The Voice

Mandatory Classes

Meghan Merwin, asst. features editor

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As you were sitting down to bubble in your final scheduling form, what classes did you want? Shakespeare? World Religions? A free period? Were you forced to bypass these options because you need to fill yet another graduation requirement? Pres has a host of interesting class options available to its students, but there are so many required classes now that many will not get to enjoy them.

Pres has a diverse student body, and some girls are not Catholic or even religious at all. These girls recognize that part of going to a Catholic school is sitting through a religion class or two that they don’t agree with. Other schools in the diocese of San Jose like Archbishop Mitty and Notre Dame require their students to take these classes as well. There are some amusing religion classes out there, and it is not unreasonable for some religion to be mandatory. But because of our diverse student body, we should offer more classes like World Religions that focus on different aspects of spirituality and faith. Even though religion classes can be interesting given the right circumstances, there’s no denying the sometimes they can seem pointless. Religion classes do not count for college, which can hurt our GPAs. In the extremely competitive world we live in today, many girls find it frustrating to take classes that will not help us get into our first-choice school. . It is not reasonable for us to take excess classes when we have so much other work to do. For upperclassmen, only Ethics and Social Justice should be mandatory, leaving us two semesters to choose what we want to do.

Another glitch in our scheduling system is the mandatory extra semester of art or technology. Many girls who want free periods are unable to have them because they need that extra semester. Plus, while there are technology classes that cater to all types of interests such as Java and 3D Modeling, our current art electives focus primarily on visual and performing arts. Visual arts are an important part of making the world we live in a beautiful place, but some students are not as artistically inclined as others. And—let’s face it—many people are rhythmically and musically challenged. Electives for those students such as—dare I suggest it?—a home economics class that would teach us basic life skills could be a good idea. Even a simple cooking class for those who don’t have time for cooking club but would still like to learn could be offered. Another option would be to have a theatre technology class which would cover the basics of working behind-the-scenes in theatre productions. These classes would still allow us to be creative, and because only a year of art is mandatory for college would let students not interested in technology or traditional art to enjoy a relaxing extra semester.

On top of these already required classes, the English and Social Studies departments are adding yet more mandatory classes. American will be compulsory starting for girls in the class of 2013, and Economics will be mandatory starting for the class of 2014. Reading and learning about different time periods in our country is an important aspect of understanding how we live today. And without a basic understanding of our country’s economic system, we would be lost in the real world. These two classes are important, but in exchange a different requirement should be dropped. Any requirement would be acceptable: that darn extra semester of art, one of the extra two religion semesters, or even the extra semester of P.E. Also, only six semesters of Social Studies are required for colleges, but we are required to take seven. Extra classes make busy work and are hard to work in to our schedules. If just one of these requirements were dropped, it would leave sophomores and juniors with less stress when choosing their classes.

When our parents went to school, nobody chose their classes, and many public schools still do not give students the opportunities Pres gives to us. But Pres encourages us to become confident, strong-minded, and independent women. Part of being independent—and, in extension, responsible—is the right to choose. Fewer mandatory classes would give us more freedom and allow girls to be in classes they would find interesting and possibly even fun. Who knows—we might even start paying attention in class.

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The School Newspaper of Presentation High School.
Mandatory Classes