Photo courtesy of Cassville Democrat

Photo information/credit:  Wheaton physical education teacher Jessica Lombard, fourth from left, leads a line dancing class during Active Learning Day at Wheaton High School. Kyle Troutman/

Special day in Wheaton focuses on life skills

Speakers, variety of workshops offered to students

Some people say high school should teach a basic life skills class, with topics like how to do taxes, how to change a tire or how to cook, and Wheaton schools is offering a day for students to learn all that and more.

On Friday, Wheaton hosted its first Active Learning Day, during which the National Guard was able to present its Helping Everyone Achieve Respect (HEAR) training, State Treasurer Scott Fitzpatrick and State Rep. Scott Cupps, R-Shell Knob, presented, and over a dozen themed sessions were offered for students to choose from.

State Rep. Scott Cupps, R-Shell Knob, speaks to students about post-high school opportunities during Active Learning Day at Wheaton High School. Kyle Troutman/

Tyler Willis, Wheaton junior and high school principal, said the entire event started when the National Guard inquired about doing HEAR training for students at the school.

“The HEAR training was done by grade level in 50 minute increments to follow the normal bell schedule,” he said. “The 7th-12th grade classes will all be part of this event and the kindergarten through 6th grade classes will also do an elementary version of the HEAR training.”

Willis decided to make a day out of the event and add other sessions for students to learn life skills.

As his classmates look on, eighth-grader Devin Bateman puts a tire back on a vehicle during the auto mechanics class at Wheaton’s Active Learning Day. Kyle Troutman/

“We had 13 different sessions from doing your taxes to emergency first aid,” he said. “We have teachers not teaching their normal classes and instead offering up a lesson in something they feel is important for students to learn.”

Willis also encouraged community members to get involved with the project and teach sessions, as well.

“None of the sessions really cost the school any money, but they are very informational,” he said. “Scott Fitzpatrick was here to talk during an assembly, and the National Guard did an additional assembly about active awareness.”

Robert Phillippe, paramedic with Mercy EMS, talks about how to do the Heimlich maneuver for a person while they are laying on their back. Kyle Troutman/

Willis believes there was a project similar to this a few years ago in Wheaton, but it is the first since he has been at the school.

“I hope to see this continue,” he said. “It has potential to be an interesting day and something that the students look forward to.”

Activities that were available for the students to participate in included:

• Preserving food

• Emergency first aid

• Vehicle maintenance

• Graphic design and apps

• Income taxes 101

• Midwest Technical Institute

• Auctioneer basics

• Line dancing

• Cooking for one

• Careers in construction

• Barry County Sheriff’s Office

• Missouri representative, agriculture and government

• State Treasurer