New electives offered at West Park for 2022-23 school year

Julianne Macaspac, Class of 2025

As a newly established high school, West Park has changed over the course of just two years. This school year, West Park offers various new electives, such as Journalism, Speech and Debate, and Professional Photography 1, which teaches students the purpose of analyzing and about other topics taught in the classes. This new selection of elective classes provides students a chance to go further into their interests for the future, or find new skills that can impact their lives on a daily basis from the classes they take.

One of the new classes in West Park is Journalism. The class offers students a chance to be exposed to news and interview their peers to contribute to their writings.

Freshman and student of Journalism, Dedra Paul, expresses her feelings about what the class has taught her since the beginning of this term. She believed that journalism was mainly a class about reporting upon what’s already known, however, her perspective on journalism has changed over a few weeks.

“…(Journalism) provides completely new facts and information that can really build the story and add more truth to it to make it more of a credible source,” said Paul.

Though the class is more focused on analyzing news and reporting, Paul wishes for more freedom in generating her own writing ideas. “Some of the news reading can be kind of boring and I think it’s because kids and teens aren’t interested in the news,” said Paul.

On the other hand, learning about the news everyday offers students to be aware of the events occurring around the world. Additionally, writing about news builds upon a student’s writing and analytical skills, said Paul.

Junior and student of Journalism, Amillia Nguyen, explains how Journalism allows her to write articles without being biased because of the strict writing structures she has to follow, which she occasionally struggles with. Additionally, she mentioned how there are numerous articles to analyze, therefore, it allows her to obtain ideas for topics.

Counselor for Sophomores, Keith Simmons, highlights that taking a simple class, such as Journalism, can strike people in a way where it impacts their daily activities because of the knowledge learned during the class. “…I took journalism and I think about it daily and I think about it when putting something on the website. I think about it when I’m writing emails,” said Simmons.

Journalism builds writing and social skills by creating a connection between students and their community because of the exposure in investigating the news occurring.

Speech and Debate, another addition, is a class with a purpose of teaching students public speaking skills, such as speed, body language, expression, and volume to obtain audience engagement. The class offers students to choose the type of speech to perform: original or interpretation speech.

Teacher of Speech and Debate, Malia Coloma-Smith, prepares her students for Lincoln Douglas Debating, “…which is value based debating. There is a very specific way where you have to establish a value, which is morality, or justice, or equality,” said Coloma-Smith.

Sophomore and student of Speech and Debate, Micah Peralta, states that Speech and Debate has made her aware of the process to create a successful and proper speech/debate.

“I enjoy taking this class because it has given me an opportunity to step outside of my comfort zone and expose myself to more public speaking opportunities,” said Peralta.

Speech and Debate constructs confidence in students’ speaking abilities, which is beneficial when communicating with others.

Professional Photography 1, a class that prepares students for yearbook or after yearbook, is another class now established in West Park. Photography teaches its students about why photos are meaningful and the elements that can make the photo have more value.

Students believed photography class would be about how to take strong photos, however, there are a lot of assignments that require analysis to additionally build their writing abilities.

Sophomore and student of Professional Photo 1, Finnegan Bournstein, mentioned that the class can be tedious from the deep analysis and writing assignments done for a simple photo. However, he has noticed that, “…such little detail can make such a big difference in a photo,” said Bournstein.

Students are currently taking photos on their phones, however, once the school provides the materials needed, students will learn the fundamentals of a camera.

Professional Photo 1 captures students’ imagination and creativity from analyzing a simple photo and expands their knowledge of taking a meaningful photo.

Other newly established classes in West Park are Game Design and English Language Development (ELD). Game Design is a newer pathway that teaches students to explore their imagination regarding analog and board games. English Language Development is a class for students who mostly came here the last 8 months to work on their English skills. These classes can also create life skills that are useful in various situations.

High school students worry more about the future and often forget to explore other interests, while given the opportunity to do so. Simmons recommends using high school as a time to expose students to different electives to learn new fundamentals.

“…I wish, and I hope, that some students start to think of electives as, ‘Let’s start something new,’” said Simmons.

As West Park continues to grow, so do the interests of the students they educate. The new branch of electives allows students to establish essential qualities that are impactful enough to create a new sense of knowledge and interest for their students.