By Mandi Hall, staff writer
The leadership is changing in the Knights’ Way program for the 2017-18 school year. The current sponsors, business teacher Cathy Fortuna and school psychologist Jay Kyp-Johnson, are retiring this year. They are passing the torch on to four teachers eager to take on this new program.
Assistant principal for Student Activities Frank Mirandola selected four new teachers who applied to run Knights’ Way next year: English teacher Joyce Kim, psychology teacher Jay Heilman, social science teacher Qiana Drye and technology facilitator Matthew Hamilton.
The four of them will have their first meeting as a team next Tuesday, March 21, to discuss logistics and plans for next year.
Heilman is excited to be working with this program. Having had a small hand in it for a while now, he is particularly looking forward to being in charge and expanding the program, broadening it for the better. He even sees a real world connection to a program like Knights’ Way and the character building that occurs.
“That’s something that sometimes gets lost in a school setting because you get so consumed with test scores, consumed with dates and facts and grades and GPA,” Heilman said. “… But that could be a critical component for getting hired for a job.”
Kim, though this is only her first year at Prospect, is excited to dive right into the program next year, working with the Knights’ Way leaders to strengthen the lessons and character building.
“I see the power of the program, even though I’ve only been here several months,” Kim said. “My kids really take in what [the Knights’ Way leaders] are saying, and they are inspired, encouraged and challenged by the upperclassmen.”
Looking toward the future, Kim hopes to unite the leaders and the isolated lessons, so that all students and faculty are focused on a common goal.
“A long term vision where the students and staff can see what we’re working towards would be more coherent instead of isolated lessons,” Kim said. “And I know that the whole long-term thing is building character, but I think the kids can make it a little more tangible than abstract.”
Knights’ Way is a central part of Prospect culture, and though students and faculty are saying goodbye to the two co-sponsors who have run it for years, it seems that this program can flourish under the new leadership.
“I’ve always always felt it’s very relevant to have character aspects taught in classrooms, and a big part of what [students] take away from your education is how to treat people better,” Heilman said.