Seniors that reflect on classrooms that became home

Joey Durkin, Managing Editor

Many students spend the early part of their high school careers trying to find their niche. This could be a favorite subject, a sport or an elective. Seniors who have participated in an elective for the greater part of their four years of high school remember what made them join their classroom environments and reflect upon what made them stay.



Students join yearbook for many different reasons, including covering school events, meeting new people and contributing to something that will last for years. For senior and editor-in-chief Julia Gasse, it is because she watched her older sibling enjoy it.

“I joined because my sister [Maddie Gasse, who graduated in 2015,] was an editor,” Gasse said. “She recommended taking the class, so I said okay and tried it.”

Working on deadline requires constant productivity that can potentially extend long into after school hours. Students therefore have to familiarize themselves both with their work environment and their fellow staff members.

“We spend a lot of time in the classroom after school and on the weekend,” Gasse said. “Working on difficult things and dealing with conflict brings us closer as friends.”

After taking the first step of joining, students evaluate how well the yearbook environment fits their wants and needs from an elective. A student-run class structure, an environment that encourages social interaction and cooperatively working towards a substantial achievement are properties of the classroom that are often considered when deciding to stay or leave.

“I’ve stayed because it’s a very different environment than most other classes, so it’s a nice break,” Gasse said. “I really enjoy working collaboratively with other students. Rather than just having a teacher teach the class, we teach ourselves.”

Overall, an alternative class structure and a friendship-building environment make yearbook well suited to students who choose to take it.

“The classroom is like home,” Gasse said. “In other classes I don’t mind leaving, and I don’t really enjoy coming in; but in yearbook, I come in every morning and after school because I like the learning environment that isn’t a typical school classroom.”


Visual Arts

Taking a visual arts course provides students not only with an opportunity for self-improvement in terms of honing a skill, but also with a platform for creative expression. These opportunities are not always found in core subjects.

“I get to express myself and be creative in art; other classes don’t really allow that,” senior Rabiya Hasan said. “I made a lot of new friends in art classes that are my closest friends now.”

Students first encounter art classes in elementary school. Many become enamored with the craft then, and choose to continue through middle school and beyond.

“I’ve been in art all four years of high school,” Hasan said. “I did art in middle school and I really liked it. I was good at it, so I stayed.”

Ultimately, students take art because it provides a safe space to explore abilities and develop personality without judgment.

“The classroom gives me a sense of comfort and a sense of familiarity that isn’t in a lot of other classes,” Hasan said.



Theatre becomes a place of belonging for many students. The class environment hones expression, confidence and work ethic through teaching students to create different elements of a production.

“I joined theatre in the eighth grade,” senior Connor Cragg said. “Originally, it was an easy A and a class to be in with my friends, but I actually ended up liking it, so I stayed with it.”

Friendships are nurtured among the thespians-in-training through long after-school hours and a necessity for cooperation.

“We’ve been in the same class space with the same people for four years,” Cragg said. “We spend not only every other day together, but also countless hours after school until as late as 10 p.m., so it’s hard to not get close.”

Students find a level of refuge in the auditorium since it is the setting for hours upon hours of creating memories working with peers and perfecting a production.

“The black box and auditorium represent a home to me,” Cragg said. “I spend just as much time there as I do at my actual home, so it’s hard to differentiate the two at this point.”