North Shore students have new school, attitude | SierraSun.com

North Shore students have new school, attitude

Joanna Hartman
Sierra Sun
Ryan Salm/ Sierra SunStudents make their way to class in the new North Tahoe High School. Morale is up, and more importantly, crime is down.
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Teenage trends change as often as the seasons do, but North Tahoe High School students and faculty hope that positive attitudes and low crime rates remain in style.

“Overall, school spirit is up. As a result I think there’s a lot more pride in the school, somewhat related to the new building, but also renewed enthusiasm in the staff,” said North Tahoe High School vice principal Stephanie Welsh.

Although this autumn began with a few bumps in the road, including vandalism of the new facility, the total number of negative incidents, including referrals and arrests, is down this year.

School resource officer and Placer County Deputy Russ Potts said he has only made two arrests since the start of the school year, one for fighting and one for theft.

In a typical year, he would have made more than two dozen arrests by this time, he said.

“We first have to give the ‘atta boy’ to the students,” Potts said. But also commend proactive teachers, respect for the new school building and fear of the omnipresent cameras.

Video cameras were installed for student security when the new school was built, Potts said. And the open structure of the new school allows for teachers to monitor the students more closely.

Not only do the cameras help keep the kids safe, they also help keep students in line.

“More people are afraid of getting caught,” said Brandon Gruetzemacher, a North Tahoe High junior.

Additionally, more students are attending school-based activities like dances, where the staff have had fewer problems with fighting, and drug and alcohol use compared to past years.

“The school spirit has gone up a lot since the new building,” said senior Andie Paul. “The leadership class has brought a lot of new stuff.”

“And that affects fights and stuff,” added senior Ruth Torres. “People just get along.”

Increased participation and decreased problems are also due in part to the implementation of a homeroom class, the growing student leadership group and an organization that emphasizes alcohol and drug-free events, Welsh said.

Youth in Action, an offshoot of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, meets as an extra-curricular group to promote sober fun. Students involved with the organization agree there appears to be less drug and alcohol use and that it is no longer sanctioned as ‘cool.’

“There are more people aware of drug and alcohol use this year than last, and more actions put in place to prevent it,” said junior Joe Erman. “The whole morale has gone up a lot from last year.”

Students, teachers and other faculty agree that this school year has gone exceptionally well, allowing them to focus on improving academics and closing the achievement gap.

“Certainly we have a good group of kids, and certainly we will continue to have a good group of kids,” said Potts.