Selecting electives: Students, faculty share faves

Although second semester just started at the beginning of January, it’s already time to begin thinking about classes for the 2022-2023 school year. Counselors met with students the week of January 31, and scheduling forms are due turned it to CREW teachers on Wednesday, Feb. 16. One of the perks of high school over elementary school is being able to have some choice in the classes outside of the “core” classes that fill our schedule. As the Classes of 2025, 2024, and 2023 plan their next year at McNick, finding the right elective can be the key to a great year.

The Milestone recently asked current students the “what” and “why” of their favorite electives to help make scheduling easier. Take the advice of some of the following students for electives that both feed your brain and your soul. Please note that the only electives featured below are electives that were submitted as suggestions by students who answered the survey. Students are encouraged to explore all electives offered by accessing the course directory before completing their scheduling forms.

AP Art History

“AP Art History is a really informative and educational elective that is fun to take even if you’re not pairing the course with a trip somewhere around the world. Learning to understand art and label it so you can fully recognize how impressive it is is a skill everyone should have.” – Audrey Hurlburt ‘24

AP Seminar

“AP Seminar focuses on critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills. It involves a lot of reading, writing, and speaking. We learn about research and making good arguments. It relies heavily on group work. The content is based on topics of your choice- a neat aspect of this class! This class is a good fit for Honors and AP English students, but anyone is welcome to apply. AP Seminar will prepare you for college-level academic work.

This is the first of two classes in the AP Capstone program. Ideally, you would take AP Seminar as a sophomore or junior and AP Research as a junior or senior, but you can take AP Seminar your senior year. Upon completion of both classes, you are eligible to earn the AP Diploma. Why would you want the AP Diploma? It shows colleges that you have successfully taken rigorous courses in high school and passed the AP exams.” – Emily Materna, faculty instructor

Biblical Literature I and II:

“Women should be submissive to their husbands!” (Eph. 5:22). “Slaves should be obedient to their masters!” (Eph. 6:5). What’s going on here?

“Biblical Literature I and II takes a deep dive into provocative verses like these while relying on allied fields like literature, archaeology, visual art, cultural anthropology, religion, theology, philosophy, and spirituality to better understand how ancient story tellers created meaning through the power of personal and communal experience.


Students in this class can earn both college credit and senior theology credit. It can be taken first and/or second semester. Credits will transfer to any college or university in the United States, religious or not. Taking one or both of these courses will save time in college and thousands of dollars. Plus, the class is incredibly fun! This course is conducted in partnership with Mount St. Joseph University.” – Fr. Kevin Scalf, faculty instructor

Comparative World Religions

“CWR, grounded in Vatican II documents and the Gospel, allows students foundational understanding of many of the world religions as to increase empathy and connection with others in the world they will meet after high school. It is COMPARATIVE World Religions as we compare each with our Catholic Christianity. We learn much about our faith while learning about others!” – Teresa Davis, faculty instructor

Computer Programming

“Computer programming is a great elective to take because it teaches you the basics about computers, programming, and also gives you more insight into how they work. This class is great at preparing you for college if you want to go into any Computer Science or IT related fields by laying down the foundations of how these complex machines are instructed.” – Remington Holder ‘24

Greek

“Greek is a great elective if you’re interested in science (especially archaeology), philosophy, mythology, or language. In this class, I’ve made inferences about the culture of ancient civilizations based upon their artwork, read about Greek myths, and learned Greek alphabet. I’ve also seen how language has changed and how it has stayed the same over time, helping me to better understand the origin of a good part of English vocabulary.” – Mary Metzger ‘24

Guitar Tech

“This is a great elective because it is suitable for any level of experience with a guitar. Mr. Nance does a great job explaining and putting the chords and songs into practice. He is a fun teacher and has a way of making any class fun.” – Karly Leibreich ‘23

Help Desk

“This is a great elective because it helps you gain skills in the reams of customer service, IT, and technology. It allows you to actually get to work with technology and diagnose problems. This helps lay down solid groundwork and gives you a taste of the IT world in a real-world environment.” – Remington Holder ‘24

