By Anastasia Marchese
On Nov. 29 the Mt. Olive High School opened its doors to the public for a grand opening tour of its new facilities and to educate the community about the school’s varied technology and arts programs.
The tour began in the Performing Arts Center, which is a state of the art performance space capable of holding the entire school population. There visitors were greeted and introduced to many of the faculty, staff, community members, and business partners who are responsible for the recent renovations and school improvements. The audience was then broken up into five different tour groups.
As they exited the auditorium, visitors enjoyed the student strings group playing for them in the foyer. The tours were led by faculty members, who walked visitors to the different areas of interest.
Mt. Olive students who participate in the different programs were on hand to answer questions and to explain how the classes interface with the technologies available to them.
One stop on the tour took visitors to the robotics labs, which are very impressive. Members of the robotics team, MORT (Mt. Olive Robotic Team) were present to explain the creative process as well as to describe what the competitions are like and the variety of places that they have traveled to compete. The school has a metalworking shop in which the students can fabricate parts, as well as a classroom where the floor is painted like an outdoor sports field. The students can use this room to have their robots play against one another.
The visitors were also invited to tour “The MILL” which is the newest addition to the school’s very advanced technology program. MILL stands for “Marauder Innovation Learning Lab” and “Making what’s next” is the theme of the center.
In the hallway before entering the new space, the MILL’s mission statement is painted on the wall, “It all starts with an idea. . . that will be cultivated by our innovators’ imagination, skills, and talents into a reality. By melding art and design concepts, our scholars will embrace challenges as critical and creative thinking practices help them realize that mistakes are opportunities for improvement. Thus, our innovators are empowered to explore, collaborate, build, and design potential products for the good of humanity. Ultimately, they will become confident and compassionate global leaders.”
In addition to a large open area designated for design and innovation, there is a new computer lab equipped with 30 3D printers, called the MakerBot Innovation Center. According to the Mt. Olive “The MILL” flyer given to visitors touring the center, “The MILL features the only MakerBot Innovation Center in a high school in the world!”
As part of the renovations, there is also a new large recording studio, equipped with state of the art recording equipment, production quality lighting and brand new audience seating.
According to the “Education Update” for November, the official publication of the Mt. Olive Township School District, The audio facility was designed by renowned record producers/engineers Tony Bongiovi, cousin to rocker Jon Bon Jovi, and Ron Saint Germain.
In the television production rooms, Mt. Olive students produce Mt. Olive TV (MOTV) shows. Students participate in all aspects including filming, editing and hosting. They also air live shows on MOTV Mon., Wed. and Fri. at 7:20 a.m., which can be found on FiOS Channel 32 and Cablevision 21.
MOHS was ranked among America’s Top High Schools for 2016 by Newsweek and In 2015 as one of the Best High Schools by U.S. News and World Report.
Visitors to the facility were shown not only the facilities but also the incredible programs and classes that have earned MOHS these distinctions.