Mind Over Matter

Carrying on the legacy of Mrs. Fick and exploring the mind through meditation.

Shakira Cross and Emma Moloney

“Energize your mind… take AP Psych” and “Join the movement. Don’t trip. Take AP Psych” are just a few of the posters you see when you walk into the AP Psychology room. Not only is room 246 a classroom for AP Psychology, but was also the room for Positive Psychology.

After the sad and sudden news of Janna Fick, previous Hickman high school teacher of AP Psych and Positive Psych, and her quick departure for health reasons, the transition had many shocked, hurt, and sad to see her go.

“Many students took the class because of her,” Andrew Sansoucie said. Sansoucie, or Mr. S, is the new full-time teacher for AP Psychology. Before he became full time, Mr. S was a student teacher for a government class at Battle High School.

“When I got the emergency call from Mr. G I was happy to help,” Sansoucie said.

It was his willingness to be open to teach a class full of students who took the class for Fick that enhanced not only his experience, but that of the students and faculty around him.

“Mr. S and Dr. Lennon are both great teachers and they did a good job on such short notice,” junior Laura Frymire and current AP Psych student said.

Like Frymire mentioned, Sansoucie was not alone in this sudden change. Virginia Lennon, or Dr. Lennon, the EEE and Resource teacher, was right by his side.

“He is a natural,” Lennon said.

Both Lennon and Sansoucie created a strong bond. Sansoucie believes that the transition was positive and found his own teaching style in taking on his new role.

“Although disappointed, [students] were generous and open minded,” Sansoucie said. “I am not Mrs. Fick, but I adapted the legacy she left and made it my own so that I can be as authentic as possible.”

Many students seemed to enjoy the new teaching style Mr. S brought to such an expansive and in-depth Ap Psych class.

“We do a lot of lectures just because there’s so much material to cover, but Mr. S does a good job of incorporating little games and activities that tie back to what we’re learning to help us further understand the concepts,” Frymire said. “They’re usually around 2o minutes, but they’re a great way to take a break from notes and yet still learn about the unit.”

Regardless of the teacher, the AP Psych class at Hickman has proven to be a popular one, bringing in numerous students each year and engaging all who take it.

“It’s not your typical AP class, and I feel like what you learn in there you can apply to the outside world,” Frymire said. “It’s very eye opening, and gives you new perspectives that you’ve never really looked at before.”

It is clear that Fick has left her mark not only through her past AP Psych students, but also in pioneering a new class: Positive Psychology. And what better person to teach the class than the “touch stone” himself, George Frissell, the now-retired Classical Ideas and World Religions teacher at Hickman.

Positive Psychology is “all about mindfulness, meditation and just the positive aspects of life,” senior Astasia Payne said.

Fick’s goal for Positive Psych was to be able to, in the midst of a crazy high school schedule, breathe mindfully for five minutes to ease tension, anxiety, and adapt a new outlook on life itself in a world that is just all about work, work, work.

“Unlike a regular psychology class that focuses on the negative deviances of the human brain and how to fix issues, the class is all about delving into the aspects of the human mind that are deviant in a good way,” senior Emily Fulcher said.

A class consisting of activities such as a sitting meditation and a walking meditation, focusing on a person’s strengths, and watching movies such as The Secret Life of Bees aims to make students in that class more “resilient, compassionate, and happier.”

“I’m pretty good at mediating now,” Fulcher said.

The 16 students of first semester’s Positive Psychology class started a project of building a labyrinth in dedication of Fick. Although the labyrinth is still up for discussion and under construction, the work and thought put into it will be one to remember. A sudden situation turned into an awesome opportunity for learning not only inside the classroom, but outside too.