Pros to Required Electives

There are a plethora of different career opportunities in this world, and finding out what’s right for me has always been a struggle. I have bounced between so many different hobbies and interests that I feel like I can’t find anything fitting enough for me. I am currently a sophomore, and I am still discovering who I am every day. School has always existed as a way to find what I am interested in and what I am not interested in. Like most students, I have learned that I absolutely despise math. On the other hand, I have learned that I can be good at English. 

But it is not just the core classes that I have formed opinions on.

Cherry Hill High School East gives the opportunity for students to take electives: classes outside of the required core classes that are completely the student’s choice. East is unique with its electives as there are “choice classes” that you are required to take in order to graduate. It is a graduation requirement to take one year in visual and performing arts electives, one year in 21st century life and career skills electives, a ½ year of Financial Literacy, and starting with the Class of 2025: a ½ year of African American Studies. Although required electives may be an oxymoron to the definition of “elective,” there are many benefits to these essential classes.

Like many students, I am taking African American Studies. Before taking this class, I was disinterested and a little irritated. I felt that I knew enough about African American history and there was absolutely no need for me to take it, and disliked that it would be taking over a semester. However, now that I am taking this class I realize that there is so much more that me and my peers could possibly learn about this topic. I noticed our prior ignorance on the topic, and am grateful for the lessons this course taught me. Classes like these are extremely important to take, because it teaches lessons that no other class at Cherry Hill East teaches: how to prevent stereotyping and discrimination. If everyone takes this class, which it is now required to do, we all have the opportunity to educate ourselves and we can all contribute to fighting against racism in our society.

And yet, some students still would not have even thought to take the course if they were not required to do so. They would bypass the course, simply scrolling through the selection booklet until they found a class that fit their predetermined view of what they wanted to do.

Without the requirement of certain electives, this would be the case for many students around East. They would look for only certain classes, and very rarely would they ever step out of their comfort zone.

Regardless, some students are still annoyed that this elective, like many others, has become mandatory. They enroll in the class with the mindset that they will not care about it – a common idea amongst East students.

During my freshman year, I shared this mindset. I took Journalism as a way to get rid of the 21st century & career skills elective requirement. Yet as the year progressed, I found myself more interested in what we learned. Learning about how to interview others, how to write certain stories, and the rules in journalism all sparked my interest in communications. 

A required elective can help you find what you would like to do – not only in high school, but also as a future career. Required electives assist you with understanding the way certain things in the world work. Core classes gloss over these lessons, but required electives go in depth and let the students immerse themselves into a new perspective and mindset.