Life Skills Workshops Offered to Seniors, Met with Mixed Reactions

The senior corner. Photo by Olivia Brown.

Senior Life Skills Workshops, held at the end of each school year since the 1990s, took place on Sept. 6 this year.

According to history teacher Topher Dunne, Life Skills Workshops had not been held in full since 2019 due to COVID. Last year, seniors were able to participate in one workshop at the end of the year instead of the typical two. Now, the usual two workshop sessions have been brought back at the beginning of the year. The workshops are designed to prepare seniors for life beyond GDS. Twelfth grade dean Marjorie Hale was the main organizer of the workshops, which were all led by GDS faculty.

Senior Julian Montes-Sharp participated in workshops called Financial Literacy and How to Change a Car Tire, which he told the Bit were a “great way to start the year.” He added that he enjoyed both the content of the workshops and the social setting.

Dunne said that Life Skills Workshops are designed to help seniors “move away from GDS.” Dunne added that he thought the skills taught in these workshops would be more effective if they had been taught at the end of the year. Senior Lina Fawaz also said the workshops would have been more helpful at the end of the academic year, adding that she may forget the skills she learned over the rest of her time at GDS.

Senior Claire Simon said that having the courses at the beginning of the year was “a nice way to ease” into the school year. She said she thinks having the workshops at the end of the year would not have been “ideal” due to the timing of graduation. Montes-Sharp said he found the workshops so enjoyable that he wished they would happen twice a year, both at the beginning and the end.

Simon attended Cooking 101 and How to Change a Car Tire, both of which she said were fun and interesting. 

Senior Talia Berger attended workshops titled How to Change Your Life by Managing Your Email & Calendars and How to Pack a Suitcase. She said that the workshops contained “no new ideas.” Berger added that she enjoyed the opportunities to connect with her peers, instead of the actual subjects of the workshops.

Dunne ran a workshop titled Financial Literacy, in which he discussed budgeting and economics in the digital age. Dunne, who studied economics in college and teaches a class called Introduction to Economics, has been teaching a similar workshop since he came to GDS in 1995. 

Dance and acting teacher Maria Watson was enthusiastic about running her workshop, How to Do a Load of Laundry. She said that being able to clean your clothes is important to know when students go off to college. Though her course was primarily focused on how to do laundry, she also incorporated information on how to minimize the ecological effects of doing laundry. Watson also suggested that Life Skills Workshops be offered as a class at GDS.    

Director of Operations and Innovation Tim Lyons ran a workshop called How to Change a Car Tire. He said he wanted to lead a “practical” workshop and believed that students had walked away more “self-sufficient.”