by Maya Goldberger, Features Reporter
graphic by Emily Cheng
While searching through this year’s program of studies, junior Zoe Goldberg found a brand-new class that seemed like a perfect fit for her: Jewish and Jewish-American Literature. Goldberg said that the class piqued her interest because it educates students on Jewish history and promotes representation.
“I’m excited that there’s a course that’s highlighting specifically Jewish and Jewish-American history because as a Jew myself, I feel like that’s often a culture that’s underrepresented in the learning here,” she said. “I’m excited to see what that class has to offer.”
In addition to Jewish and Jewish-American Literature, several new classes, including Modern Physics, AP Art History and Sports History, will see their debut in the 2022-23 school year. The elective classes will only be open to seniors, with the exception of AP Art History, which is also open to juniors.
After recognizing students’ interest, teachers like math and physics teacher Ryan Normandin drove the addition of these courses. Normandin, who will teach the Modern Physics and Linear Algebra electives, said that he noticed South’s limited number of math courses and wanted to make a change.
“I felt like there was a lack of non-AP math electives,” he said. “I wanted more elective options for kids who are enjoying math and science because history and English have so many and we don’t.”
Like Normandin, History of Sports teacher Lillian Robinson said that she created her class in response to student demand. She said that she hopes the class will provide a space for students to think about sports at a deeper level.
“My kids wanted to talk more about sports really badly,” she said. “When I proposed this course, I wanted to give students an opportunity to think about how history, sports, politics and everything intersect at the moment.”
For many students, the new electives are opening doors for interests that they could not previously pursue. Junior Mitchy Bojar said that AP Art History will be a great fit for them next year.
“It’s a way to learn about art without having to actually [make art],” they said. “Which is a lot more my skill because I’m good at reading and writing.”
Senior Sri Paladugu said that the new electives offer students an even more diverse range of opportunities.
“[The electives] give people a lot more options and allow them to take classes that they would actually enjoy rather than just signing up for things because they’re AP courses or they’re honors courses,” she said.
The new electives not only cater to students’ interests, but provide practical knowledge as well. Normandin said that Linear Algebra is used in a variety of fields like image filtering and computer science.
“It’s very useful. It has a lot of great applications, but it’s also something that doesn’t require that you’ve studied calculus or anything else before doing it, so it’s largely accessible to a pretty wide swath of students,” he said.
By allowing students to learn more about possible career and educational pursuits, the new courses can help guide seniors to make decisions for their future paths, Goldberg said.
“[Elective additions are] very important to have, especially to provide more variety and depth to the classes that seniors can take,” she said. “And I think it’s important to have that kind of variety for seniors who are trying to figure out what they want to do in college.”