With firefighting, journalism, design, courses run the gamut at - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina |

With firefighting, journalism, design, courses run the gamut at Westwood High

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BLYTHEWOOD, SC (WIS) -

Four days a week they dish out news, weather, and sports to the student of Westwood High School.

The Media Convergence Program at the high school gives students hands-on experience and the avenue to make a difference in a field where time is always of the essence.

"About 20 of us wake up an hour early before everybody else to make sure everything runs as smoothly as possible," said senior Aubria Myers.

Although high school is four years, Westwood students aren't wasting any time getting a leg up on future careers.  

With the clock ticking down until graduation, the students in Amanda Kruysman's classroom have no time to waste -- especially during their brainstorming exercises in Studio D, a design course challenging students to tackle real-life issues using their core classes like english and math to come up with design that helps solve problems.

"It's a problem here at home, not a problem in a third world country, not half a country away, it's here in Blythewood and we challenge students to take the things they learn to make a difference in their community," said Kruysman.

That's a reason why freshman Alaina Smith takes the course.

"I'm in this class because I would like to be involved in the community more and not just learning things from the past," said Smith.

As the brainstorming exercises wrap up in Studio D, an alarm sounds upstairs and it's time for students to dress for fire drills.

Yes, Westwood High even has a firefighting course.

"Statewide we're hurting for career firefighters and volunteer firefighters, so this gives a way for the guys that come out and are not going to go to college, they can go right into the career field," said fire and EMS instructor Steve Wilson.

Students have to be 16 to take the firefighting program at Westwood, and they learn everything they need to know to take their certification tests before they graduate. The program is unique and there is only six of its kind throughout the state.

"It's a huge opportunity not many kids get this opportunity in high school," said Wilson.

Although these particular students may be learning to save lives, take on issues in their community, and inform their peers, they aren't too busy to notice that Westwood is a Cool School.

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