Like most teenagers in Cottage Grove, Hayden Walker started his high school career at Cottage Grove High School. But this June, he’ll be closing it out just under a mile away at Kennedy, an alternative high school in the area.
“It has a stigma but I would recommend it,” he said of the school’s “alternative” label. At first, Walker was concerned it would be forced to wear the same troublesome label and people would assume he had been forced into Kennedy because of his behavior. But his path to Kennedy and its unique way of teaching, started out of educational concern.
“It was hard at Cottage Grove,” he said of the city’s traditional high school. “There were big class sizes and I couldn’t get one-on-one with teachers.”
It was during his sophomore year at Cottage Grove High School that a teacher suggested Kennedy as a solution. Walker made the transition and completed his junior year and will be graduating this June.
When he leaves Kennedy it will be bittersweet. He says his favorite part of the school and the thing he'll miss the most is the teachers.
He'll also leave with a new favorite subject, "Math. Not because I'm good at it. It just made more sense this year," he said.
After graduation, Walker intends to enroll at Lane Community College to pursue a career in physical therepy or personal training.
"I can't imagine not spending a lot of time in the gym," he says, explaining he spends several hours in the local gym after school lets out each day.
"Kennedy was a good choice for me," he said. "I would recommend it to anyone who thinks they can't do well with the 'normal' way they teach you at CGHS."