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The Roar

The student news site of Potomac Falls High School

The Roar

The student news site of Potomac Falls High School

The Roar

The Roar’s Elective Fair: Which Electives Should You Take Next Year?

Gourmet Foods students baking a cake in class.

Here’s a list of classes students should consider taking before graduating. This list ranges from calming art electives to more challenging GPA boosters and everything in between. 

Fourth Year of a Language – To receive an advanced diploma at Potomac Falls, one requirement is three years of a language. Learning a new language is a difficult and challenging process but pushing through leads to many new opportunities. Going above and beyond the standard three years proves a student’s ability to stick with challenging courses. Language classes above the third year are a demanding yet rewarding experience. Colleges are looking for hard working students who will push themselves to the max and few classes are a better example of this than foreign language classes. The fourth and fifth years of a language are considered honors classes and the sixth year of a language is AP. Honors and AP classes will bring a GPA up and add a boost. Continuing with a language course is an impressive track many colleges will reward. 

African American History – The 2023-2024 school year marks the third year African American history has been offered at Potomac Falls. This course is taught by history teacher Kristin Bird and covers African American history from slavery to modern day. This course gives students the opportunity to learn about American history through a different lens and perspective. This class is perfect for students who love history and want to learn more about often overlooked people and accomplishments. Despite tackling difficult topics and themes, the class highlights how even in hard times, the black community created art, thrived, and managed to persist. This class is a project based honors class which means no tests. African American History doesn’t hide from difficult aspects of history and the course pushes students to answer complex questions about race and identity. 

Latin American History – Similarly to African American History, Latin American History focuses on history from an often overlooked perspective. This course is taught by social sciences teacher Kayla May. This class teaches students about U.S and world history from a Latin American perspective. The class is mostly project based with a handful of tests throughout the year. May is excited to teach this class as she has roots from Peru, “My father’s side is from Peru and growing up I always felt like Latin America was under-represented in history classes so I’m very excited to be part of a class that fills that gap,” said May. Latin American history serves to educate students on Latin America and explore under-represented topics, “I want students to be able to have fun with it and explore the things they are interested in. If a student has an interest in history, or an interest in Latin America in general, this class is fun and worth the effort,” said May. 

Art 1 – Art 1 is an elective course any student can take. This class serves as a stepping stone for more art classes or it can be a fun elective for one year. If a student is interested in art electives such as drawing and painting, photography, and ceramics, Art 1 is a must do. This class can help stressed students relax. If a student is taking several AP/DE/Honors classes, art can function as a relaxing way to take a breather. In Art 1, several skills and mediums are taught to students. Some fun techniques and skills used in Art 1 include: acrylic paint, watercolors, clay, stamp making, sticker making, and more. Taking an art class gives students the opportunity to tap into their creativity and artistic skills. 

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Semester International Relations – Taught by social sciences Kira Hoilman, who also teaches AP US and Comparative Government and AP Psychology, the semester class focuses on the topic of international relations as a whole. From conducting class scenarios regarding a certain world issue to discussing different global events every two weeks, this class is great to take if one is interested in pursuing a career in the political field.

Semester Global Social Issues – This class is taught both by Hoilman and social sciences teacher Jessica Ewald. While the course talks about global issues, it is instructed from a more anthropological mindset. Students will learn about situations outside of the United States, while drawing connections to human social behavior as a whole. Concepts include: religion, deviance and crime, culture, and social movements.

Women’s Studies – Taught by English teacher Maggie Shircliff next year, the class examines topics relating to the social constructs of gender and how that affects other identities. The course analyzes gender at local, national, and global levels in the past and present-day. Students will also explore women and their roles in society through research, reading, writing, and public speaking. 

Early Childhood Education- This class is taught by family and consumer science teacher Lindsay Walls. There is an intro, 1, and 2. In order to complete the course fully, students have to take all three in a row. . Intro are grade 9-11, early childhood 1 are grades 10-12, and Early Childhood 2 are grades 11-12. Intro is the  introduction to the course to get the jist of the subject.  Early childhood 1 is hands on with the preschoolers and you are able to make lesson plans. For 1 and 2 you get 2 credits for both. Even if you are not wanting to become a teacher, it is still a fun course and you earn credits for doing it. 

Newspaper – If you like to write, and English is one of your best classes, then Newspaper is the class for you. This class is taught by Newspaper and Yearbook advisor Emily Everett. If you are unsure about going straight into newspaper, intro into journalism is a good option but is not needed as a prerequisite to newspaper. Students can get credits for all three years of newspaper not counting intro into journalism, and the third year it’s considered an honors class.  In this class you will learn how to write a news article, research current events, interview students and staff, and craft three issues of a magazine every year.  

AP Psychology – This class is taught by Hoilman and is a full year class. In this class, students learn about a wide range of topics such as, the scientific foundations of psychology, biological bases of behavior, sensation and perception, learning, cognitive psychology, developmental psychology, motivation emotion and personality, clinical psychology, and social psychology. Keep in mind that this is an AP class so there is more work than most other electives on this list. 

Intro to Weight Training – For those who are going into their junior or senior year you’ll now be allowed to take Intro to Weight Training. This class might be for those who want to learn proper form when working out and learning how to better manage goals for your muscular strength. This class can help you feel better about yourself and later on even let you live a fruitful life.

Gourmet Foods – For those who loved the Hulu hit show “The Bear” and might want to get into cooking, then this class is for you. Taught by family and consumer sciences teacher Shirell  Ashwell, in this class students learn how the concepts of biology, chemistry, and physics are important to study food. This class will definitely help you when you’re in college and have to start cooking for yourself. Weight Training is a good pairing for this class to better yourself. 

Materials and Processes – If you like hands-on work and are interested in the engineering field, then this is the class for you. In this class you’ll get to work with materials like plastics, metals, woods, ceramics, and composites. You’ll explore the properties of these materials and you’ll get used to the safety regulations. This class will help students who are wanting to go to the Academies of Loudoun and get into MATA.

Teacher Cadet Program – For rising seniors who have a high GPA and like helping others will love this program. Students need a high GPA, at least three teacher recommendations, a student essay, and a TB test to complete the application process for teacher cadet. Completing the program will reward you with three elective credits from Shenandoah University which can be transferred to whatever college you got accepted into. Students who are interested in teaching will get field experience in the grade that they’re most interested in.