WHS STEM classes multiply opportunities for students

Photo by Sophie Koritz
Junior David Walker writes an equation on the board. “It’s definitely teacher led," Walker said. "Students in that class (Engineering), we’ll do our own projects and things, but it’s not any sort of an open form type of class. They’ll tell you what to do, you just have your own way of doing it.” Walker is in his second year of engineering at WHS.

The world is constantly growing and becoming more connected—thanks greatly to technology. However, technology has not always been around. Famous innovators who defied the status quo like Steve Wozniak, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs were high schoolers once. In an effort to inspire the high schoolers of today who enjoy science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), Washington High School offers a variety of unique classes to help educate the innovators of tomorrow.

For example, computer programming educates students on basic coding languages and skills. Coding uses math and problem-solving skills to create applications that can be used either on a small or large scale.

“The students actually enjoy the programming because…they are actually creating working programs and they can see immediately if the program works,” WHS teacher Scott Morgan said. “They can see the results of what they’ve done.”

Morgan currently teaches two computer programming classes including AP Java Script. 

“I’d recommend someone take one of the computer programming courses that are offered here just to see if it’s anything they would like at all,” junior David Walker said. “It’s very easy to think, ‘Oh, that’s really cool,’ but once you find out what’s actually behind it, it might not be at all what you expect it is.”

In addition to math classes that focus on computer programming, WHS also offers higher level math classes such as AP Calculus and AP Statistics.  However, these classes are not only for those who plan to enter a STEM career field.

“Math is an invaluable resource not just to do the certain problems and how to work through certain algorithms but learning problem solving and logic and just being able to persevere through the problems,” math teacher Jaime Opfer said. “Study after study shows that students that do well in math and succeed in math succeed in jobs and their pay.”

Although next school year may seem a long time away, it is never too soon to think about which math class will benefit you the most both now and in the future.

“If you are going to college, almost all college degrees require some kind of math. Most of them the baseline is college algebra,” Opfer said. “I do not think that there are any job or profession that you won’t use math. Using those skills now will benefit you in the future.”