Category Archives: Shasta

Entrepreneurship teaches students to freely create

By Melissa Domingo and Mytrisha Sarmiento

Staff Writers

Entrepreneurship is an Expeditions course that teaches students how to start a business, negotiate and overall become successful with their own startups. The class consists of creating products and advertising these products to people who would be interested in buying them.

Danica Lyming, the Entrepreneurship Expeditions teacher, said, “[Students] basically learn how to make your own product or service. You make it; you advertise it; you pitch it at a competition and potentially win money.”

Shasta freshman Javier Gomez talked about the creative freedom Ms. Lyming gives them as they create their products. He said, “You can make anything; she lets you run wild with that idea.”

See below for a video about the Entrepreneurship course:

Intermediate art class allows students to draw outside the lines

By Mariam Feleyeh 

Staff Writers

Rules and restrictions are an important part of life. Everyone has to follow them. But sometimes rules can make you feel trapped. When you’re consistently told, “No, stop coloring outside the lines” and are handed a black-and-white book and told to bubble in the answers, you begin to feel trapped. This impacts students especially. Intermediate Visual Arts gives them a chance to break out of the box. 

In Intermediate Visual Arts students use their own methods and techniques to create abstract self-portraits. Meridith Burchiel, who teaches the class, encourages students to work freely and experiment with their own methods instead of having to follow a restricted set of rules. 

“Our intermediate art course is all about self-expression through the form of self-portraits. We really look at what does identity mean and how to use things that are important to us to create a picture or a thing that shows who we are,” Ms. Burchiel.

The students in Ms. Burchiel’s class are inspired by her positivity and feel that she brings out some of their best ideas. “Ms. B. inspires me with her energy and positivity making me try to be the same,” Shasta junior Joshua Munsayac said.

See below for a video about the Intermediate Visual Arts course:

Visual Arts class gives students confidence and sparks creativity

By Sophia Lim

Staff Writer

At Summit Shasta, the students in Meridith Burchiel’s Intro to Visual Arts class take their creativity to new levels as they learn the basic beginnings of art. Walking into the Intro to Visual Arts class might be overwhelming at first, but a closer glance shows the hard work and talent that students taking this course possess.

In the Intro to Visual Arts class, students have the opportunity to see and critique art from around the world, give presentations, create their own art and discover a greater appreciation for the arts.

Intro to Visual Arts also helps students gain skills that they can use to benefit in all areas of life. “When we have a better understanding of ourselves, it can help make our community more rich. You can show up as a better student for your other classes when you have a stronger sense of yourself,” Ms. Burchiel said.

Ms Burchiel’s passion for art and self-expression has sparked ideas in all of her students’ minds. “Ms. B inspires our class by showing us that we can do anything we want as long as we believe in ourselves because a lot of people in our class aren’t confident in their work,” Shasta junior Aneliese Tutasi said. “She believes in us more than we do ourselves, and she inspires us to be who we want to be.”

Summit Shasta’s Intro to Visual Art class has changed students’ perspective on art and opened their minds to new possibilities. “After taking this class I’ve learned that anything can be art. If you think it has meaning then it’s art. This class has helped me realize that and has really expanded my creativity,” Shasta junior Kyle Weber said.

See below for a video about the Intro to Visual Arts course:

Video Production allows students to pursue a passion

By Brian Bodestyne and  Darren Macario

Staff Writers

The Video Production course at Summit Shasta allows students to get a better understanding of how to construct a video.

By going over certain tasks to enhance their knowledge of film, students get the opportunity to complete projects such as music videos, documentaries, mockumentaries and fight scenes.

The Video Production course also gives students the ability to express their own ideas in their films. Shasta freshman Samuel Zhang said, “I feel like Video Production is a safe place to express people’s creativity through making videos and movies about different topics.”

Following this idea, Zhang concluded that the environment he works in promotes creativity, allowing every film in Video Production to be unique. He also said the class culture helps people work together respectfully.

Vincent Nelson, the teacher for the Video Production course at Summit Shasta, specifically teaches students in this course how to use cameras, how to edit videos and how to use necessary equipment such as microphones.

Mr. Nelson believes that in this course students get the experience of working as a team to produce a quality outcome. He said, “I think Video Production is important for a few reasons: it teaches you how to work with a team, which you’ll need no matter what the job is.”

Mr. Nelson concluded that teamwork is very important because it promotes good friendships and helps bring creativity to people in the workplace.

See below for a video about the Video Production course:


Intrapreneurship allows students to be creative

By Sophia Woehl 

Staff Writer

In the Intrapreneurship Expeditions course, students have the opportunity to learn how creativity can be used in business. Students work to become intrapreneurs by finding problems within companies and thinking of innovative solutions. Students go on field trips to for-profit and nonprofit organizations where they identify problems and then work to help the companies.

Danica Lyming is both the Entrepreneurship and Intrapreneurship Expeditions teacher at Summit Shasta. Many students go into this class with no idea what Intrapreneurship means; Ms. Lyming defined it as: “When you work for a company and you change the way they do things to make it more effective and more efficient and more innovative.” When asked why she teaches these courses to high school students, she said, “I think that is it important for high schoolers to get an introduction into business in high school before they go into college or into the world after that.”

Shasta freshman Ashley Lee is an Intrapreneurship student, and she has learned more than just business skills. She said, “This class impacts my life because, not only do I learn about business as a potential career for me in the future, but I also learn about problem-solving skills, creativity and just thinking outside the box to make my life more efficient.”

