For students at each of the four high schools in Gallia County, the 2009-2010 academic year has brought with it change in the form of new school buildings for Gallia Academy, River Valley and South Gallia and the move to an updated complex for Ohio Valley Christian.
This week, ahead of the annual commencement services, the Gallipolis Daily Tribune will allow students from each school to share their thoughts and opinions about the transition they have made this year.
BIDWELL — Different is good, some folks say. Include students at River Valley High School among those folks.
Seniors Ethan Moss and Sean Siegert, juniors Carissa Wolfe and Ellie Sanders and sophomores Alexa Plummer and Kyla Thaxton each expressed their excitement about being in the new surroundings.
“It’s a lot nicer of a building than what we used to have, that’s for sure,” said Moss. “The technology — we’ve really updated. There’s TV’s and projectors in nearly every room. We’re connected to everything.”
Connected includes wireless Internet access, which is a big plus, according to Siegert.
“Anywhere I need to go do work, I can just pick up my laptop, go sit down and do some school work and it’s really nice,” he said. “I’m not tethered to the computer lab or tethered in the library. I can work throughout the school. I can work in the cafeteria if I need to.”
Siegert said he’s also been impressed with the close-circuit television system which allows events to be broadcast throughout the building.
Wolfe said she and her schoolmates have benefited a great deal in the classroom from the new technology.
“There are smart boards in several teachers’ classrooms, and we use that a lot in chemistry,” she said. “They can show what they’re working on on their computer and it will project onto the screen, and the smart boards allow them to draw diagrams and charts and pictures without using dry erase markers. It’s really helpful.”
Thaxton, who spent one year in the old RVHS building at Cheshire, said the new facility fosters a better learning environment.
“The smart boards and projectors make everything faster,” she said. “You don’t have get everything plugged in or move to a different room. It helps us get everything done faster.”
Climate control — air conditioning in particular — which was practically non-existent in the old building, is one amenity of the RVHS that is a big hit with students.
“Wonderful, absolutely wonderful,” said Sanders. “This is fantastic having central air throughout the school. We don’t have the 90 degree weather in the school anymore. We don’t have any of the weather inside the school anymore.”
Plummer said she’s noticed a definite change in attitude for the better at the new facility.
“Everything has improved and the attitude has carried over with that,” she said. “We’re just happier now because we’re not complaining about being hot or being dirty.”
Principal Rochelle Halley said the new complex at Bidwell has been a blessing for the RVHS student body.
“We’re just thankful that the taxpayers saw fit to give our kids this new facility,” she said. “Just looking at their faces each as they walk through the hallways and knowing that they feel so much more valued now that they’ve been given a facility to go to school in that looks like this, I feel so appreciative for them.
“I think there’s a stronger sense of pride,” added Halley. “I think the kids have been good stewards of the building that they’ve been given. We’ve had very few problems. They feel good about what they have and they want to take care of it.”
River Valley’s graduation is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., Friday, May 28 at the school gymnasium.