Freshmen and sophomores required to take eight classes next year

By Emily Diamond, Editor-in-Chief

Every student knows that school can get a bit overwhelming at times. Balancing school work, extracurriculars, jobs, and hobbies can sometimes seem like a true juggling act. Next year, with freshmen and sophomores required to take eight classes, some people think this will add to students’ stress, while others believe it will make their high school experience more rewarding.

With the addition of numerous new electives for next year, Principal Tammy O’Neill hopes the mandate will help students explore new areas of interest and prepare for college.

“We want students in robust classes for four years. We don’t want to layer on additional academic courses over and over, and yet we’d like to give kids opportunities to learn….We just want to expose kids to these new areas so they can see what’s available for them,” she said.

Jennifer Wiandt, I.B. Coordinator, believes the mandate is a positive change as it motivates students to enroll in more elective courses.

“Since we’re asking underclassmen to take advantage of all their elective space, it really gives them the opportunity to find pathways and niches,” Wiandt said. “When I observe juniors and seniors, these elective courses really give them the best high school experience.”

“Electives makes school more fun for me,” agreed freshman Silvia Palleroni.

“I like taking eight classes but I don’t think you should be forced to. It’s nice that you can have eight classes, but the workload isn’t for everyone,” said Isabelle Rinehart, freshman.

Eric Running, math teacher, thinks that mandating students to completely fill their schedule may put an unnecessary burden on students. “When you start loading up eight classes if they are all academic classes, that’s a large workload. There are things students need to do outside of school to continue to be kids, which are just as important as school itself.” He added, “I’m a big advocate of quality over quantity. I don’t think it’s beneficial for students to just fill a space because they need to.”

“I think it’s problematic,” a parent said. “Not all kids are geared for the sitting in school learning. More hands on internship learning opportunities would be great for those kids. Also, many kids participate in other activities which take up time, and having some break in the day is helpful.”

However, O’Neill thinks that the requirement may actually reduce students’ stress. “I really think that part of our responsibility is to help kids manage stress because we know college is really stressful,” she said. “I want to help kids do that and I think going home and worrying about what you need to do is not as beneficial as being in a woodshop, mindfulness class or art class. The electives may actually take your mind off of it and act as stress-relieving activities.”