Exciting Changes made in MayATL 2023


The Westminster Middle School is buzzing with news about MayATL, a program at the end of the year where students can participate in a unique experience. In December the MayATL program held a fair that allowed students to walk around the school and look at the different classes and talk to the teachers about their offerings. Students wonder about the changes that were made and the new opportunities that are in store for this year.

A few new additional classes have been added this year: Paranormal ATL, Clean Up Your Life, Altered Books, and Hogwarts at Westminster.

Paranormal ATL is all about the spooky unknown. Students in this class—taught by Bill Caldwell, Joey Jarrell, and Adam Fry—will go to famous haunted locations and delve into the paranormal. When this class was introduced to the student body, both boys and girls seemed very intrigued.

The class Clean Up Your Life shows students how to live a healthy life, focusing on “internal and external health.” Clean up Your Life will go on trips to Target for skin care products and other various places. Clean up Your Life was very popular during the fair, but only for a specific gender—girls. Clean Up Your Life will be taught by Sarah Kossis and Emily Fuqua.

Altered Books, taught by Michael Jacobs and Florence Sumner, explores the idea of books being used to make art, such as new books, sculptures, collages, and wall art. Altered Books wasn’t as popular as some classes, but many agreed it looked cool.

Hogwarts at Westminster originated from the idea of a class from last year, Marvelous Movies, which is not happening again this time around. The staff and students had wanted another fanfare-based class and thought of Harry Potter. The Harry Potter series is a classic, and in the course Hogwarts at Westminster, they will explore various topics within both the movies and books. Jill Bochniak and Charlotte Smith will teach this class. When the course was introduced, most of the people looking into it were fans of Harry Potter and had either watched or read the series, for the class may involve a few spoilers.

In addition to these new offerings, MayATL organizer Katie Argall explains that a few adjustments to the schedule for MayATL have been made, based on comments by teachers and students on how to improve the experience. “Last year the number one complaint was having to go to all of your regular classes and do MayATL [in the same day],” she says. Prior to these changes, students last year went to each class twice over the spread of eight days in addition to participating in MayATL, but this year, after students get back from break, one full day will be dedicated to exam review and finishing up the year. By having all seven classes condensed into one day, students will be able to review their exam material and also do MayATL for an optimal amount of time. After this review, MayATL will last only five days, but these days will be solely dedicated to the MayATL experience.

Next, in 2023 students aren’t allowed to repeat the same class. Students were impacted differently depending on their experience from last year. 7th-grader Parker Garrison says, “I don’t really like the rule, but I also don’t care.” Parker’s MayATL class last year was all about escape rooms.

Students wonder whether 8th-graders are prioritized over 7th and 6th-graders when choosing May ATL classes. Argall says that she doesn’t know if it has ever been actually stated, but she does think that it makes sense that an 8th grader would have higher priority over 6th and 7th graders, because younger students would have more chances at getting that class the next year or the year after that. Coach Argall continues, “it is probably course dependent, but if it is a super popular class and someone has been here for two years and hasn’t been [able] to get in, that’s valid, and yeah we might really try to get that 8th-grade kid in there.”