Class of 2023 Dragon Talks change


Alivia Baker

Foothill Technology High School has an annual tradition of end-of-year presentations called “Dragon Talks”. These presentations are roughly 10 minutes and are given by graduating seniors detailing information about a school-approved topic of their choice. Check out what the seniors covered in their talks this year in the article below!

Maggie Lay

As the end of the year inches closer, senior finals have been completed and the annual Dragon Talks were presented. Dragon Talks are a Foothill Technology High School (Foothill Tech) tradition; the English final for seniors where they are assigned a TED Talk-esque presentation, and present it to every third-period class in the school. This year, a change is breaking this tradition with the Dragon Talks being assigned to present only in the seniors’ regular English classes. 

The schedule change was the decision of Advanced Placement (AP) Literature and Composition teacher Melanie “Captain” Lindsey, and her college-prep counterpart, Brooke Johnson. Many reasons impacted this change in the schedule, including student accountability, COVID-19 and the rising use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on school assignments. 

Johnson explained that they had come to the consecutive conclusion after noting a track record of the Class of 2023 showing a decline in student accountability in regard to late work. This decline, she described, was connected to the lack of accountability students faced during COVID-19, while online schooling took place. 

We’re supposed to be preparing you for the next steps.

— Brooke Johnson

Johnson expressed that, “Seniors really missed out on two key years of a normal Foothill education. We had a year of Edgenuity and a year of Zoom school, … we wanted everybody to be successful and we recognize that accepting late work was gonna [be] a part of that, but the Dragon Talks is not really something that you can do late.” 

The effect COVID-19 had on students is still apparent today, with the two year gap leaving a long lasting effect on student productivity and accountability. Johnson illustrated what is needed to happen going forward, proposing, “We need to kind of get out of this COVID[-19] hangover and we have to stop using that as a sort of excuse and get back to accountability for timelines.”

While student accountability was one major aspect of the decision, the increase in the use of artificial intelligence in schools was another impactful part of the decision. When students give their Dragon Talks, the information presented to their audience is meant to be personal and original as the topics are picked by the students themselves. 

Johnson described the importance of this aspect in Dragon Talks saying “We had a number of situations this year where students [used] AI to do their work, and the Dragon Talks should be something that is your own thoughts, your own writing, your own ideas.” 

Dragon Talks are used as a way to prepare students for the next chapter of their life, they help students practice public speaking. With that, accountability and deadlines are important aspects of preparing students for their future and the workforce. 

As for the future of dragon talks, they should be resumed as normally in the upcoming school years. Johnson communicated some revisions that will come next year with dragon talks, “We will be going back to Dragon Talk day, we’re going to approach things a little differently next year both with the AI, academic integrity, we’re going to start the Dragon Talk a lot earlier.”  


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