Coldwater Prep gets scholars ready for school year

Finance Fun-Oh-Fun

By Lyla Kavanagh ’26 (HW)
Finance Fun-Oh-Fun is a summer program that’s been running for several years, and is based on an open lesson plan that encourages students to ask their own questions surrounding finance in a fun environment.
“One dose finance and two doses of fun,” said Patrick Toche, this year’s teacher.
He hopes for his students to gain an understanding of how to access data on our current economy using the internet, get a sense of how broad of a field economics is, and experience a class similar to what a college level finance class might look like.

English Essentials 1

By Caroline Cosgrove ’26 (HW)
English Essentials 1, taught by English teacher Eric Olson, is a three-week summer program to improve writing, reading and overall English skills. Olson said the students who join his summer program have a variety of skill-levels. Some are interested in improving their abilities, and some are looking for more challenges.
“I have some students who really need a little more help with their writing basics. And I have other students who have mastered those and they’re ready for more and so trying to find ways to keep that engaging for both students is one of the bigger challenges,” Olson said.
Olson explained that in the program, the students learn to improve their writing skills, grammar, and most importantly, active reading.
His biggest piece of advice is to learn the difference between reading for pleasure and reading for class.
“When you’re reading for English, treat it a little differently. Treat it like homework, you’ve got to study the work, not just not just read it passively.” Olson said.

Futuristic China

By Angela Ren ’27 HW
In this fast-paced Chinese language course, teacher Bin He (何) introduces students to the most recent technologies in China.
He leads his students through activities, making sure everyone has had a chance to speak and taking the initiative to make sure that all the students understand the new information.
“The class was good, immersive, funny and enjoyable,” Finn Kapsos ’28 (HW) said.
He creates innovative lesson plans to make learning Chinese fun and interactive.
“学中文应该是一个很高兴的事 [Learning Chinese should be a very happy activity],” He said with a smile on his face.

Study Skills

By Tali Gurule ’27 (HW)
While middle and high schoolers spend an extreme amount of time studying each year, very few have actually learned how to study properly.
For three weeks, History/Social Studies teacher Joseph Makhluf teaches Study Skills class at the upper school.
“I just wanted to teach this class so that students have an easier transition to whichever school they may be attending in the fall,” he said.
Through researching, note-taking, organizing and planning, Makhluf teaches his 20 students the fundamental skills needed to be successful in school.

Writing the Research Paper

By Angela Ren ’26 (HW)
In a quiet, sunny classroom, Katelynn You ’26 (HW) scrolls through multiple sources about the death penalty while racking her brain on which side she should take in her paper.
Meanwhile, the Writing the Research Paper teacher Eric Fodor moves around the classroom giving feedback and conversing with the students about what they could improve on and what he likes about their progress on their research paper.
While Writing the Research Paper may not seem like a class many students would take, the six that do say they believe it’s a great way to improve their analytical writing skills and prepare themselves for similar assignments in high school.
Sky Lee ’26 (HW) said he decided to write about the theoretical possibilities of what would have happened if Adolf Hitler had been able to develop a nuclear bomb first.
Linden Azad ’26 (HW) chose to write about the murder of Emmett Till.
“I thought it was interesting because the story is extremely controversial,” Azad said.
Each fascinated by their own topics, the researchers work silently in the company of each other to draft their paper before the end of their two-week class.

Game Design

By Mia Ushiba ’26 (HW)
When you enter programming teacher Henry Woody’s Game Design class, you see approximately 20 students discussing and programming games.
Students use Unity editor to create 2d and 3d games, varying in dimension, innovation and skill levels.
Although it is an educational class, Woody said it’s essential, “to have fun producing a game” and it’s important to “Be interested in and have a passion for creating things,”.
Many of his students reflect these traits, developing platformer, topdown, and maze games, even designing an NFT gallery.
Woody said he loves the creative process and energy the students bring to class. He loves hearing the diversity of ideas they discuss and eventually proceeding through the design process, making their own unique and engaging video game.

Public Speaking

By Joanna Xia ’27 (HW)
Public speaking can be a nerve-racking experience, but it’s not impossible to master.
“Go ahead and join and just have fun,” teacher Andrew Yllescas said. “Speech writing is something that I think people see as intimidating, but basically write about whatever you want, we don’t really have prompts, could say write about a specific thing. It’s more like, hey, write about whatever you want, as long as it is informative writing, as long as it is about you, as long as it is creative, you can do whatever you want. It’s really a creative class.” So for the summer, find out what you’re made of by taking a class that will help you become an articulate and confident speaker.

Creative Writing

By Eze Baum ’26 (HW)
Creative Writing is an emphasizing process that encourages students to develop different styles and techniques. Taught by Lucas Gonzalez, students learn about different styles of writing and applications for them.
“Personally, the environment is really fun, it’s light, the teacher creates a good environment for us. What it’s like I think is a really fun class,” Gian Ngo-Willis HW ’26 said.

Summer Jazz Workshop

By Joanna Xia ’27 (HW) & Amayrani Ordonez ’27 (Stella Middle Charter Academy)
“This class is a really general overview of all things that go into playing and performing jazz,” jazz teacher Chris Sullivan said. “We do a lot of listening, a lot of discussion of what we are listening to, an analysis, we cover music theory, ear training, we study rhythm, different styles, like Latin, swing, funk, all across the board, we learn a lot of repertoire.”
“I encourage anybody reading this, if you go to Harvard-Westlake, to take the jazz class. Take a music class. There is nothing to be lost, and hopefully realize that it is a really fun thing that is welcome and open to anybody.”

Summer Film: The Basics

By Joanna Xia ’27 (HW) & Amayrani
Ordonez ’27 (Stella Middle Charter Academy)
Summer Programs challenge students to think in big ways that express themselves.
“In the summer, it’s really fun,” summer film intensive teacher Sarah Morton said. “I think that because it is not like a regular academic year, they are not getting grades, we try to keep it a little bit more fun and more light. But the way that I’ve always tried to do the summer film anyway, is that we are actually making movies. From the moment they start the class, they basically start filming their first day, and then start editing, so by the end, they know how to make a short film, on their own, that’s the goal.”