The student-run newspaper of Cleveland High School


The student-run newspaper of Cleveland High School


The student-run newspaper of Cleveland High School


Geography: A Course Divided

Clarion photo Darby Whorton
Map of the coast around Atlantic City

Title: Geography: A Course Divided
Since its inception, the International Baccalaureate program has offered a range of subjects that challenge students and also allow them to pursue their passions. However, Cleveland has not adopted one of these classes that could be exceedingly beneficial so students may gain knowledge about the world: IB Geography. Other Social Science classes have included some lessons about geography, but not to the extent possible with an IB course.
IB Geography includes an SL and HL level. It covers both the political and physical aspects of geography, which can give students new perspectives on key global issues like climate change while still covering the scientific explanations of geographical formations.
According to the official diploma website, “The geography course embodies global and international awareness in several distinct ways. It examines key global issues, such as poverty, sustainability and climate change. It considers examples and detailed case studies at a variety of scales, from local to regional, national and international.”
Ultimately, it is up to the students to determine if this class is necessary. Junior Zach Boonstra weighed in on the issue, saying, “I think a lot of Americans and especially Cleveland students, in general, don’t really know much about geography.”
“As a whole, America is relatively geographically illiterate… a lot of people I know could not find half the countries on a map,” agreed junior Noel Mackie.
Memorization of countries and cities is not as important, however, as understanding the places that are there. “To get a class that creates better people we need to have some real world implications,” said Mackie.
With a variety of cultures within our country, state, and even city, it is important to understand where people come from and an understanding of what is happening in those general areas.
Additionally, “Considering this is an IB school, people go to global colleges,” added Boonstra. The diploma is a pathway to international recognition, so it would make sense to provide students with a course to educate themselves about where they may plan on going.
Although many students at Cleveland may feel more knowledgeable of the world than the average American student, there remains work to be done.
The IB Geography course explores all levels of geography through multiple lenses. According to the diploma website, the course “Helps students develop an appreciation of, and a respect for, alternative approaches, viewpoints and ideas.”
For the time being, the addition of a geography course seems unlikely. “At this stage the reality is that Cleveland is not in a position to add any courses given our decrease in enrollment and the district-wide reductions in teachers impacting schools,” according to IB Coordinator Jennifer Wiandt.
Even without a geography class, students have other options to learn about the world and cultures. Classes such as Anthropology contain elements of geography, although they focus more on the social aspect rather than the physical or political. However, even the required history classes struggle with including sufficient geographical content. At a school deprived of IB electives, IB Geography would be a class that could fill the gaps in student knowledge.

Is Antarctica in the Northern or Southern hemisphere?

Name a country that starts with a ‘B’ in South America

Name the US territory with the highest population

Name the capital of Ukraine

Name the largest country to border Russia

What is the capital of Egypt?

What country borders China, Vietnam, Thailand, Myanmar, and Cambodia?

What country was previously known as Swaziland?

Southern Hemisphere
Bolivia, Brazil
Puerto Rico

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributors
Finn Brewer, News Reporter
I'm Finn, and I'm currently a Junior at Cleveland. I run for Cleveland's cross country team, and I enjoy hiking and backpacking in my free time.
Xander Zink-Morse, News Reporter
My name is Xander, and I'm a Junior at CHS. While this may be my first year on the Clarion, I have a lot of previous experience with similar topics. I enjoy hiking and generally being outdoors.
Darby Whorton, Photographer
I'm Darby Whorton, an avid photographer, writer, film enthusiast and I even write screenplays every now and again if I'm bored. I even help take photos and record videos for my best friend's youtube channel. I do street photography in downtown Portland whenever I get the chance as well.

Comments (0)

The Clarion welcomes comments from our readers that adhere to normal, constructive comments. We will not tolerate or print any racist, bigoted or hate speech.
All Clarion Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.