By Elyana Schosek
Going from 8th grade and being the top of the middle school to 9th grade and being at the bottom of the food chain at the high school is a big change. Not only do the social dynamics change, but students are also given more options to choose where they want their course of learning to focus.
The high school elective fair was the first of three opportunities that the incoming freshmen will have to explore the high school and look at their options. This time they were guided by volunteers, mostly upperclassmen, and taken around to each elective department.
“High school is a big step up from middle school and it may be a hard transition for some so giving them the small and brief glimpse of what it is like may have made it easier for them,” Ty Dash said.
Olivia Giammarco said, “It allows them to check out the high school and the opportunities available to them without the influence of their parents.”
Melanie Barry mentioned that it simply allows the new class to “get more comfortable with the high school as well as the opportunities available to them.”
There were a total of six sessions: technology, music and foreign languages, agriculture, business, art and guidance. Each session does something different with the kids.
For instance, the technology section gave them a chance to tour the numerous tech rooms and talk to a student who has been involved in tech since he was a freshman.
Charley DiGangi noted that it “gives them a chance to think about what they might want to do for a career as electives are more focused on specific jobs rather than overall topics.”
Many of the 8th graders are currently taking a foreign language, either French or Spanish, and/or are participating in band, chorus or orchestra or a mix of all of the above. Therefore, the music and foreign language section was more focused on convincing the students to continue taking what they’re taking at the moment along with getting involved in high school.
Some sessions were run more by students currently involved in the department like agriculture. The 8th graders got to see the greenhouse and some of the animals including baby bunnies. They also spent some time in the classroom talking about what agriculture classes are like.
The business section was much more focused on getting the gist of the classes offered across to the students with a simple presentation from one of the business teachers which included candy for prizes.
The art teachers gave the students a brief overview of a few of the classes it offers and allowed them to see portfolios of current students like Jaime Dickinson. She said the main purpose of the whole thing was to “introduce the incoming freshmen to all the new opportunities they have in high school” and to “get them thinking about what classes they would have the most interest in.”
As freshmen, their options for electives are somewhat limited. Although they are able to choose which department they would like to focus on, they are limited mainly to the introductory classes of each. These intro classes often touch on many basic skills that enable students to see what they like and choose further elective classes from there.
“I’d say the whole point of it is to educate the upcoming freshmen on what kinds of courses our school offers beyond the core subjects,” Charley added.
Jaime also mentioned that it “slowly eases them into the complexity of high school so it doesn’t all slam them at once and get too overwhelming.” She continued in saying that it’s important “to be informed and know about all the opportunities we have and all that they can be a part of.”
Olivia mentioned that it allows the 8th graders to “get a glimpse at the next four years of their life.” She said that “hopefully it will help them to make a decision about what path to follow and the programs available to help them achieve their goals.”
SGI High School’s selection and variation of elective classes make it easy for students to fill their schedule beyond what’s required.