Be Selective About Your Electives

  Freshman and Sophomore year you take the courses you need to, but junior and senior year you get to take the electives you want. This chance to pick and choose your own educational route is similar to life in the real world. You have to pick between what you want and what you need. […]


Freshman and Sophomore year you take the courses you need to, but junior and senior year you get to take the electives you want. This chance to pick and choose your own educational route is similar to life in the real world. You have to pick between what you want and what you need. But how do you know you are making the right decision?

As pre-registration creeps up on students, the ever daunting task of choosing classes that will provide you college credit as well as life skills loom overhead. The Talon went to talk to the teachers and students of a few electives that are fun and also provide life skills.

Some unique electives that Christian Brothers provides for their students are Psychology at the CP and AP level, Personal Finance, Leadership, and Sports Broadcasting. 

Psychology teacher Mr. Michael Hood shared some insight into what a student could expect from his class and why students take his class. According to Mr. Hood, the goal of psychology is not only to learn but gain perspective. 

“There is a curiosity in why mom or dad suffer from depression, why do I suffer from anxiety, why is my brother autistic? Those kinds of things we go over,” he says. “My overall goal is to literally make you a better human being. That’s my goal, honestly.”

He also shared the purpose of his course which is to educate his students but more importantly transform them into better human beings. 

“Psychology can help better than any class you take mainly because it helps you understand other human beings and helps you understand why humans behave or think the way they do and in that case helps you get along. I think it helps you navigate the world better then with no knowledge.”

Psychology student Martina Black (‘18) believes students should sign up for the class.

“Psychology provides a lot of skills and helps you learn about other people,” the senior says. “Mr. Hood is a great teacher and is very good at using real world experiences to relay the topic of the week. It also provides understanding so you can be compassionate which I believe is a good quality to have.”

Christian Brothers’ also offers an AP Psychology program taught by Mr. Vince Leporini for the students who like a more fast paced, rigorous course of the same subject.

“The AP classes dives deeper into the same topics,” Mr. Leporini says. “Mr. Hood’s class does a great job introducing the classes if you are interested in specific subtopics like neuroscience, disorders or childhood development — we go much deeper into [them].”

 If psychology topics hit too close to home but you still want a class that teaches life skills, Personal Finance taught by Mr. Cox would be an excellent elective to pursue.

“This is a class that becomes relevant to students immediately after graduating,” Mr. Cox says. “This a class that will help them next week, next month, next year and move on in their life. Senior year is when the class is most relevant and will have the greatest impact.”

This class is incredibly beneficial, especially for seniors because Mr. Cox helps his students understand the financial costs within their future college city so they can prepare for life ahead.

“One of the biggest things I teach is how to write a budget and know what you are going to have to spend money on such as understanding how much utilities cost or rent. We do research on these things even in the area they are going to be attending college so they can have an idea.”

Mr. Cox offered up an example of the impact of his class.

“I have students who come back and tell me when they are visiting that they are using the skills they learned in my class in their lives.”

If you missed the opportunity to take the class, talk to Mr. Cox about taking a crash course before you leave CB or you can always Google a personal finance lesson.

For some students, being cooped up in a classroom is not the environment that is ideal of them to get work done. In this case, there are electives that inspire hands on experience with lesson plans. An introduction into this style of learning comes from the Leadership class here at CB, which involves creating fun projects and notes that demonstrate how to be a confident leader.

Leadership and Statistics teacher Mrs. Rose Ann Holmes expanded on what to expect from the class and also gave advice for those considering the course.

“There are a bunch of different levels to the class,” she says. “One is there is a weekly leadership theme, like trust and influence. You take notes, are given some vocabulary and participate in some activities. You do get tested on those topics.”

Each semester of the class, students participate in activities throughout the school to gain credit for the course but also to show school pride.

“There are optional opportunities because the idea of leadership class is you are as active as possible on this campus. You can not get an ‘A’ without 35 opportunities,” she says. “And then each person gets at least one committee, that could be [like] upper division ball chair, and you have a committee under you and together they plan the event.”

Kendall Ralph (’18) explained her experience with the class and benefits it gave her, like an increase in her school spirit and newfound leadership skills.

I found it to be a really fun class because I definitely got more experiences than expected, I got to be a part of more things. I was specifically the sports representative so I got to make a lot of the posters.”

As the head of sports, Kendall was put in charge of informing the CB community about sporting events posters made by the leadership class spread throughout the school.

“My favorite poster we did was the ‘Bleed Blue’ poster and we did it in spray paint and actually made it bleed blue. It’s really nice because you get to know you were a part of making someone happen.”

Mrs. Holmes also shared an insight on the world of statistics for students you really enjoy math and are interested in a field of “law, research, science and sports”.

“It’s the one applied mathematics course offered besides, personal finance at Christian Brothers. If you are going to be a lawyer, lawyers use statistics to prove their cases. Research scientists use statistics to help us study medicine.”

If media and travel seem more appealing than working directly with the community or learning in a classroom, then working with KBFT through Sports Broadcasting is the elective fit for you. Sports broadcasting, which is a newer elective, focuses a lot of its curriculum on work and jobs needed to be done outside the classroom and is taught by Mr. Brendan Hogan ’95 and Mr. Dave Anderson ’07. The class started as a live sports broadcasting club before transforming into a personal promotion source for the athletic department for our sports. Now the class is transforming into adding a focus on entertainment during the game such as playing commercials about the school during the half.

“Sports broadcasting is different from Broadcast Journalism. In Broadcast Journalism you have to learn a how to tell a story and be accurate,” Mr. Hogan says. “The skills to get the job done are quicker to get. It’s a class for kids to take with zero experience and still find a place and job to do.”

During the course, each student is assigned a sport team that they follow during their season. The students go to a few of the games to provide pictures weekly updates for their blog.

“The pictures and write ups [the students create] build a whole narrative of the whole season,” Mr. Hogan says.

This class does provide actual jobs in the real world even some for college students.

Jake Mellor ‘17 went to Santa Clara [and] just got a job working in their sport broadcasting department as a computer science major,” Mr. Hogan says. “He was in the class when it was a club and the first year it was a class. The interviewer said that he was by far the most qualified person for the job.”

Claire Jahns (’18), a current student of the course, elaborated on the benefits of taking sports broadcasting here at Christian Brothers,

“I would say definitely take the class because it really helps with leadership skills, and if you’re interested in sports but don’t want to actually participate, this class will definitely fulfill that desire.”

Hopefully after reading this article, the decision of course planning does not seem like such a frightening task. Remember that when choosing an elective to pick something you are interested in.

“When you are interested in something it’s fun and doesn’t seem like it’s such a challenge,” Mr. Hood says.

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