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Amongst the cold, snowy winter of northeast Ohio, intensives provide a much-needed spark of creativity and enthusiasm to kick-off the second semester. Two-week classes, designed around specific topics of interest for young men, have brought out the best in our students, Faculty, and staff alike. While intensives offer a break from traditional subjects and classroom environments, each class affords students the opportunity to expand their educational skills in areas such as writing, public speaking, science, and many others!

The Black Mirror intensive, taught by Mr. Hare and Ms. Godoy, has been a particularly interesting class this year. Centered around the popular Netflix series, students are immersed in discussion about issues at the heart of our society such as technology, bullying, and social media. Each day, the young men in class watch an episode carefully selected by Ms. Godoy. The episodes shown in class are chosen to make each student think critically and reflect upon their own life. Each student must write his own reflection paper about the episode and prepare a presentation to share with the class after having a group discussion. This intensive provides a multitude of opportunity for students to work on their writing and public speaking skills. However, a much more significant aspect of this class has been self-reflection. Group discussions and reflection papers have inspired many students to take a break from technology. Several students even decided to give up their phones for a week!

The Zombie Apocalypse intensive is another class receiving rave reviews this year. Taught by Mrs. Studer, Mrs. Ngom, and Mrs. Goehring, students have been exploring all aspects of a zombie apocalypse. Topics included survival skills, analyzing potential causes, and researching disaster preparedness. While studying edible plant and insect species, building fires in the snow, and going over common rescue symbols to be prepared if the undead ever do roam the earth searching for brains, the young men in this intensive have also researched more plausible causes of disaster. This included a section focused on disease outbreaks that have caused massive deaths throughout the course of history including the Spanish Flu and Bubonic Plague. Students spent time analyzing these events, learning about the causes and management of the outbreaks, and analyzing what could have been done to end the disaster sooner.

Unique to Grand River Academy, intensives provide an opportunity for growth amongst our Faculty and student body. Teachers are tasked with designing all aspects of their class, including the course curriculum, activities, and assignments. Moreover, students are also engaged in this process, helping select topics of interest and providing feedback throughout the course to help improve class flow, material, and activities. Intensives are an important part of our program. They allow students to explore topics of interest as they discover their true passions. Intensives are another way Grand River Academy lives out its mission to help young men activate their potential and find success.

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