Northwest reminisces cut classes

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Due to prominent budget cuts in North Carolina’s public schools in the past decade, Northwest has not only seen a trend of increasing class sizes and restrictions on the grade levels permitted to take specific elective courses, but a plethora of cut classes have also followed suit. This unavailability of courses became most evident in the 2017-18 school year as many classes in the social studies and science departments were done away with.


What was once under the under the supervision of social studies teacher Paul Egelston, Leadership was perhaps one of the most obvious cuts made to Northwest. Leadership was a fourth-period class full of “motivated and hardworking students” that worked toward beautifying the school, hosting pep rallies and Christmas families, coordinating blood drives, and many other similar activities.

Not only was this class a way to earn many service learning hours, it also offered opportunities for students to get involved in their school as well as their community.

With the course now gone, many of these students’ previous responsibilities have fallen onto other clubs, most predominantly of which being student council and national honor society.

AP European History

AP European History was one of College Board’s most “extensive and thought-provoking” courses, despite its cut from Northwest in the 2016-17 school year. Taught by social studies teacher Jim Thompson, AP European History was said to often delve into the subject matter of Western civilization in a way that presents it as a sort of case study.

“It was enjoyable. Many of the kids that were taking the course are very smart and inquisitive so listening to their discussions and opinions, especially toward the end of the year, was just as encapsulating and fascinating as anything I had done in college,” Thompson said.

Things are changing rapidly, according to Thompson, and hope of the class returning is minimal. This is a result of the scarcity of funds in the public school system that doesn’t seem to be alleviating soon and society and universities’ increasing expectation of students’ resumes.

“It’s difficult to dive so deeply into a class like this one when we expect so much from kids today in all other areas as well, while wanting them to maintain a healthy, high school social life,” Thompson said. “I don’t think this one cut class affects the social studies department as a whole—or at all. It really only affects the people that are interested in that sort of way of thinking. It was never a class for everyone.”

Speech and Debate

Under the teachings of social studies teacher Scott Bennett, the Speech and Debate course was intended to be an enhancer that offers extra preparation, practice, and critiques to students on the Speech and Debate team. Though the class has since been done away with, the team still stands strong.

For many upperclassmen, however, this void in their schedule has been an odd transition, as the class filled their fourth period for two or maybe even three years of their Speech and Debate careers.

“It’s just kind of weird because you’re so used to having time in class to work on your pieces and cases and stuff and now, all of a sudden, that workload turns into homework and you have to stay on top of things even more than before,” senior Abigail Jones said. “I think it’s worth it in the end though because we all still come together at meetings and tournaments.”

Marine Science

A course expected to be cut in the 2018-19 school year is Marine Science. Rather than a result of budget cuts though, this cut is said to be “in the interest of both the students and the teachers.” Marine is expected to be replaced with an Honors Genetics course taught by the same teacher, Christiana Burke.

“Genetics is more down my alley as I have a strong biology and medical background,” Burke said. “But to those who are interested in marine science I say, continue to pursue your interests. Just because we don’t offer it at this school anymore, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t feel free to explore it on your own.”

Despite this being Burke’s first year’s first year teaching Marine, she claims that it was a “fun” and “definitely interesting” experiences, but she is excited to start teaching genetics and is hopeful that the students will just as interested in themselves, their bodies, their family trees and what makes them up as her current students are about Marine.


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