Under Appreciated Electives

By: Cassidy Quinn

With collaboration from Chloe Sarrazin, Hayley Andros and Claudia Larsen


In January as the seniors choose what their futures after high school will be, the rest of  BHS will be selecting their classes for the next school year. Of course the popular classes such as Culinary and Marketing will fill up fast, but there is a large number of classes at our school that are not recognized by many students.


Many lack strong public speaking skills, but a solution to this is taking a public speaking course. The course is open to students in grades 10, 11, and 12. The class size changes every year, however the objectives stay the same. The main goal of the class, according to Mary Fernand, Chairperson of the English department, is to make the students “more confident in their skills, empower them to use their voice, and strengthen their own awareness of how others use rhetoric. She also commented that “everyone has to improve communication skills,” because speaking publicly is a life skill that is required by everyone, whether it’s while presenting a project to the class or having a job interview in front of a group of your potential bosses.


Another little known elective is Journalism, which focuses on the basic journalism skills of reporting, editing, interviewing, and evaluating sources. The class is open to students in grades 10-12. Some of the styles of writing the students learn include news, features stories, movie reviews, editorials, and sports pieces. Chloe Sarrazin ‘17, who is currently enrolled in the class, says she would highly recommend the class because it is “good practice for writing and getting comfortable with interviewing people.”

Of course, if you want to pursue a career in journalism or technical writing I would highly persuade you to take the class, but if not, the class will still improve your skills in writing and interviewing different people. You will also learn how to create layouts using InDesign, dabble in photojournalism, discuss current events and even create your own news broadcast. Journalism II and an independent study in journalism are other options for those seriously interested. Students will also get a chance to write for Bethel’s student generated newspaper, The Wildcat Word! Sign up for this elective and you could see your name in a byline!

Film Literature is a class for anyone who likes to watch and analyze films! Students will get to watch award winning films, ranging from the Godfather, to Inception, and The Princess Bride, as well as other thought provoking drama and horror films. Students in the film literature class will learn the artistic and technical aspects of films and the production of films, and draw parallels between cinematic techniques and literary elements. If you find yourself binging on Netflix, or are infatuated with the cinematic world, this class is definitely for you!


Creative Writing, an elective open to grades 10-12  will earn you .5 Credit.  This course is a perfect choice for students who enjoy thinking and writing creatively. Students will practice strong writing skills through the creation of poetry and longer pieces of fiction. Students are required to keep a journal which will be utilized on a daily basis. Readings will focus on fiction, non-fiction, and poetry of multiple genres. Students will also get teacher and student feedback on their work through teacher conferences and in-class student lead writing workshops.


Facing History and Ourselves is the hidden treasure of the history oriented electives that BHS offers. The class is a junior/senior year elective course based on the darker, yet fascinating times of history. Discussions usually revolve around topics such as racism, prejudice, discrimination, and genocide. Units for the class include events such as the Armenian Genocide, the Rape of Nanking, the Holocaust, the Rwandan Genocide, and Darfur.

The course was created with the hope that, according to resident teacher Ms. Christensen, “if students are taught about the development and the effects of these issues, they will take a stand against them as they go forward in life.”

The design of the class involves a need for its students to be sensitive, reflective, and considerate. The course is recommended to students who are interested in the topics of humans rights, sociology, psychology, human behavior, 20th century history, or even just history in general.


Astronomy is often a smaller populated class, but don’t let its size fool you. Astronomy is a science elective offered to grades 11 and 12, with a prerequisite of successful biology and chemistry course completion. This is an introductory course, teaching students the concepts of our Solar System, galaxy, and galaxies beyond us. Current student in the course Slater Bjorinson ‘16 says that he “honestly just find the stars and planets really cool. You never really learn about them unless you take the time outside of school, so having this class was a cool opportunity.”


There are an abundance of under appreciated world language classes. For Spanish, students can take Spanish Conversation and Composition H, a course for juniors and seniors that “offers students the opportunity to develop more advanced conversation and composition skills in Spanish.” After taking Spanish 41H, students may want to improve their skills by watching authentic films from Spain and Latin America. This course will be accredited through Western Connecticut State University and students will receive credit for Conversación y composición-cine upon successful completion of the course.


AP Spanish and AP French, open only to seniors, are “rigorous classes that demand commitment and good-time management skills,” but can be rewarding to hard working students , as the class teaches various means of communication. Students will strengthen their interpretation skills surrounding authentic texts and learn to make connections. Though students might find AP Spanish and French to be difficult classes (they’re AP classes, after all), students can gain college credit after passing the AP exam.


BHS will also be offering a new elective next year — French 52: Conversation and Culture, created by French 41 student Sarah Mello ‘17 for students who’ve completed French 32, 31, 41 or 42. The class focuses on food, film, fieldtrips, culture, and authentic games from Francophone countries. This course is designed for students seeking more real world application, and is a nice break from the demanding work of AP French. The class will be conducted solely in the target language, and students are required to speak in the target language.


Most of these elective are only half semester long, and will definitely broaden your skills in a variety of areas. When it comes time for the school to begin choosing their classes for the next school year to, I recommend choosing some of these not-so-well known classes and expanding your knowledge. Choose wisely!