Seniors suggest electives to underclassmen


Senior Rowan Alexander works on building a coffee cart on Dec. 17. Photo by Christine Cheung.

Siddharth Dhadi, Staff Writer

With over 300 courses, the school offers a plethora of electives for students. From internships to working with animals, these classes allow students to explore various fields before they enter college. Some seniors reflect on a few of the courses and how these classes helped them make career choices.


Veterinary Science (senior Nancy Melgar)

Why did you choose this class?

Growing up I had a rabbit, and he was my best friend. He’d always be there to comfort me, and he helped me emotionally when I was going through a rough patch. I am thankful to have had him in my life, and I want to help other animals [like him]. 

What does a typical day in the class look like?

When we are in the classroom, we are usually learning about the animal body systems, bones, nervous systems and muscles. Sometimes, the teacher shows these anatomical concepts visually on an actual animal. We learn the overall body functions of dogs, cats and other animals.

What are some outside opportunities that go along with this class?

Our teacher provides us with pet clinics and grooming places where veterinarians could possibly need help, and we are encouraged to volunteer or apply for internships at these places. The teacher also teaches us information that we need for the Veterinary Assistant Certification if that is something we want to do.

What are the prerequisites to take this class?

There are no prerequisites, but this class is double blocked. You would have this class every day.


Criminal Justice (senior Jack Schuchard)

Why did you choose this class?

I have always been interested in spy TV shows, so I thought this would fit my interests.

What does a typical day in this class look like?

On a regular day of class, we have lessons on crime scene vocabulary and procedures. We also have a lot of hands-on learning, like practicing fingerprinting, taking signatures, preserving the crime scene, etc. Sometimes, we have a field trip where we go to museums or other places that would go along with our class. In some ways, this class is a mixture of law enforcement, forensics and the profession of lawyers, and it would be a great fit for anyone interested in those fields.

What are the prerequisites for this class?

There are no prerequisites, but Criminal Justice 2, [second-year sequential course], is a double blocked class.


Theatre Arts (senior Katie Craddock)

Why did you choose this class?

I wanted to take theater since freshman year, but I had to take other electives. So I took theater my junior year, and again this year, as a senior.

What does a typical day of the class look like?

To begin our class, we have a “fun roll” for attendance, where it is not just your teacher calling out your name. There is an assigned order, and when it is your turn you give the class a 30-second update on your life, rant or just say a joke. Fun roll is just one of many things that make theater a family, rather than just another one of your classes. [After fun roll], we have a warm-up that energizes us or helps with improv. Then we get into our unit that we are working on. Every unit usually has a performance project, and we work on our performance after the warm-up.

What are some of the theater department’s performances?

There are typically four performances every year; two of which are children shows, and the other two are the mainstage shows. People who do not even take the class could audition and get a role in the shows, but it can be difficult to get a role without the skills from the class.

What are the prerequisites for this class?

There are no prerequisites for this class, and students are graded based on the effort they put into their performance.


Culinary Arts (senior Govind Sunkara)

What does a regular day in the class look like?

Sometimes, the teacher gives us demonstrations like how to butcher a chicken, trim beef or cut vegetables in a certain way. If there are any events like a school board meeting or band performances, we cook food for those events. Apart from cooking, we also learn how to maintain kitchen hygiene, wash dishes, store food, etc.

How does grading work in this class?

We are graded on the effort we put in. And there is also a grade for proper attire every time you cook, like a chef coat, a hat and shoes that cover your feet.

If you wanted to pursue cooking as a profession, would this class help you?

Culinary arts would most certainly help you if you wanted to pursue cooking as a career. This class teaches you the basic skills and procedures for cooking. And our kitchen is very similar to the kitchens that real chefs use, so it is a good experience.

Are there any prerequisites to take this class?

There are no prerequisites required, and you do not have to double-block this class either.

Culinary arts students fry bacon as one of the ingredients for their bacon pancakes. Photo by Christine Cheung


Carpentry (senior Rowan Alexander)

What made you choose this class?

Carpentry is an important skill that every person who owns a home should have. Even if this may not be your career, it will definitely help you in your life when you need to repair your home and no carpenter is available, or when you want to build something in your home with less cost.

What does a regular day in the class look like?

The teacher gives us some demonstrations and then we are assigned to build projects and structures for various needs in the school. For example, I am currently building a coffee cart for the personal finance class. Then we get a grade on the quality of the project. We also do activities that teach us different types of cuts, tools and drawings of prototypes.

Would this class help you with your career?

Carpentry is a career that I am considering, and I think that this class will help me with that. I am actually an Oakton High School student and I travel here every other day just to take this class because Oakton does not offer it. This class really gets into the basics of carpentry and how to use tools, and it’s definitely a good choice even if you just want to learn how to use tools.

Are there any prerequisites to take this class?

There are no prerequisites to take this class.