by Grace Serper
Choosing an elective is an important decision in every student’s academic career. Here at OHS, we have a multitude of electives to choose from. The English elective offerings are especially interesting for next year. As students prepare to meet with their guidance counselors and create their schedules for next year, here is an overview of the five electives being offered by the OHS English Department.
Creative writing is a useful skill to have in any student’s life. In this class, students will have the freedom to write whatever they please. The course will meet every other day for the whole year. Mrs Hennessy, the teacher of next year’s Creative Writing class explains, “It is a good place, not just for those who love to write and have journals full of poetry, but also for those students who may never have tried to write YET. Students can expect a welcoming environment no matter what their prior experience. Students will learn how to write short stories, poetry, and memoirs. Creative writing is a class that will give students a chance to edit and revise their own work and express themselves through their writing. Mrs. Hennessy also points out that taking two English classes stands out on college applications: “Taking Creative Writing means that when colleges see your transcript, they will see two English classes. Obviously taking the course would give students who are interested in writing careers a boost on their college applications, but it also makes students who are more interested in science and math appear well-rounded and more appealing.” Creative Writing has little to no homework as well, so students with a busy after school schedule might want to consider taking this class.
Studying film is a unique way to study literature. In this class, students will watch and research films. Taking this course will allow the people in it to have a better understanding and appreciation for film. The class will expose students to new movies and genres that they might not have seen before. Films might allow students to have a new outlook or perspective on life or the world around them. Mr. Minor, one of the teachers who teaches film study explains, “My course revolves around film genres by exposing them to ones that they would not necessarily watch. We cover 12 different genres including, sports, coming of age, science fiction, mystery, suspense, horror, dark comedy, epic, wester, gangster romance and social realism”. Taking this course will benefit students throughout their lives according to Mr. Minor. Minor explains, “This course will benefit a student throughout their lives by giving them a better understanding of how a film is made, what a director is trying to convey to the audience, and how to achieve the director’s vision of that film.” In film study there is no homework whatsoever. All of the work is done in class. The only thing a student is expected to do is show up for the class. There will be assignments about the films that the students watch throughout the year. Film study is a good choice for a student who is looking for an easy yet interesting elective to take in the fall.
Journalism is an amazing course to take next fall, albeit I might be a bit biased. In Journalism, you work for the Sider Press, Oceanside High Schools very own news team. The class has a ton of creative liberty and freedom, allowing the students to write what they want to write about. Mr Howley, one of the co-advisors of the Sider Press along with Mr. Perri, says, “A student can expect to have the opportunity to create some real work, some real writing, writing for an audience that’s not just a teacher, writing for an audience that includes other people in the school community.” For students looking to pursue a career in writing, they should consider taking this course. Journalism is what you make of it. In this course you will need to work hard to publish a worthy article that others will want to read but it pays off when they do. Howley explains, “A lot it is what you make of it, depends on what you want to go for and if you want to improve yourself and your abilities there’s ample opportunities to keep doing that. What we encourage students to do is to find something that interests them. There’s a lot of freedom in the class, it’s one of those classes that really depends on you as a student. Some people will take that freedom and do something with it.” Also, college admissions officers can read what you publish which may set you apart from other students applying to the same school. With all these benefits and little to no drawbacks, Journalism is an amazing course to take next year.
Public speaking is an important skill to master. The ability to coherently inform listeners of your ideas is extremely important. In public speaking, a student will learn how to grow and develop speaking skills.. The class will guide you through how to give a speech that is engaging as well as comprehensible. Mrs. Caiet, who teaches the class, explains, “In public speaking, students can expect to feel like they’re part of a meaningful and close-knit learning community through which they can gain new insight about their speaking skills. Students will learn not only how to prepare for, deliver, and reflect on speeches, but also how their nonverbal communication and tone have an impact on how their messages are received. Most importantly, students will be able to see their growth over time and feel like their effort is worthwhile.” The class will also help with communication skills which in the long run will be extremely beneficial to any person regardless of their future plans. Mrs. Caiet also conveys that students who took her class loved the constructive feedback from their classmates. All work done in this class is meant to be completed in class. A student can expect to be completing short assignments – these assignments mainly are videos and films meant to prepare students for speeches and help them reflect on their speeches as well. Mrs Caiet adds, “We also spend time focusing on one-on-one communication skills that help students feel confident in their everyday relationships. All of these goals are developed through authentic and relatable activities.” Public speaking is a fantastic option to take next year if you want to better develop your communication skills.
Graphic novels were everyone’s go-to when choosing an independent reading book. Graphic novels are both visual and text based, so they have the best of both worlds. At OHS, there is a now an elective course dedicated to studying and reading Graphic Novels. Mr. Perri, the teacher of the Graphic Novel elective, says it is really a comic book class. “Graphic Novels just means a longer form,” he explains. With the rise in popularity of Marvel and other superhero shows and films, fans of the genre might look to this class to have another place to explore their interest. Graphic Novels aren’t just all about superheroes, though, and Mr. Perri explores many different graphic novel genres in his class. The class is very visual – students who have an interest in art and are visual learners will thrive in this class. Mr. Perri points out that “The class is different and it’s unique and it gives students an opportunity to experience a genre that they might not have read a lot of in school…It’s a good opportunity to try something new”. Trying something new and developing new skills is what electives are all about. Mr. Perri adds, “I try to convince students, if you like comics, take the class. If you know nothing about comics, it is also a good opportunity to take the class and learn something about it…I like to think of the class as an opportunity for everyone to be exposed to comics and the graphic novel genre”. Similar to most of the English elective classes, most of the work is done in class. The reading, for the most part, is done in class as well. The expectations for this class is mainly just to try your best and read some great comics. Also, Graphic Novels will help develop your visual skills. Mr. Perri explains, “So much of what we process is visual. I emphasize the idea of becoming more literate in a visual sense – not just for school or academics but for everyday life. We are visual creatures. 99% of what we process everyday is visual…The class is just a nice reminder of those visual learning skills.” Students looking for a more visual and laid back class should consider taking Graphic Novels.
All of the English electives are amazing options. Starting soon, all underclassmen should be meeting with their guidance counselors to discuss what electives they may take next year. Consider taking an English elective! They look great on college applications, and all of these courses help develop important life skills.