacting with their instructors and fellow students to learn each day. We will indeed miss Mr. Micheli as principal but, as he said, he has high expectations that “we will continue to have positive experiences.”
When the committee came to check out the school for this distinguished School award, they talked with students and teachers, with staff and with members of the community. They observed classes. They asked questions. They learned that Spanish classes with Dorie Ekman-McDonald and German classes with Angelika Brown are taught. Some students even study the Karuk language during Indian Club at lunch. Jennifer Goodwin has taken Indian Club students to visit colleges they might someday attend as well as having these Indian Club meetings, which are open to all students whether Native American or not.
They learned students have won awards in desk top publishing with classes by Diane Oliver at the high school lab and Rosie Bley at the Computer Center. There are basic computer classes with Monica VanBaren also. VanBaren also teaches the upper social studies classes and counsels students to meet their goals. They saw that the school is cooperating with the Forest Service in providing Fire Science class as an elective class taught by Dan Bushy. This enables some of our students be better prepared for summer jobs or a career in fire fighting or forestry.
They learned that there was also an Emergency Medical Technician training in the spring with the help of Ambulance crew. Living in such a remote and isolated place, there are times when EMT service is all that we can get before a 75 mile journey to the nearest hospital. This training will be of benefit to the students just “in case” in their own lives, as well as to some members of the class are interested in nursing or medicine careers.
Students who need special help are assisted to have an appropriate education by Elizabeth Laney and her aide, Carol Dyer. Cate Roscoe is the new teacher in math and her enthusiastic students have been measuring things all over the building, inside and out. John Kufner is still faithfully teaching science as he has since my first son was in high school. Larry Gabbert taught the kids to build a custom motorcycle that has won awards. Denise Bearding not only teaches English subjects. but has also gathered the students writing in a publication, “Indian Expression,” and enhanced their artistic talents.
Besides teaching Freshman Social studies and other important areas, Dorie Eckman-McDonald, with the help of Cate Roscoe, has had a study time for students on Wednesday evenings during the school year. Not only are teachers there to help students with homework that may be causing them difficulty or to catch up from an absence, but they feed them supper too. In this and countless other ways, the staff of Happy Camp High School encourages and nurtures the students of our school
Give them a hand when you see them, and “congratulations!” on having a Distinguished School!