New Classes “Expand” Academic Horizons

Samantha Curry, Staff Writer

Five new classes are being offered for the student body for the 2019-2020 school year: Journalism, AP Seminar, AP Computer Science, Honors Introduction to Engineering, and AP Art History. Two of the classes were created after two teachers expressed the desire to teach the course while the other three classes were instituted as a result of Archmere’s seeing an opportunity to create new experiences for the students. 

“We always want to be offering courses that we think students will gain knowledge and insight from,” said Mr. Dougherty, Director of Academics. “Everything is practical to a certain degree.”

The Honors Introduction to Engineering class is a college-level introductory course focused on teaching about the career itself and the way of thinking required of engineers. The class was proposed by Mr. Creekmore who was an engineering major in college and wanted to expose the students to the curriculum while in high school. 

“I think it is a unique class because it is rare to be able to take a class that is profession-based in high school,” said Mr. Creekmore. “It can really help students determine whether or not engineering is for them. Or possibly, it will excite them even more about pursuing engineering after college.” 

The students really enjoy the time they spend in the class as well, especially the labs they take part in, like the recent “Fix-it” lab where they deconstructed mini appliances and then were asked to put them back together. 

“I loved this lab because we got to see how things in our everyday life function,” says senior Luke Currie. “The freedom and hands-on experience is refreshing after classes of note-taking.” 

Ms. Huffman teaches the new AP Art History class, sharing her love and insight on the 250 artworks they study from different contexts all over the world. The class discusses why and how the works were made, cultural influences impacting all the artwork and the effect of the work. 

“[AP Art History] incorporates an understanding of our culture and how it came to be and how it is and also other cultures and how they are and how they function,” said Ms. Huffman. 

The students share an appreciation for the new course as well, finding it challenging but rewarding. Students who take the class describe it as a great skill-builder for college test-taking because of its emphasis on writing.

“I like learning about the different cultures and artworks,” said senior Cate Brown. “I recommend the course if you are into art but also it’s helpful in preparing us for college.” 

AP Seminar is another popular new course that touches on a range of topics to teach students research and writing skills. The students get to work with different AP teachers each week, exposing them to various techniques and voices in a classroom setting. AP Seminar also only meets five out of the eight days in the cycle providing students with ample time to complete assignments which helps with the workload. 

“I really like that we have the opportunity to explore new subjects and really just delve into what topics pique our interests,” said senior Gabby Hogan. 

When asked why these five new classes were created, Mr. Dougherty said, “Everything is about expanding your academic horizons.”