Students say yes to YES


2018 YES class: Creativity and Mindfulness does Yoga. Photo: Colby Skoglund.

Preity Mangar, Staff Writer

BHS’ Year End Studies (YES) program is up and running again after a two-year pause due to COVID-19. YES is a two-week intensive learning experience held at the end of the school year that offers a wide range of non-traditional classes and activities created by teachers. Only a small number of Vermont’s 129 high school districts operate programs like YES, with BHS, Rutland, and Champlain Valley Union High School being the most prominent. 

This year, YES courses are set to begin on May 25, with students signing up for programs in early March. Emmalynn Peterson ‘23 has never taken a YES class and had to make choices with limited information.

“I didn’t know anything about [YES] going into it,” Peterson said. 

Laura Zhou-Hackett ’23 observed that some of her freshmen classmates, including herself, had never attended YES before and began giving them advice during class.

2018 YES Sailing and Leadership course. Photo: Colby Skoglund

“Choose a YES program that you enjoy,” Zhou-Hackett said. “…It doesn’t have to be about what your friends are doing. “If you see a [YES] class that interests you- choose it.” 

The BHS YES program is part of the academic school year and counts as 0.25 credit. Students need a total of 1 full YES credit to graduate. But for many students, like Josue Correa ‘22, earning credit isn’t the main concern. 

“I’m doing ‘Into the Dungeon,’ and I’m hoping that me and a couple of other friends might be able to be in the same group with each other and make a fool of ourselves,” Correa said. 

Brennan Carney, a BHS history teacher, fondly recalled when he and math teacher David Williams co-created a college athletics YES course. The recruitment process to become an athlete is among many things that they discussed in the class.

“I’ve had multiple students come up to me who took me and Mr. William’s college athletics class and come back and then speak at it as a college athlete,” Carney said. “It’s not like my class was the reason they got recruited, but it was the first step for them, their journey into the college athletic realm.” 

Leah Chamberlain ‘22 revisited her experience as a teacher assistant through YES. 

“I feel like [the elementary students and I] built trust very quickly because I was there all day,” Chamberlain. 

Bowen Stephens, a BHS History/Civics teacher, created a YES class in the past called “Marvel and DC Comics.” Bowen recounted visiting a comic book store with her class.

“It was really cool to see all these connections being made, all these students and other Burlington people who really care about the same thing that they do,” Bowen said. 

Chamberlain ‘22 explained what the YES program entails for participants.

“I think  [YES] will just give everyone a greater experience of what they like to do and maybe they’ll learn something new that they never knew [before],” Chamberlain said.