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Reloading The Canon: New Electives For Seniors

Every year recent CB graduates are polled on their high school experience, and every year the results are overwhelmingly positive. But there is one idea that kept coming up throughout the polls — CB students wanted more choices when it came to course selection. “All of our requirements didn’t afford the students to have much […]

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Every year recent CB graduates are polled on their high school experience, and every year the results are overwhelmingly positive. But there is one idea that kept coming up throughout the polls — CB students wanted more choices when it came to course selection.

“All of our requirements didn’t afford the students to have much choice about what they were going to take,” stated English Department Chair Ms. Loretta Kenney. “And so, Mr. John O’Connor noticed this and said to Curriculum Committee, ‘Is there any way we could have more choices for the students?’ I immediately told him that the English Department would love to offer electives instead of having everyone take World Lit…this was our opportunity to offer something different and really give the students some sort of choice.”

And so the quest for a new set of English courses had begun. The process started with a poll of the junior class, or rising seniors, on which classes they thought to be the most intriguing. From there, the English department was able to come up with six brand new English electives to offer students next year.

“I worked with Ms. Melissa McClellan and we found already UC approved semester long courses that we could just take and implement here at CB,” stated Ms. Kenney. “We’ve got it down to six: African American Literature, Children’s Literature, Dystopian Literature, Film and Literature, Modern Plays, and The Literature of Comedy.”

Ms. McClellan, CB’s Director of College Counseling, made sure to state that these new courses “will go toward college credit and are all UC approved.” She also clarified that the classes are “exclusively for seniors right now” but that “juniors will be discussed in the future.”

Beloved English teacher Mrs. Maureen Wanket stated that the need for a course switch up stemmed from the English department’s commitment to getting CB students prepared for college and beyond.

“With the new ACT and the new SAT, our curriculum has to adapt so our students can succeed,” she stated. “We are trying to be on top of what kids want for college, and we want to grow their love for literature and language.”

While these classes do sound extremely interesting and undoubtedly fun, Mrs. Wanket warns that they won’t be a walk in the park for seniors.

“They are rigorous!” she exclaims. “There’s a whole bunch of skills and a bunch of writing, so I hope students love it.”

Ms. Kenney agreed, saying it’ll be deep study in one specific area.

“What I’ve been telling the juniors is, ‘You better get all of your writing instruction in this year because you’re really going to have to write in these semester long classes,'” she said. “But it’ll be a lot of fun!”

However, juniors like Madeline Molitor (‘18) seem to be unfazed by the challenges to come.

“I think we’ve been well prepared,” the rising senior stated. “Especially with having to take Mastering the Essay this year, I think senior year I’ll be more than ready for a challenge.”

Madeline also added how she thinks these new courses will get her fellow classmates more invested in their literature classes.

“I think everyone’s a lot more passionate when they’re learning about something they actually want to learn about,” she stated. “I’m really excited for these new classes, especially Children’s Literature!”

Madeline is just one of the many rising seniors that are thrilled to have some new courses to choose from next year. With more than a century of combined experience, CB’s English department has proven once again that it is completely and thoroughly committed to preparing students for higher education and beyond. The department demonstrates again and again what it really means to provide a quality education.

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