SMNW

Same Seat Different Room 205

Sarah Milks, Staff Writer

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Through the front doors of Northwest and just up the stairs is room 205, home to science teacher Lindsey Demke and her students. Students have their own individual interests and goals, but ended up in Demke’s classes because of an affinity for science. In the back right corner of her second hour class sits freshman Henry Kniggendorf.

“I have Demke for honors biology,” Kniggendorf said. “In middle school, I took all honors classes and so my parents thought it was best for me to also take all honors in high school, especially in math and science, since those are my strong points.”

Kniggendorf claims the class is filled with fun and excitement every day, whether in the labs or the off-task interactions the students have with Demke. Kniggendorf’s classmates all recall their craziest day in Honors Biology when he brought in a dead mouse he stuffed named Nicholas Cage for Demke.

“I bestowed Nicholas Cage upon the room ,” Kniggendorf said. “Toward the end of seventh grade, I decided it would be a fun activity to try out taxidermy. The one I gave Mrs. Demke was probably the seventh taxidermy project I’ve done.”

Kniggendorf’s interest in taxidermy was inspired by a squirrel he saw dead on the side of the road.

“I thought it would be fun to pick it up, make it clothes, make a little coffin and then bury it,” Kniggendorf said. “Later that school year I remembered the squirrel and wanted to taxidermy something so I could keep it.”

To stuff animals, Kniggendorf uses borax, a couple of expo knives and pliers. Through YouTube, he learned how to preserve animals in a life-like manner and now does it without any guidance. Besides taxidermy as a hobby, Kniggendorf is a part of marching band, playing the tuba. He said that the marching band made him feel more welcomed.  

Demke teaches not only the freshman-dominated Honors Biology, but also AP Biology, taken by exclusively upperclassmen. Kniggendorf’s seat is taken by senior Lauren Hallblade in Demke’s fourth-hour class.

“I took AP Biology because I wanted to challenge myself for my last year of high school and take a class I wouldn’t normally go for,” Hallblade said.

Hallblade loves animals, spending most of her time outside of school riding horses and occasionally volunteering at a rescue. She started riding English style three years ago, and it has since become a big part of her life. She enrolled in AP Biology to help her prepare for a career in veterinary medicine.

“It’s what I’ve wanted to do ever since I was little,” Hallblade said. “The opportunity to be around animals and care for them has always been my dream.”

While her love for animals is what brought her to room 205, Hallblade has ended up enjoying AP Biology for the strange conversations that occur during fourth hour.

“We talk about cannibalism and who we would eat first almost every day in class,” Hallblade said.

Two periods after Hallblade’s class, her place is filled by sophomore Jake Lane in Intro to Biotechnology.

“I wound up taking this course because I have always had an interest in science,” Lane said. “Biotechnology combines two of my major interests in a myriad of opportunities. I figured I could learn a lot about what a future in science could mean for me.”

The class activities vary each day with labs, videos about biotechnologists and guest speakers making frequent appearances. Lane appreciates the real-world experience he gets from the class and hopes to go into the biotechnology field in college and as a career.

“ is like a window into how the world actually works with science majors and internships, and that gives me a great perspective for the future,” Lane said. “I’m not completely decided yet, but it is one of the best options for my interests that might play a role in enrolling at one college or another. The biotechnology career field is a massive and growing enti

ty, so a job in biotech is very likely for someone like me.”

In addition to his academic endeavors, Lane is also heavily involved in the band program, as a trombone section leader in marching band, as well as a member of symphonic band, basketball band and traveling bands for SM assemblies.

“Sometimes the time commitments become challenging to balance, for sure,” Lane said. “However, I’ve been able to keep things pretty consistent this year. Some nights I do end up a little rushed, but I’d say it’s totally worth it.”

Lane continues to strive for greatness both in and out of room 205.

“My favorite part of being a student at Northwest is the number of opportunities you receive through the great programs here,” Lane said. “If you work hard and in the right direction, you can live out your dreams. A big starting point for that is with a good educational program.”

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Same Seat Different Room 205