Beyond core classes: Electives to consider for 2020-2021

Every January, McNick students begin to create their schedule for the next school year, and while it can be exciting to plan for the future and start to decide what classes to take, it can bring about moments of uncertainty.  Perhaps you’ve realized that you have an open spot in your schedule, and instead of taking a study hall, you want to fill it, but have no idea what class to take. Maybe you’re looking for a class that is a way to relax and take some time away from your otherwise busy schedule.  Or, maybe you are considering an elective that sounds interesting, but don’t know anyone who has taken the class in order to get an idea of what to expect.  If any of these apply to you, here are some electives that McNick offers that you might want to consider.

Creative Writing       

Do you enjoy writing?  Are you looking for a way to explore your creative side and get more practice with various writing styles and techniques?  Creative Writing might be your class.   McNick offers Creative Writing I and II, both of which are a half credit.  Creative Writing I generally has more students, and offers a slightly more structured curriculum.  There is a strong focus on poetry and some types of prose such as short stories, while Creative Writing II is generally a smaller class and focuses more on larger projects.

“The second class, just because you’re sort of working on the same project for a long period of time, requires a certain commitment to it,” said Creative Writing teacher Jeff Mulvey. However, if you take Creative Writing I and decide you really enjoy it and would want to take Creative Writing II, you can opt to take it in another year if continuing in the next semester isn’t an option for you.

Creative Writing typically uses class time to complete work, and can be an excellent creative outlet for students looking to express themselves. “It just helps you become a better writer.  It allows you to have fun with it, say what you want, and what you feel, and what you’re thinking, and it’s a relaxing class as well,” senior Andrew Walsh said.


Greek is a little different from most of the other options given here, in that it’s more similar to typical classes.  However, if you really love languages, Greek is an option that’s a little different from the typical language classes at McNick.  It’s only a semester class, which is great if you want to take another semester elective too, and a lot of the work is done in class, although there are a few projects, tests, and quizzes.  The class sizes typically range from ten to twenty-five students, but currently there are five students in the class, so it can fluctuate.

Generally, students take a language class before they take Greek, because it is only a semester and therefore cannot give them the full amount of language credits they need to graduate.  Students also don’t typically use tablets because the Greek alphabet is different. “Most students will want a Greek specific notebook, folder, or binder,” Greek teacher Paul Romolo said.

Guitar Techniques

If you own a guitar, but haven’t had the time to actually learn how to play it, Guitar Techniques provides an opportunity for you to do just that.  The semester course, taught by band director Keith Nance, introduces students to the basics of playing guitar.  While the class is designed for those with no experience, advanced players are also welcomed.  In addition to having a guitar, students will need a binder and a tuner. Tuners can be downloaded onto a phone.  Class sizes vary, but the current guitar tech class has three students.

“I think this is a great creative outlet.  There is really no deadline for anything and the class is all about learning guitar, there’s no ‘test’ or anything that you need to stress out about,” senior Kate Custer said.


If you think you might be interested in going into a career in communications, public relations, journalism, or all of the above, Journalism could definitely give you a look into what that kind of job would be like.  Students write stories weekly and are published on the school’s online newspaper The McNicholas Milestone.  Students can take journalism first semester or for an entire year, but it is highly recommended that students not take journalism starting in the second semester.  The Milestone is written by students for students, and those students writing stories are able to generate story ideas and gain a new experience in writing that is different from how they write for English class.

“I love the community we create in a small, independent class like Journalism.  It allows for creative expression in ways that make you feel like you can really reach out to people at McNick,” senior Katie Limberg said.

Liturgy Choir

Do you want to take an elective, but you’ve realized that you don’t actually have room in your schedule?  Liturgy choir could be a convenient option.  Liturgy choir gives you a quarter credit per year, and it meets after school on Thursdays until 3 p.m., which can be very convenient if you happen to be waiting for a ride or for a practice to start anyway.  The liturgy choir sings at mass once a month, but don’t worry too much if you don’t think you’re a great singer; they’d still love to have you!  Grading is primarily based on attendance, and it’s overall a low-stress way to get credit for a class.

“I really love that it’s always been a pretty welcoming community… One of my favorite parts is when we get to help pick out what music we sing because that makes it more personal and fun,” senior Katie McManus said.

Video Editing

Video editing is an elective that is geared towards helping students learn how to put together and edit videos to look professional and polished.  Taught by Barb Gillming, the classwork varies depending on the personal interests of the students.  Deadlines for projects can also vary depending on what the student is working on.

“You can sit there and work a video to death…so for me to have a deadline doesn’t get them the polished ,” Gillming said.

This semester course does not require students to have a prior background in working with videos, and equipment can be supplied for students.

“If a student was on the edge of taking this class, I would say that it’s an interesting class that teaches you an interesting subject, [and it’s] not [one] a lot of schools that I know of provide,” senior Nick Booher said.

Creative Writing II students check in periodically with Mulvey throughout their writing process.  “They meet with me once a week to show me what they’ve done since the last time and make a projection of what they need to do next,” Mulvey said.

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