Opinion: Lost Opportunities


WSPN’s Caterina Tomassini discusses the disadvantages of WHS’ Fine Arts requirement.

For some people, the idea of gym class makes them want to hide in a corner. The thought of having to change into smelly gym clothes, being covered in sweat and gasping for breath can be atrocious. Similarly, math equations haunt some students in their sleep while for others, English essays seem to be the most dreadful task.

For others, that dread comes from having to draw a self-portrait in art class or strum a guitar in music class.

At WHS, students are required to complete two semesters of fine arts in order to graduate. A few of the courses offered include acting, photography, drawing and chorus. Many students highly recommend these classes, as they are said to be enjoyable and even relaxing. However, such classes do not equal fun for everyone.

When third grade rolled around and I was required to play the recorder, I hated it. I was the kid in the back of the room who moved my fingers but never actually blew into the instrument. A few years later in middle school art class, I put minimal effort into my self-portrait, and I never completed a woodworking assignment. Clearly, fine arts aren’t my cup of tea.

That leads me to this question: how come, even after being required to take fine arts throughout middle school, WHS students have to repeat these classes in order to graduate? It’s understandable that the school wants to expand our interests, but we should be able to choose which classes we want to explore.

The fine arts requirement prevents students from exploring new classes. Instead of learning about topics that interest us, we’re forced to complete a class that we’ll likely put little effort into and get nothing out of. Rather than digging into criminal science in forensics class, we might be bored in guitar class. Instead of discovering how the stock market works, we could be dumped in a metalworks class where we craft jewelry that we may not love.

Additionally, classes can only accommodate a set number of participants, so once a class is full, students are pushed out. As a result, some are left without an elective. The problem is that courses are being filled with people who take the class solely for the requirement. Unfortunately, students who are truly interested in the class may not have the chance to take it.

I have a friend who, when electives were introduced in eighth grade, was stoked to take a drawing class. However, when our schedules were given to us, she was devastated to find a number of free periods in place of drawing class.

On the other hand, I have a friend who knew she wasn’t interested in the fine arts but decided to sign up as a freshman in order to complete the requirement before becoming an upperclassman. Funny enough, she ended up taking drawing while my other friend drowned in jealousy.

The bottom line is that the fine arts aren’t for everybody. They should absolutely be available, but not taking them should also be an option. If students are interested in pursuing a fine art, then they should be more than welcome to. However, students who would like to develop their passion in a different course shouldn’t be held back by a required elective.

Opinion articles written by staff members represent their personal views. The opinions expressed do not necessarily represent WSPN as a publication.