Mutating into Success


Jennifer H, Journalism I Student


It’s hard to believe that we have been living in this “COVID world” for about a year now, yet some of us still don’t even know much about the virus itself. In order to make change, you have to understand the problem and then adjust. 9th grade honors biology teacher Sydney Hiatt is taking the first big step in helping her students be a little more aware of what is really going on in our country right now. 

Through the uncertainty many teachers have been some of the strongest out there, teaching through a pandemic is definitely not easy. Many sacrifices have been made by these undercover heroes this year just so they can make a difference in their students lives.

“I guess what gave me the strength to teach in a time like this is my family,” Hiatt said. “I love what I do and it’s been refreshing working with kids… I missed it.”

The first year teacher at PLHS has been creating lesson plans about cell biology that directly connect to the virus and provide a little insight to the students, while keeping them engaged.

“I like to let them work together with their friends and sit by people they work well with.” Hiatt said. “They do very good in labs when they are with someone that they are comfortable with.”

She often talks and teaches about the importance of knowing what is going on in the science world today, especially since the freshman biology classes are focused on cells,cell mutations, and division.

“I like to teach about the virus because I think there is a lot of fear and misinformation about it.” Hiatt said. “I feel that the majority of students don’t take it seriously and aren’t concerned about it.”

On the other side of it, one freshman, Morgan Glaser, talked about how the students process this information she teaches as well as all the other 9th grade biology curriculum. 

“I think the most surprising thing that I learned was that mutations can go undetected in your DNA all the time, and that not all of them are bad.” Glaser said. “We also learned a little about how the virus has multiple strings due to itself mutating.”

For many freshmen this has led them to a better understanding of genes, DNA, and mutation, so they can apply what they know to the real world.

“I think this will impact students because they would start taking it seriously once they learn the reality behind it.” Glaser said. “It’s good to keep up to date and learn what the real truth is compared to what the media says.”

Glaser reflected on how this helped her and many of her other peers in recognizing and analyzing the problem, so they can be advocates in their own community.

“This has given me a new perspective, a new scientific one.”

Sydney Hiatt is just one of the many teachers here at PLHS doing their best to not only prepare and educate students for their journeys, but also believe and let them develop into problem solvers for their families, peers, and communities.