Enrollment is quickly approaching and it can be a challenge to decide which elective courses to take because there are so many options available, and you need to pick options that meet your needs for graduation. To graduate, you need to have taken practical and consumer studies courses, language courses, physical education courses, world language or applied communication courses, visual or performing arts courses, technology, and your required core classes.
There are many options that can fulfill your practical and consumer studies credit, including public safety, baking, business, journalism, career/life planning, family studies, fashion courses, nutrition and wellness, psychology, newspaper, and even more options. There is a wide variety of options, so you can choose a course that interests you and fill your credit for graduation.
Many students enjoy Family Studies. Junior Stella Brown loved taking the class. This class involves taking home a fake baby and gives you an experience of having a real baby.
“I loved taking the baby home because it was very educational and difficult,” Brown said. “I think it really shows you what it’s like to have a baby, but it is still a great class and very fun.”
Visual and performing arts courses include band, orchestra, choir, theater, and cheer. Doing a visual or performing arts credit does not mean you have to go on a stage because it also includes ceramics, sculpture, jewelry, photography, debate, forensics, and more.
An option for visual and performing arts that does involve stepping on a stage is theater. Emily Heflin is a member of theater and loves the community atmosphere.
“I love the community and the atmosphere of theater,” Heflin said. “It feels like you connect with everyone you are in class with no matter what. Even if you are at different grades. You also get a bunch of opportunities to step out of your shell and become more outgoing.”
Technology courses can be very interesting and include graphic design, computer applications, web design, photojournalism, engineering, video production, and more.
One class that many students enjoy is video production. Kylie Krause thinks it is a great elective and a very fun class.
“The class is very different from other classes and is very hands-on,” Krause said. “You are always creating something new and you learn about how to make a whole project from just a couple clips. It is also very fun to go around and talk to different people and try new things that you wouldn’t be able to do in other classes.”
Science is not considered an elective course, but it has the most options out of your core classes and you might even want to take two science courses at a time since there are so many options. Some of West’s AP options include AP environmental science, AP Chemistry, AP Biology, and AP Physics. Some courses that are not AP include chemistry, zoology, student naturalist, anatomy, astronomy, biology, physical science, and horticulture.
Horticulture is a class that some students might not know West offers, but many people who take the class really enjoy it. Junior Andie Rau is currently enrolled in horticulture and loves learning about different kinds of plants and how to care for them.
“We touch on a lot of different subjects that you would not get in a typical biology or chemistry class,’ Rau said. “I love learning about different plant types and how to take care of them because I feel like that is an important skill for the future. The class is also very easy and I think that if you are going into your junior or senior year and want a class that wont give you homework or much stress, horticulture would be a great choice.”
Language and communication courses include Spanish, French, introduction to journalism, debate, animation, graphic design, and sign language.
Dylan Hall is a member of speech and debate. He thinks it is a great elective for improving communication skills.
“Debate helped me become a better speaker… and whenever I do in class presentations they are much easier,” Hall said. “All of my best friends are in debate and I find myself talking about it all the time because I think it is really fun and probably the best thing you can do academically in high school. I also love the teacher Dr. Anderson, he is freaking amazing.”
Ryan Seiter is also a member of speech and debate who thinks debate can create strengthened friendships and help improve his communication skills as well.
“It helped me become a better speaker and I feel like conversations aren’t as hard to hold anymore,” Seiter said.“I am also extraverted so it fits right in with my personality. Dylan is also my best friend of eleven years and almost every weekend we can go out and have a fun time together.”
There are many options for electives I did not have room to list, but if you want to do a deeper dive into all course options you can find in the program planning guide. You can find all course options starting on page 12 and note that this is for all Olathe schools, so some courses might not be offered at West.