AHS students and teachers welcomed back the 9th-grade A. W. Beattie field trip, making its first rerun since 2019.
A. W. Beattie is a college and earlier career exploration program that serves the nine schools located in northern Allegheny County, including Avonworth. There, students receive hands-on career training and experience from one of the twenty programs offered there.
This Beattie field trip is especially notable as it was not only the first of its kind since 2019 but also had been canceled once this year. The entire 9th grade was originally scheduled to attend A.W. Beattie Career Center on Thursday, January 27, but like many other opportunities, this original schedule was disrupted by January’s unruly winter weather and subsequent delay.
Many hold the misconception that attending Beattie and continuing to higher education are mutually exclusive, but the teachers and students who presented at Beattie to AHS students reiterated the idea that that was not necessarily true. “[Going to Beattie] allows kids to see what the students who actually go to Beattie do,” said freshman English teacher Mr. Wells. “By going to Beattie, everyone now has an appreciation for what it means for those who leave and come back,” said freshman biology teacher Mr. Haskins.
Students were served a complimentary lunch of hoagies, chips, fruit, cookies, and lemonade or ice tea prepared by Beattie’s own culinary program.
Before the pandemic, the Beattie trip was a regular experience, with many juniors and seniors still being able to recall both fond — and not so fond — memories of their trips. “I remember it was a really great experience to be able to get out of school that day and see how different a day at Beattie is than a regular day at Avonworth. All of the disciplines that we toured were super interesting, and the whole experience showed us how different doing something like that could make our high school careers. I know for a fact that being able to go in person and tour the facility was one of the biggest motivators for people who ultimately chose to go there.” said junior Matthew Purcell.
“We haven’t gone on that trip in two years. I believe that allowing students to see it is better than just talking about it.” said Dr. George, who had been involved with the career exploration curriculum and the Beattie trips for a number of years. “I think it provides students with electives that they can’t necessarily get here at Avonworth.” Dr. George did not attend this year’s Beattie trip as, last minute, she was asked to stay behind to help the seniors who used the mostly empty day at the building to work on graduation projects.
“I thought it was a nice place, I feel like it’s a really good place to get ahead on college stuff. I don’t think I will personally attend though, I don’t know what I want to do yet, so it’s just not for me,” said freshman Katie Ballard.
After students returned from Beattie at about 1 PM, they were separated into one of five small groups to watch presentations by students active in AHS’s Pathway programs. In these small groups, students moved from room to room to hear from students who were the leaders or participants in each respective pathway as to why they joined, and what each pathway has to offer. “The pathways presentations showed students a general outline to where they may head. Personally the STEM and Health & Medicine Pathways gave me the most interest,” remarked freshman Airah Shafiq.
Ultimately, a field trip after COVID is always welcomed by those who get to go. “It’s just a fun ninth-grade field trip, we haven’t been on one in a while. It was nice to leave the building,” said freshman algebra and geometry teacher Ms. Waddell.