By Sophia Caputo (’24) and Isaiah Steinberg (’23)
Jamesville-DeWitt High School has a plethora of unique electives. The school offers electives such as music theory, principles of engineering, along with pop culture texts and psychology, but there’s always room for improvement. The RamPage interviewed students and staff to see what electives they would like to see at the school.
There were many agreements in elective recommendations among the people interviewed, but also some unique suggestions. Among the most popular were cooking and finance. Students believe these classes would teach them highly beneficial skills to learn as they progress throughout life.
The most highly suggested elective among J-DHS students was cooking. Students report having a class to learn this beneficial life skill would not only be fun, but highly informative. Additionally, foreign exchange student Anna Patron recommended a class on international food, and PE teacher Jeff Ike suggested a high school home and careers class. Sophomore Lila Schroth says, “I think it’s important for people to know how to cook. I think it’s fun. I enjoyed the cooking and baking part of [home and careers in middle school].”
“I feel like we need more things that help you in the real world. Us seniors are in economics and government. They’re actually going to help us. We did have home economics in 7th or 8th grade, but that was a long time ago. We need more classes that are actually going to help us in the real world, like how to cook. Even if it’s just how to cook five meals a week in college,” says senior Christian Fuller.
Finance is a required skill for adult life, and students believe it is imperative for them to learn how to file their taxes and manage their money. Counselor Denise Becher says, “I think we’re a very artsy school so I think we have plenty of art offerings and social studies electives. Some kids often ask when they’re freshmen for some business courses. We don’t really have anything business-wise, I think we could branch out a little bit in that area.”
Communication-based classes like poetry, songwriting, and theater arts were another popular choice. Although J-D does offer a creative writing class that touches on poetry and play writing, some students want to see more single-topic focused electives. English teacher Terese Eaton suggested an expansion of twelfth-grade English electives such as corporate communications to all students.
Alyssa Forgione explains her disappointment about theater arts, stating “I remember last year I wanted to take theater arts, but it got canceled because not enough people wanted to take it. Maybe if they made that a little more interesting, more people would take it. I really like doing [theater]. Not just wanting to learn how to act, but also theater production and design, like stage crew.” Electives often get canceled for a given semester if not enough students sign up, which raises the question of why so few students chose the elective.
Music teacher Daniel Blumenthal says, “A lot of schools now are moving towards being able to offer some less traditional ensembles instead of just band, chorus, and orchestra. They’ve got rock bands or guitar classes and things like that. Branching out to offer some more specific music electives would be really cool.” Blumenthal also states that he would love to be able to teach those classes, but unfortunately doesn’t have room in his schedule. He even states that throughout the years students have shown interest in those smaller ensembles and created their own. This year he’s bringing back a show for these students to show off their talent.
More multimedia-based classes were also amongst the suggestions. Ms. Romeiser suggested a class that deep-dives into American television, including how it’s influenced American Culture. Another student stated that a class teaching the basics of animation would be a fun and practical skill to learn.
Another suggestion was athletic electives. Media production and woodworking teacher Lee Krukowski suggests a field hockey elective. Student Meghan Christian says, “I feel like it would be good to have a sports elective where you get to try all the current gym electives, or you get to bike on the track. I’d personally enjoy that. I feel like it would make gym class a little more appealing.”
With J-DHS enrollment on a downward path, it remains to be seen whether some electives will be removed, or more will be added to satisfy the current student population.