The screen in the technology department at St. Joseph High School lit up with photos of robots from movies and video games and questions about them.

Students in the dark classroom groaned and cheered as they tried to answer the questions correctly.

“It’s a fun class. Everything we do goes back to technology and robots,” said Galen Gerdes, the technology instructor at the school. “Quizzes like this program help get students excited for the school year.”

St. Joseph High School had its first full day of classes Tuesday. Students met at the campus Monday for a couple of hours to have class meetings and to take school photos, said Shandee Harrell, spokeswoman for the school.

This year, some of the more than 300 students will be able to enjoy new courses at the campus, such as 3D Art, Animation and Audio Design. The technology course is new this year and allows students to have hands-on experience in digital design, such as photo enhancement techniques, 3D modeling and sound editing.

A prerequisite for the class is Cloud Technology, a class where freshmen learn keyboarding as well as how to navigate applications such as Google Drive, Office Suite and iCloud.

“You don’t just sit there with a book anymore – almost everything is interactive and online,” Gerdes said.

Director of Academics Megan Schott said in addition to the new technology course, the campus now offers a Shakespeare and poetry course, a forensics science class, AP chemistry and an eighth-grade Algebra I course.

The eighth-grade algebra course will bring students from Trinity Episcopal School to St. Joseph to help get students in a challenging high school setting, Schott said.

The school is also taking this year to design another new course to offer for the 2020-2021 school year, Schott said. The proposed new class would be a science research elective that would help connect students with local professionals.

The course would help students get real-world experience while still in high school, Schott said.

“Having a variety of courses gives the students a chance to pick a class that they can connect with, like hands-on experience,” Schott said.

Senior Clayton Moore said he is looking forward to expanding his knowledge of digital platforms and technology. Clayton has taken computer classes since he was in middle school and has taken several technology electives at St. Joseph. The 17-year-old plans to major in computer science in college and pursue a career in cybersecurity.

“I think taking as many technology courses that you can definitely helps with a career in computer science. The classes here provides a good base of knowledge of technology and understanding computers,” Clayton said.

Reice Tibiletti said she is ready to try to master a new area of performance. Reice, a dancer with the Victoria Ballet Theatre, said she enrolled in theater arts this year.

“In ballet, we do a little bit of acting, so I wanted to learn and do more theater,” Reice, 14, said.

The freshman said her first day of high school had gone well and she has met new people in each of her classes.

“I’m ready to make all A’s this year and come out with a new group of friends by the end of the school year,” she said.

Amber Aldaco reports on education for the Victoria Advocate. She may be reached at aaldaco@vicad.com or 361-580-6303.

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Education Reporter

Amber Aldaco is the education reporter at the Victoria Advocate. She's covered various events in the Crossroads including a zoo rescue, a biker funeral and a state meeting with the governor. She enjoys singing with her significant other.

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