Building a Team: A look into Archie Williams’ new upperclassmen academy


Ella Furuichi

Team teacher Diana Goldberg helps students write a letter introducing themselves.

Wednesday, Aug. 17, marked the official introduction of the new Team program to AWHS. Based on outdoor education and community building, the academy is an upperclassmen oriented around outdoor learning. 

Taught by English teacher Diana Goldberg and Drama teacher Jasper Thelin, Team is the third upperclassmen academy offered at AWHS. Classes required within the program include Wilderness Medicine, English, Leadership, and Workplace Learning. There are also classes required outside of the Team curriculum, such as Math, Chemistry, Social Studies, and an elective of choice. 

In addition, students in Team can get to decide what kind of professions they would like to learn more about, or would like to pursue as a career path. In their Workplace Learning class, they get in contact with an establishment or business specializing in their subject of interest, and can experience it firsthand as a part of the curriculum. 

This year, there are 24 juniors in the academy, but in years to come there will be about 50 students with an even split between juniors and seniors. 

The Team students use class time to work on their introduction letters, with help from teacher Diana Goldberg. (Ella Furuichi)

“I think [Team is] this recognition that we all have strengths and we can all learn from each other,” Goldberg said. “To be able to hike and backpack and do internships during the school day and not be an excuse to not be in school, but let [backpacking and internships] be school.” 

Junior Benny Perloff is one student in this year’s Team class. She was drawn to the new program for its hands-on learning experiences. 

“Backpacking really caught my attention…and they help you get community service and internships,” Benny said. “Right now we are preparing to go to the Sierras for nine days and we’ve already contacted a bunch of internship and community service people,”

Currently, Team students are contacting different community organizations about community service and internship placements. They are also preparing for a nine-day backpack trip through the Sierras on Sept. 21, and, in addition to weekly hikes, learned how to pitch their tents.

 Junior Micah Arnold, another Team member, feels encouraged to be himself among other Team students. 

“There’s just a really cool sense of community,” Micah said. “I’m glad that I’m going to be a part of that and I look forward to getting to build those connections further.” 

Members of this year’s Team class look forward to the year ahead.