What’s Changed: A Flashback to Magnet as We Found it in 2016


the Kronsbergs circa 2017

As the school year comes to a close this month and the seniors say goodbye to their already reduced AMHS lives, I wanted to take a look back at all the things that have changed on campus since we first arrived. While the school is much the same, we may not realize just how much of the AMHS experience has shifted even slightly in the past four years.

Starting with the obvious, we have Ms. Spencer. She took over as our principal in the summer of 2017 after Ms. Peterson retired. Though we only had the legendary Judith Peterson (JP) as our principal for one year, I think she made a huge impact on each and every one of us that were there. Since our sophomore year, we have not looked back under Ms. Spencer either. I must, however, also note the constant through this process that has been Mrs. Pinckney.Β One major change that did come with that switch was a gradual implementation of Google Classroom into our lives, and who knew it would be so crucial to our daily existence now.

When we arrived as freshmen at Summer Scholars, AMHS had just been ranked as the eighth best high school in the nation. While this wouldn’t matter at many schools, we were very tapped in to each and every step of the roller coaster that followed. We dipped slightly to #11 in 2017 before being initially left off the rankings and added as an afterthought at #43 in 2018. Then, on April 30, 2019, a day that will reign legendary in Magnet lore, we hit #1. Sadly, we fell back this year, but only to the second spot in the rankings for a net gain of six spots in our four years. Upgrades, people, upgrades.

Of course, our faculty has undergone a fairly noticeable change in this tie as well. Picturing a floor plan of the school as you walk in from the main parking lot, the first two rooms on your left remain unchanged. Around where you meet the main hallway, the next room on your left was occupied by SeΓ±ora Shields and her many scripts and costumes for Moana until the end of last year when she too retired (though returned as one of our amazing substitutes many times this year) and was replaced by Dr. Lupo. The final room on the left also has undergone quite a change of occupants as it belonged to Mrs. Yackey our freshman year before going to Ms. Sharpe in 2017-18 and a split between Oliveira and Lindgren last year, and finally being fully taken over by Oliveira full-time this year.Β The next room that changed hands was the second classroom on the right as you walk down the main hallway downstairs. The room just across from key originally belonged to Ms. McIntyre. When she sadly departed after our first year, however, Mrs. Yackey moved in has a held her grip on the room every since. Across the hall from there has always (and will always) be Mr. Flanigan’s room. Though he took a significant leave in the middle of last year, we were so glad to have him back at the beginning of this year. After it didn’t work out for him to stay, Ms. Zerbst took over his classes and his room for the remainder of this year. The only other room in that hallway that has changed hands these past four years was the AP Bio classroom. Belonging to Mrs. Eicher until spring of 2018, the classroom is best known as Ms. Snelgrove’s room*. The final downstairs room Β to see a new teacher was the old engineering room of Ms. English and later Ms. Aydlette. For the past two years, the classroom has been repurposed for freshman and sophomore math by Ms. Liang. On a related note, Ms. Aydlette has since taken over the room immediately above that one. Perhaps the oddest of the AMHS classrooms, this room had a somewhat abandoned vibe for awhile, though it was occupied part-time by Mr. Lindgren two years ago. Two rooms down lies the illustrious former home of Mr. Corson. When he left in 2018, the room was smoothly transitioned to Mr. Schmidt, though it will never cease to be Mr. Corson’s room. Adjacent to this (through the “junior lounge”) is the chemistry lab. Like it’s downstairs twin, this room was vacated by Mr. Eicher in 2018 and taken by Mr. McGill, with perhaps more incident than the last (and Mr. Lindgren taught one class here this year). As we know, the English department at AMHS is a very reliable group, so it comes as no surprise that they have only had one major change in four years. The room in the middle of the hall, above Mr. Johnston, began as Mr. Wright’s classroom/room of odd knick-knacks. After an extensive moving out process, however, it became Ms. Smith’s room instead. The final teacher to leave us over the past three years was Mr. Hoffman, who like Mr. Wright left in 2017, was replaced by Ms. Galiza for two years before Mr. Garris took the post and the room this year.

Outside of our main building, we of course also saw a change in the PE department. Our beloved Coach Williams left in 2018, being promptly replaced by Coach Koll for both PE and volleyball. But she wasn’t gone long. Coach came back in the fall of 2019 to lead the Raptor athletics program. It marked the third Athletic Director in four year for our school, with a move from AA to AAA sandwiched in between.

Perhaps the most notable change, however, was one very near and dear to the current senior and junior classes. When we arrived, there was the Senior Thesis, this daunting crowning achievement that all underclassmen feared and most upperclassmen tried to procrastinate on. But 2016 turned to 2017 and 2017 turned to 2018, and thesis was gone. In its place was AP Capstone. While all Raptors are well familiar with Advanced Placement courses in general, this was very new for all involved. Two years, two classes, and three different projects. We navigated the first year thanks to Mrs. Benton, Ms. Smith, Ms. Hooffstetter, and Mr. Phillips, and now two classes have made it through Seminar. Adding in Ms. Callicott, Mr. Jent, Mrs. Bortz, and Mrs. Renes this year, we also made it through AP Research, though the presentations were cut for COVID-19.

And that leads me to my last point. We actually haven’t had a full school year in any of these last four years. Significant storms have hit every fall for the past five years and knocked out roughly a week of school each time. We actually had about a week of school knocked out for snow and winter weather before we returned from winter break in January of 2018 as well. But nothing has compared to this year. Our last day on campus, fittingly a Friday the 13th, was the second week of March, and we will graduate unlike any class before us, online.

But I will still miss this place a ton. Through all the changes and all the struggle, it’s been a home. When I started I had my older brother, and so many of my classmates can say the same. When we had step out on our own, it became a little more difficult, but AMHS was always there in some little way. Even this year, I would complain about everything that was school but almost every week for much of the spring and winter you could find me in the lecture hall leading a Q&A session and tour for prospective Raptors, that was my way of adjusting to the change and passing on the legacy.


*As with Ms. Sharpe, we as a community are still mourning Ms. Snelgrove’s passing, and I know the next teacher to take the room full-time will honor her as well.