One of the biggest changes in high school from middle school is the amount of freedom students have. In middle school, one seems to be trapped within a world without your phone and bound to a desk during a free block. In high school, the parameters of your experience begin to widen; you can have that phone in your hand, and free blocks are yours to decide what to do with them. Not only do the rules change, but you also have the opportunity to select classes rather than having them already set in stone.
Students in Class IV through Class I can take a variety of courses, ranging from Macroeconomics to Computer Science. However, this so called “freedom” in high school exists, but to what extent? Nobles students are required to take at least one performing arts and visual arts credit before they graduate. Students have the opportunity to explore areas such as ceramics, acting, dance, or concert choir. While some students believe this requirement fosters several benefits, there are others who disagree.
Class II student Clay Harris said, “I think it is fair, but it is a little too much. You should get a full credit for one semester, not having to take two. For example, concert choir.” The M-block period on Fridays and Tuesdays has been a time for students to complete the requirement. However, some courses demand two semesters to receive the complete single credit — such as concert choir. While Harris believes the policy to be fair, he draws the line at the time consumption. Harris also feels the process is stressful. “It’s frustrating because I wanted to get rid of my requirements, but I am taking other classes which filled up my blocks, so I could not,” he said.
Class I student Jackson Smith offers a different outlook. “I think it’s fair because Nobles students should be well-rounded. Some students come in to Nobles with strong specific interests, and being pushed towards art makes them often reconsider their interests,” Smith said. Smith continued, stating he originally approached taking wind ensemble “just to satisfy the requirement,” but ended up pursuing the class for four more semesters. He believes the push for students to branch out from their comfort zones results in the personal benefits of gaining experience and a possible new hobby. Smith also adds that the art requirement has not negatively affected him. “It hasn’t prevented me from taking the electives I want,” Smith said.
Harris’ and Smith’s opinions once again challenge one another when asked about whether or not students would take performing art or visual art courses without the requirement. Harris said, “Yes, they would take them. But not as many would take them. I feel like they [the school] would rather have students that want to do it take it seriously than have kids that do not want to take it take it just to fool around.” However Smith takes the stance that, “people that come into the school that are not already interested would not branch out.”
Although Harris and Smith take separate sides, both believe that Nobles could improve its policy surrounding the arts requirement. Harris said, “More options would be great. It is good advertisement for students that want to come here and it could get more interest from students.” He believes not only would making more courses available to students benefit them, but also the school’s reputation. Additionally, although Smith believes the requirement to be “pretty bare minimum,” he believes students would respond more positively if the M-block electives would count as one credit for a single semester rather than two semesters.
By Becca Gill, Staff Writer, March 2019