The Underground Electives


Photo by: Karwaan Kotwal

The niche, the specific, the unknown side of courses offered at Potomac Falls.

Your years in high school are drastically different from any other education you have received. More workload, more personalized classes, and more freedom. The freedom can be overwhelming, but this article has all you need to know about the electives that are specific and niche. 

One class that you may not have heard of, despite it being recently offered as a course here, is Film Studies. Film Studies consists mostly of watching different types of movies, reviewing, and understanding them. As Jacob Chang describes it, “We talk about movies a lot, on the history of cinematography and how movies came to be… If you like movies and are interested in the philosophy on how movies are made and what the directors are thinking when they want people to watch their movies, then you should take this class.” This class is taught by Corinne Fox, who is also one of the theater teachers.

Although commonly confused with art, there is a class that is solely for those who like 2D traditional art, Drawing and Painting. To be in this class, you have to have already taken a year of art and is similar to Art II, but it solely defines your skill with your hands. There aren’t many students in this class, but those enrolled  are very passionate.

“Usually people are always drawing even when she’s talking,” said sophomore Claire McMahan, “We usually start with a warm up drawing; last class, we went outside and drew the school and tested out different materials.”

The workload, according to McMahan, is manageable with most of the assignments done in class. “But I take a lot of time on my paintings and drawing, so I would have to do it outside of school when the due date comes up,” she said.

Students do different exercises that focus on getting better at drawing and practice skills in general — they don’t just work on projects. “Drawing and painting is different because usually the due dates aren’t that strict and there’s room for conversation. This is a good class if you really want to get better at specific skills in art, it’s not just project after project, which I’ve really appreciated,” added McMahan.

Another elective in the Fine Arts category is Sculpture & Ceramics. This class focuses around, you guessed it, making sculptures and ceramic pieces. It’s the only 3D class in the visual arts program. “For the class, we focus on clay. It’s clay all semester… it’s our only class where students can really do that,” said teacher Deborah Cooper. “It’s fun because it’s creative. Once the kids are in the class, they really enjoy it. I just think enough kids don’t really know too much about it.”

Next is Project Management. As general as it sounds, the goal of this course is to help students better understand how to manage goals and develop leadership skills  as well as take initiative on ideas.

“This is an elective for people who are interested in business and want to study it in the future. I think it is a great way to get better with public speaking and being more confident when you speak,” said junior Daniela Morales.

This class is an elective that gives you a CTE credit. “I love the way that Mr. Lucas formats his lectures so that they are easy to understand, and so that we all get to socialize and do projects together as a group,” said Morales.

Typically, students either have a lecture for the third of the class followed by an activity or project with a partner. “[This] helps you work with your social skills. It is an easygoing and relaxing class that teaches you about business and you can get a feel for how project management is,” said Morales.