Doddridge County High School took a student survey in 2012 and found more than 80 percent of the students did not think what they learned in school was helpful or related to real life.
Even more, 85 percent, did not think school was interesting or developed their talents, and 96 percent said they would care more about school if they could occasionally engage in activities they chose.
The faculty and administration at the school listened to the students.
They received $50,000 in Innovation Zone grant money and launched the Learning to Make a Difference program.
Community members participate in the program. About 40 volunteers help the students with their projects every Innovation Zone day.
"They are willing to give their time freely and work with our students, share their skills with our students - working hand in hand," said Principal Greg Kuhns.
Ralph Sandora, a Doddridge County commissioner, volunteers as a culinary class teacher. He says he already sees a big change in student attitudes toward school.
"Schools can't teach everything that a person needs to learn. That's impossible. We don't have enough time to teach children every basic necessity needed to encounter life," said Sandora.
"This is like a stepping stone for these children, and when they walk out of here today, you will see the smiles on everybody's faces and how they enjoyed their class and how they can't wait to come to the next session."
A national study funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation several years ago indicated 47 percent of high school dropouts said their reason for dropping out was uninteresting classes.
Schools that apply for the Innovation Zone and Dropout Prevention Grant must come up with their own programs. Once a program has been approved, another school cannot duplicate it under the grant rules.
Kanawha County Schools received a grant in 2011. Bob Calhoun, executive director of elementary education, said each program serves as a step towards finding solutions to improving student learning and decreasing dropout rates.
The Doddridge program is a logistical challenge because all 374 students participate in the various projects, some at the school and some at other sites.
Students voted on the projects to be offered, and they include photography, woodworking, fly tying, recording oral history and pastry making.
Organizing the groups, arranging transportation and getting community volunteers have been a challenge.
LauraLee Modesitt, a social studies teacher, said it's not an easy task to get all of the student projects to run smoothly. She played a key role in applying for the grant
"This isn't easy; this is a lot of hard work," she said. "We're not moving mountains yet, but I'm hoping."
Each group will display its efforts in a showcase at the school set for this evening.
An additional $2.2 million was recently designated for the grant program for the 2013-2014 school year.
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