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By Jesse Utz 

The disappearing classes

Jess Shut Up


With the recent class of graduates surviving the sticky heat in the gym and receiving their neatly bound diplomas, I decided to look back at some of the subject courses throughout the years that have mysteriously disappeared from the schedules of students.

First, I must say that I am fully aware that there is a budget involved here. I realize that some classes do not make the cut and we must focus on the state-required mandates of education requirements, first and foremost. I also realize that you must have a teacher to teach said subject. OK, with that being said, I think I covered the other side of the argument. There are still classes that are missing that could enlighten and enrich the student as a whole.

Drama. This was one of the most popular classes when I was in school. I truly believe that I would not be where I am today without a love of theater and acting. I even tell people today, “I am not a good announcer or public speaker, I just act like I am.” True, to a point. But let me get to the meat and potatoes of this class. It was not all about the star actor or actress; it was about working together as a team. Yes, we can get that in the sporting arena, but not all kids are coming out for a team sport. Dedication, responsibility and paying attention are key parts to teaching young thespians what it takes to put on a performance of any kind, and the guy running the curtain is just as important as the lady in the spotlight. Each has a role to play in the success of the production. Plus, this class is an opportunity to cut loose a little, have some fun, be a little wacky. Stressful yes, but a good stress.

Journalism. Yes, I took a journalism class in HS. We published a school paper, which included everything involved in producing it. We sold ads, edited, interviewed, put it together and wrote editorials. The Star had it printed for us and even had their reporters come give us tips. The Crimson Galleon became a must-read for students, staff and citizens. Mrs. Anderson did a first-rate job in teaching us that everyone has an opinion and needs to be heard, even if we don’t agree with their opinion. Kind of like you reading my columns here. You don’t always agree, but you still read it and think a bit. Teamwork, again, was a key element: everyone must meet the deadline. If you did not, there would be no paper.

Psychology. One of my all-time favorite classes. Mr. Curtis taught us in a college-level atmosphere. He lectured, and we took notes. We asked questions, and he answered. Tests were hard, but if you took notes you did well. It gave us an insight not only into the future, but into how we each used our brains. We got to see things in a different way for the first time, and it opened doors to all of us. Some intense discussions took place in that class, but we learned to really hear what the other person was saying and why they were saying it. I think we all became better people because of it.

There are other classes that have gone by the wayside too, but I won’t mention them all. The reason I bring this up is that, in my opinion, we are not giving kids the options that there once were. We are limiting their exposure to important things. Things that give them not only insight to things they might enjoy, but experiences that they just might enjoy and carry with them for a lifetime. School plays, a school paper and a peek into the brain are all things students will carry for a lifetime, and those classes have all but been abandoned in a lot of schools.

The solution is not a simple one, but I am willing to try and be part of it.

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