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Online opportunities

Mimi Mager ’24

Technology is a part of everyone’s daily life. Paper and pencils have turned to Google Docs and keyboards, and screens are involved in virtually every aspect of the world we live in. Evidently, educational opportunities have also been enhanced with technology, resulting in numerous online courses being offered to students through Michigan Virtual.

For many years there have been virtual courses offered to students if there were complications with teacher shortages and scheduling, but since the pandemic, the appeal of online classes has grown. Librarian Courtney Johnson has watched this growth first hand as she advises the South students enrolled in Michigan Virtual classes.

“What we’re seeing overwhelmingly is our students taking programming courses and sign language,” Johnson said. “Those tend to be the two most popular subgroups that we get here in the library.”

Michigan Virtual classes are available to students throughout the state upon their request. At South, Johnson works with guidance counselors in most cases to find the best virtual option for the student.

“(Counselors will) call me and say ‘I have a student who’s interested in computers, what do you think is the first basic beginning class?’ then I will tell them ‘These are the Java options, these are the Python options,’” Johnson said.
Additionally, students who have specific interests can find classes fit to them. In many cases, they can find a Michigan Virtual course to pursue these interests, which was the case for Eleanor Sahutske ’26.

“I started with Michigan Virtual because I was really interested in taking ASL, but South does not offer it,” Sahutske said. “Once I heard about the virtual option I thought it sounded really interesting.”

The same occurred when Eva Buchanan ’24 developed a passion for elementary education as a future career choice. With a course specific to her needs available, she said she took on the online course this semester and after the first few days, she has been happy with her experience and the course.

“I have just done the (class) introduction, and the teacher and a lot of my classmates are really easy to get along with,” Buchanan said.

With this being her first experience with an online class, Buchanan said she has noted the contrast between learning virtually versus in person.

“It’s always easier to do it in person, but it seems like a good environment still online,” Buchanan said.

Even Sahutske, being on her fourth semester of her virtual course, said she has been thrilled with her experience with Michigan Virtual. Despite the difficulty of learning without a face to face teacher, she said she has excelled with the independent style of learning.

“Michigan Virtual provides a recommended pacing guide, but for the most part it is self paced,” Sahutske said. “Without strict due dates, I can spend more time on a lesson that I am struggling with and make sure I really understand it.”

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About the Contributors
Viviana Ostrowski '26
Viviana Ostrowski '26, Copy Editor
As one of The Tower’s newest copy editors, Viviana Ostrowski ’26 is very excited to start off her first year as a full-fledged journalist. Ostrowski said she enjoys writing for The Tower since it allows her to “feel involved at school.” She also enjoys her job in particular because she can help others improve their writing and work to be the best they can be. In addition to journalism, her favorite classes at South are science and math. Understandably, she wants to “have a future in engineering.” Her involvement in school goes even further, as she runs cross country and plays softball for South. “I like to run and represent my school in meets,” Ostroski reported, “it brings me a sense of accomplishment.” The Tower is lucky to have Ostrowski on the staff and she is sure to go far this year and in the future.
Mimi Mager ’24
Mimi Mager ’24, Staff Writer
Mimi Mager ’24 is a first year staff writer looking forward to being a part of The Tower community. Mimi said her go-to fun fact she tells people is that she spent the first several years of her life living in China. She also is fluent in Chinese, but will never speak it in front of people—even her parents. Mimi’s interest in Tower came when she saw how fun, and communicative, the program is. “I’m super excited to be able to add my voice into the school newspaper and be able to work with so many amazing people, work out of my comfort zone and take on things I would normally feel comfortable doing,” Mager said. Besides being a new member of The Tower, Mimi spends most of her time volunteering, working and being a part of the Girls Varsity Tennis team.

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