Journalism

“Journalism is so much fun! You get to make stories about whatever you want and you get to meet so many new people and teachers. I love it so much and it’s a very easy and fun class! Love the teacher too!” – Ava Wille, ‘25

Music Appreciation

“You get to chill in the band room, watch cool music-related movies, and take a [great] course with friends. Also, Mr. Nance is awesome.” – Tanner Shelly ‘25

Personal Finance

“Personal Finance is an amazing elective to take because it taught me how to handle my money and how to make smart financial decisions. I will definitely use the things I have learned from this class and I recommend it for anyone looking for a fun, useful class!” – Kelly Carville ’23

“Personal Finance is a great elective because it covers all sectors of financial stability out of high school and into the real world. I learned a lot about how to save, spend, invest, and most importantly how to give to others. Had a lot of fun in the class. Mrs. Lonneman does a fantastic job teaching the elective by using her own scenarios in the financial part of life to make it more understandable for the students.” – Aidan Garvin ‘24

Psychology

“Psychology is great elective to take because it’s very interesting and it goes deeper into why people do what they do and the psychology behind seemingly every day ‘norms’.” – Kaycie Badylak ‘22

“Psych is an amazing elective because of the open discussion and the way you learn about how the mind works. It is especially great as an upperclassman if you are considering it as a major because it gives you the opportunity to see if it is something you would really enjoy.” – Karly Leibreich ’23

Rocket Leadership

“All of our students at McNicholas have the opportunity and ability to lead… this new course will help students develop the skills needed to be an effective leader in an enjoyable and meaningful way.” – Todd Naumann, faculty instructor

Theatre

“Theatre is literally so fun. I signed up for it and it was out of my comfort zone, but I ended up loving it. That is where I have made most of my friends, and I look forward to it every day. DO THEATRE!” – Langley Esterle ’24

“Theatre is a great elective because it helps with public-speaking, confidence, and keeps your brain thinking. I have made a lot of my best friends in that class. Ms. DeZarn is such a great teacher.” – Mia Selzer ’25

“The class is always energetic and has a great vibe, even in the mornings when everyone’s tired. We have guests often and hear stories from Ms. DeZarn. Everyone is kind and the theater is a safe place for sharing and understanding. I always look forward to it even if I’m nervous to perform a scene or project. Messing up is much less of a worry because everyone gets it; people make mistakes and we just laugh it off and move on.” – Kai Snedegar ‘25

“Theatre has helped me so much to overcome fears of public speaking and has also made it super easy to make new friends.” – Reagen Overbeck ‘25

“Theatre is a great elective to take because it heightens your public speaking skills and gives you opportunities to express yourself. I have met many people through theatre, including my best friends. It’s helped me become comfortable around other people. It’s an important elective to take if you want to have a career in theatre, work on public speaking skills, or if you just want to meet super cool people.” – Harlan Mulvey ‘24

Web Development

“This elective is great for anyone looking to go to school for Computer Programming or Design. It teaches you the foundations of how to make a website and goes in depth in teaching how to design websites and applications in a way that is accessible to all users, even the blind.” – Remington Holder ‘24

Past electives — Jeanne Daly, faculty and McNicholas Class of 1984

Instead of offering advice about what electives to take, Daly offers a perspective that shows how different electives were in the 1980’s.
“I took sewing for two years. It was the best class because it taught me the skills I needed to help my own children. I used my skills to make Halloween costumes, curtains, and to fix clothes like sewing on buttons, hemming, and patching holes which saved money. It is a shame they still don’t offer that class.

I also took a class called Food and Nutrition. It was a class that taught us how to cook, but also the nutrition and the science behind some of the food. Talk about a useful class, I can still remember our in-school field trip where we made bread from scratch. Another time we had a guest chef, Mr. O’Leary, our principal came in and taught us how to make spaghetti carbonara. It is a shame they don’t have that class anymore. Such useful and practical skills I used every day.

Believe it or not, typing was an elective (great class). We even got to use electric typewriters. Good times.”


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