Column – School options are amazingIf my mind serves me right, when I entered the realm of high school, my choices were limited for the classes I could – and had – to take.
By: Celeste Beam, Alexandria Echo Press
If my mind serves me right, when I entered the realm of high school, my choices were limited for the classes I could – and had – to take.
There were the basic English, math, science and social classes, a couple of advanced classes in those core subjects and then a couple of electives. It seemed basic and to be honest, kind of boring.
Two of the more memorable classes I had, although I can’t remember if they were electives or if they fit under the social studies category, were a Holocaust class and a class called 21st Century World.
The class on the Holocaust was at least interesting, although sad, and the other class was intriguing because we learned about things like cell phones and CDs and other technological advances that seemed kind of out there. You know, I only graduated 19 years ago…19 YEARS AGO! Yikes! I guess that was a few years ago.
Well, things sure have changed.
Students entering high school these days have a plethora of choices.
The other day, my son and I attended the 10th grade registration meeting at Jefferson High School. When we walked in, we were handed a 40-page, tabloid-size document that included everything we needed to know about registering for the high school – and more.
Nearly half of the newspaper-like document was dedicated to course descriptions. Seriously, it felt like he was entering college, not the first year of high school.
And speaking of college, I was floored by the variety of ways my son can earn college credits while still attending high school. It is amazing. Watch for a story on this in an upcoming issue of the newspaper.
Here are some examples of the differences between when I went to high school, which we established earlier was longer ago than I actually thought, and now when my son starts high school.
Let’s begin with something as simple as art. When I attended, there were maybe two or three choices – drawing, painting and maybe sculpting. My son’s choices include photography and printmaking, online digital photography, graphic design, advanced Photoshop and motion graphics. These could be fun courses to take.
How about English? Again, I probably had two or three options. My son has 13, although there are some courses that are required and some that he can’t take unless he takes the prerequisite ones. But nonetheless, he has options. He can take college credit courses in English. He can take creative writing and poetry or even philosophy.
Back in my day (I have always wanted to say that), I took a class called home economics. This encompassed everything from cooking and sewing to family planning. In this day and age (I have also always wanted to say that), students have what’s called Family and Consumer Science, which includes classes like child development, foods and nutrition, culinary arts, interior design, relationships and families and one that’s called Real World 101: Surviving On Your Own After High School. How cool is that? I could have used a class like that when I was a sophomore, junior or senior.
His gym class has options. Yes, I said options. I had one option. Phy Ed. That’s it. There wasn’t wellness and fitness, team sports, prevention and care of athletic injuries, health careers or body fitness I, II and III.
My point is, students in this day and age should consider themselves lucky – very lucky. They should take school more seriously – unlike back in my day, when I didn’t. They should seize these opportunities while they can and be thankful for all the options they have for learning.
At the very least, they’ll graduate from high school with a PhD in making choices.