Where We Stand – Northern on Top

NL's opinion editor, Jon Crowell, examines why it's great to be a Huskie.

Where We Stand - Northern on Top

Jonathan Crowell, Opinion Editor

“We have a great IB program, great school spirit for sports and activities, and the best teachers,” said Dylan Jones (12). Portage Northern is home of some of the most successful sports teams in the area, offering many extracurricular activities, as well providing one of the best educations in the area. Of course, while there are still plenty of students that will never be satisfied with the advantages Northern offers, and allow the small faults, which can be found in any school, to lower their opinion of the school, Northern stands tall above many schools in the area. Few schools offer the same well rounded and enjoyable experience as Northern.
Statistically, Northern can not compete with the top schools in Michigan such as the International Academy (IA) in academics. Typically, IA students produce an average ACT score of 28.5, about 6 points higher than PN. While, at first, this number may be alarming, it should be noted that students at IA are required to take the IB diploma to attend. Exempting non IB diploma students significantly raises their average score, as well as creates an environment of students with high expectations for academics. If Portage Northern’s IB student’s ACT score was taken, the difference is sure to be significantly smaller, if not nonexistent. In fact, Northern’s top 30 percent ranked near the best in the state.
To some, a full focus on academics may seem like a good idea. However, while IA puts all of it’s resources into education, they do not offer any sports teams or a band, while they also have a longer school year. Portage Northern surpasses IA significantly in its wide array of extracurricular activities. Northern offers over twenty-five clubs, more than twenty varsity sports teams, a marching band, and a large arts program. Adam Prior (12), who participates in multiple extracurricular activities including German Club, the musical and forensics, enjoys the friendships made through the opportunities offered by the school. “[Clubs are] fun. Everyone is friends — it’s a fun time,” said Prior (12).
As far as Northern’s sports teams go, the school is competitive enough to be considered a rival of other nearby schools which Northern would treat as just another team. “[Portage Northern] is our biggest rival because Northern is competitive,” said a student from Mattawan who wished to remain anonymous. Northern has gained a reputation for putting a competitive team on the field year after year. The same student also commented that at sporting events, Portage Northern’s “school spirit is impressive.” Games typically draw large crowds; from football to soccer, school sports never go unnoticed.
Classes tend to be taught very differently in different countries. “In Brazil [school] is boring. It starts at 7:10 and ends at 12:20, but it seems like 10 hours,” said Gabe Sabio (12), an exchange student from Brazil. Sabio also is fond of the opportunities offered at Northern that were not available in Brazil. “Here [at Northern] you get to choose the subject and change classes, we can not do that in Brazil.” Northern makes a constant effort to make the day enjoyable by giving their students freedom to select classes.
Being a part of Northern, students are given the chance to participate in EFE and EFA classes during the school day. Nathan Thoman (12) has taken this opportunity to get a jumpstart on his future plans of becoming a pilot by taking aviation. “My EFE is helping me reach my goal. I knew that by taking aviation, I would be more prepared to begin my career as a commercial pilot,” said Thoman. EFE and EFA’s are just another example of excellent opportunities offered by Northern.
Whether it is the sports, academics, or the overall atmosphere of the school, Portage Northern is one of the most well-respected and competitive schools in the area. Said Jones, “I could not ask for a better school.”