The Business Community supporting education through Career Fairs and paths and practice key job-hunting skills like resume-writing, effective interviewing and how to dress for success. Most middle and high schools have a requisite number of hours that students are encouraged to invest in community service. South County students can explore all kinds of opportunities from helping at the local library to volunteering in therapeutic horse- back riding programs. Others who need to earn money toward college are working at our local retail businesses. Their schedules are more tightly packed than in generations past, so they need to master the art of time management sooner rather than later. Among Oakwood’s traditions is the annual “Thanks and Giving Celebration,” which Oakwood School Principal Michelle Helvey said gives students a chance to serve the community. Students and their families donate and box up Thanksgiving dinners, accompanied by artwork created by the youngest students. The boxed dinners are then distributed by Community Solutions to families in need. Celebrating our region’s agricultural heritage this year was Sobrato High, which has one of the largest Future Farmers of America (FFA) programs. Students planted hedgerows along the school’s two-acre farm to protect native habitat and provide critical windbreaks. Students teamed up with Hedgerows Unlimited and Sustainable Agriculture Education (SAGE) as part of a project funded by the California Department of Food and Agriculture. In the process, students are planning a demonstration farm and learning about specialty crops and organic farming practices in Coyote Valley. Effective Communications Oakwood places a high value on effective communication. Principal Helvey said that “perform with gusto” is among the 16 GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN school’s catchphrases, and young students are encouraged to become confident communicators through a variety of activities, including theater arts. Through middle school, Oakwood students take two periods of English daily to hone their writing skills. High school students learn what goes into writing compelling essays for college applications and college-level research papers. They also learn to communicate effectively one-on-one with teachers so they can do the same in college or the workforce. At Charter School of Morgan Hill, 8th Graders enjoy a Poetry Café, and the proof is in the results. This year, students’ works were published in Poetry Magazine and in Poetic Power, an anthology of children’s poetry. South County schools are introducing new opportunities for their students to communicate effectively through multi-media technology in the classroom and in student-run clubs such as the Britton TV Club. Students are making videos for a myriad of purposes: presenting projects in class, creating senior class tributes, teaching students how to use Chromebooks, capturing highlights of sports competitions and theater arts performances, providing tips for safe bicycling to school, chronicling special events and awards celebrations, and the list goes on. The Whole Student Charter School of Morgan Hill Principal Paige Cisewski has this advice for parents whose children are coming of school age: “Tour school campuses, meet teachers and students. There’s more to school than test scores, like whole-child education and a healthy school culture.” JULY / AUGUST 2015 gmhtoday.com SCHOOL “Rock the Mock” events.