Although many students have enjoyed this Expeditions course, it will most likely not be offered next school year. Instead, Ms. Lyming will be supervising an Independent Study class.

See below for a video about the Intrapreneurship course: 


Community Service students work to help others

By Massimo Sibillo

Staff Writer

At Summit Shasta, students in the Community Service course help people in need by going off campus to do various service projects. Students in this course went around the Bay Area volunteering for housing organizations for the homeless, soup kitchens and non-profit food bank organizations.

“I love how this class lets students explore different problems in the world,” Shasta sophomore Nicolas Pasion said. The students in this course found ways to change the community while enjoying the process.  

“I like this course because [of] the people in it and the fact that we get to help people,” Shasta sophomore David Ramirez said. This course helps students learn communication skills and address real-world problems.

This year in Community Service, students have shown growth through their four rounds, developing communication skills and key takeaways from the course. When students were asked what they took away from this course, it seemed as if the course has really helped not only the students’ growth, but the community as well.

“I would say I definitely liked this course through rounds one and four … it was a lot of fun, and we enjoyed helping,” Shasta sophomore Owen Crims said.

Students coming out of this course have accomplished working for the community by volunteering and helping others in need. Not only were students helping the community and growing personal skills, they also did projects such as controversial art pieces, after-school food sales and a 5-8 page community service project proposal.

See below for a video about the Community Service course:

Featured image (at the top of this post): Shasta senior Jenni Stucky volunteers at a local food bank. 

Performing Arts teach us humanity

By Evelyn Archibald

Staff Writer

“The most important thing any kind of arts can teach,” Stage Combat and College Readiness instructor Keith Brown says, “is what teaches us humanity.”

Stage Combat, an acting class focusing on combat and physical communication on stage, is the only performing arts class currently offered at Summit Shasta, but maybe that should change.

While, as Robin Pogrebin of the New York Times writes about, teaching the arts does not by association improve scores or grades in other subjects, that’s not all that’s important. “Science without humanity is just experimentation, in my opinion. Math without humanity is just numbers with nothing behind it,” Mr. Brown says.


Stage Combat students stage a fight scene. PHOTO CREDIT: Evelyn Archibald

“We’re learning about humankind. […] you’re seeing emotions, you’re seeing situations.”

Summit schools like Shasta try to build community advocates and leaders with skills like compassion, self and social awareness, resilience and identity. Performing fosters these skills intensely: learning to know and be comfortable in your own body, looking inside yourself and your emotions, working with others as one unit, taking constructive feedback, advocating for yourself and being confident in your talents.

“I think more than anything else, seeing the willingness to put themselves in uncomfortable conversations, […] talking about ways that you can feel like something is holding you back or putting you down, it can be really hard to have that kind of conversation and be honest,” Mr. Brown said on the growth he’s witnessed in his students. “It can be really hard to be in front of a crowd and speak with any kind of confidence or authority. One of the biggest changes I’ve seen is seeing that confidence come out of people, and the joy that can come from finding your voice.”


Stage Combat teacher Keith Brown PHOTO CREDIT: Evelyn Archibald

Benefits of the arts in education have been studied and witnessed many times, even finding motivation to stay in school might be linked to art and music classes. But how easy is it to just add curriculum?

Lucretia Witte, dean of Expeditions for Summit Schools, explains how the Expeditions process works: “To sum it up, there are about six departments: STEM, Arts and Design, Business and Media, Health and Fitness, Future Planning and Leadership and Society. We try to have at least two options for each of those departments, and we survey students to find out what they would be interested in.” She went on to explain the staffing process: “To find staff, we don’t hire for a specific course title, just someone who is passionate about working with us, and who would be doing what they love. We also try to keep staff in a local job; so, for example, if someone lives in San Francisco and wants to teach in Health and Fitness, we would try to put them in one of our Northern schools.”


Dean of Expeditions Lucretia Witte PHOTO CREDIT: Evelyn Archibald

“It can be harder to find folks who are very talented and also passionate about the job,” Ms. Witte said about performing arts teachers, and that makes sense. With arts classes commonly being the first to get cut when budgets are tight, and as only 10 percent of art graduates become working artists, and only 16.8 percent of working artists are educators, it’s not a surprise that passionate drama or music teachers can be hard to find. Especially when you want local teachers in the community, like Summit schools strive to hire. However, Ms. Witte said the Expeditions team is trying to hire teachers for classes like Dance or Music in the Northern schools like Shasta, which could open up many opportunities for Shasta students to pursue the performing arts.

Another matter to consider is after-school programs, such as a play or musical, a dance company, chorus or marching band, choir, and others. Lots of schools offer these types of programs, but at Shasta, the way these get started is a little different.


Dean of Culture and Instruction at Summit Shasta Adelaide Giornelli PHOTO CREDIT: Evelyn Archibald

“It’s a question of budget, and it’s also a question of who would run it,” Adelaide Giornelli, Shasta dean of culture and instruction, said. “Right now, all of our clubs are student-organized, student-advocated-for, and student-led. So if a student wanted to start a musical theater company or a choir, or an a capella group – which we actually have had in the past – the student would then have to fill out a proposal for a club, get approval, and then we would be able to provide supports as we could.”

See below for a video about the Stage Combat class:

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