The Academy transports students back to the past


Photo by Victoria Kirova

(From left) Jonah Hammond, sophomore, CJ Stevenson, junior, and Zoey Pietramale, junior, brainstorm ideas for The Academy trip.

Victoria Kirova, Features Editor

The Academy of Civic Engagement and Advanced Studies is a four-year program that allows students interested in history to further explore their passion with a group of students who share the same feeling. This program stresses the importance of taking rigorous courses all throughout high school so individuals participating in it have select courses they must take each year. These classes, along with the trips students take, help them further explore the world and be better prepared for whatever the future may hold for them. 

Students at OHS are fully utilizing the opportunities that this program provides. They made the decision to sign up after realizing the substantial benefits that come along with it.

“I’ve always felt interested in history. I consider myself a history buff, and to be around like-minded people, I felt like that would be the safest and most fun option in high school,” said Zoey Pietramale, junior. 

While students enjoy the emphasis on history offered in this program, they also appreciate the academic advantages of it. 

“I thought it was a really cool and unique academic program that would distinguish me from other students. It also locked me into having teachers that I would know in a consistent cohort, so it was a more consistent learning environment for me,” said Cleo Riggle, senior. 

One of the predominant bonuses of The Academy is that students are able to come into their first year of high school, and already have a group of people who will become their friends as they get to know each other throughout the years.

“When students come in as a freshman, one of the things that they get right away, is they get familiar with a group of students that they will know all four years because they have some of the same classes together. They get to know each other really quickly,” said Tiffany Ellis, history teacher.

Throughout the years, students receive the opportunity to learn new things outside of the classroom through the abundance of trips that are taken. 

“We’ve done Philly and New York. Another year we did Civil War sites. In the future we plan on doing the Lewis and Clark experience in the Pacific Northwest, Louisiana Plantation Alley, and then Birmingham and Atlanta, Georgia, ” Ellis said.

Even though, COVID-19 has made some of these trips impossible to happen, the memories of prior trips remain in the minds of students that got to experience them.

“My freshman year we went to Washington, D.C., and different places in Virginia to see old historical sites. That was a really unique experience to get to go and hit [the places] in rapid succession. Also to get to learn it from our history teachers and have that added bit of information as we went,” Riggle said. 

For this year, The Academy is going on a trip to Philadelphia. Those attending are thrilled to finally get the opportunity to experience new places. 

“I’m genuinely really excited. This year the theme is the American Revolution, which is something I’m really excited to learn about and especially with people who I know and who I love,” Pietramale said.