Friday, October 21, 2011

First Week of School

I started off the school year at Fort Atkinson High School pretty smoothly. School is a lot different here than it was in NZ but has a few similarities. My high school here is co-ed and has no uniform, same as Wellington High (my old high school in NZ) and our principal is just as awesome and dedicated to the students as the principal at Welly High was.

The first major difference which I'm still not entirely accustomed to is that school here starts at 7.50 am. I have to get up at 6.50 every morning which is a lot earlier than I had to get up for school at home (8am with school starting at 9).

The second major thing is the layout of the school day here. We have 8 classes in a day which are all around 45 minutes in length and we have the same classes in the same order every day. I started off taking Spanish I, Jazz Ensemble, Creative Writing, Marching Band, Art I, Advanced Strength Training and Government with one study hall period every day.

At the end of the first week I auditioned for Showchoir and as well as getting into that was asked by the choir teacher to join the chamber choir. I switched my studyhall to Showchoir and dropped Art for Chamber Choir both of which are fantastic classes and are a lot fun.

One thing that took some getting used to for me was the way they eat lunch here. There are three different lunch periods, the first being at about 11 am and the last being at 12pm (that's the one I have). Everyone has a group that sits together in the cafeteria and pretty much everyone has a hot lunch everyday.

My host dad keeps my lunch account topped up with cash and I just have to scan my id card or give the lunch people my student number every day, it's completely different to NZ. The cafeteria serves 2 or 3 different meals from 2 or 3 different lines everyday made up of some kind of main like a cheeseburger or slice of pizza or nachos along with sides which are usually canned fruit or steamed vegetables and you have to take a small carton of milk to have with your meal (they are pretty much over the top with promoting the consumption of milk, like NFL player posters all around the school with different "drink milk" related slogans). It's pretty cool getting a hot meal for lunch everyday though and even though the american students like to complain about it, our cafeteria'
s food is always really good.

I love most of my classes, advanced strength training can be annoying sometimes because we have it straight after lunch and we have one or two days a week where we do a lot of running. The way that grading is done in my classes makes it pretty easy to get good grades. Creative writing is probably my favourite class so far but I also really love my music classes. Chamber choir is a favourite of mine as well, so far we have had two days where we have gone away somewhere and worked with university choir instructor's along with other choirs from around wisconsin. It's a really great experience being able to work with people of that quality and it's really improving my singing a lot.

Here's a link to a recording from the 2011 badger honour choir day that our chamber choir was involved with, the guys sang three songs, the girls sang three songs and we sang one together

the first three are the girls songs, the next three are the guys songs and the bottom one is the combined song. We spent one day learning the songs and then performed them and recorded them at a concert that night.

I'm having a lot of fun at school with my classes and they're keeping me the good kind of busy. In about a week we have three days of choreography for showchoir which will be pretty intense and a lot of work. I am really looking forward to showchoir competition season starting. Next post will probably be about
homecoming week and the homecoming dance.

Warming up before the home invitational for marching band

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