What Time is It? Course Selections!

Gerd Altmann

In a flurry of papers and signatures, bright and early on February 28, course selections were underway at AOSE.

During first period, freshmen reported to the Study Hall, sophomores reported to the Library, and juniors reported to the Panther Den. Teachers, primed with short overviews of their respective course offerings, circulated through each location. Seniors, on the other hand, did not have to select courses for another year at AOSE! They were elsewhere, happily planning their upcoming Senior Gala & Gift Auction.

The Academy of Saint Elizabeth has a rich history of academic excellence, and the course offerings for the 2024-2025 school reflect new changes.

Students were excited to learn that the technology credit was changed to 21st Century Skills & Careers. A timely replacement for the Academy’s 2-semester Technology requirement, this new branch of study will include many classes, old and new, that will bring Academy students into the new digital and fast-paced era.

While this new 21st Century Skills & Careers center of study was one of the most surprising aspects of this year’s course selections, there was also a host of new course offerings. For example, new classes such as Microeconomics, a University Now course through Saint Elizabeth University, will offer girls a deeper understanding of supply and demand and real-world application of production possibility and consumer confidence. Other new class offerings, such as Fundamentals of Business and Introduction to Computer Programming, will provide students confidence and explore interests in the prospective subjects.

As always, the Theology Department at AOSE is robust. Deacon Pete vividly described the University Now class, New Testament, as an elevated course that studies the Scriptures and themes such as passion, salvation, or end times. It is essentially a scholarly class with research and insight into the time of Jesus.

STEM offerings, new and old, were abundant during the course preview. Dr. Sharma, brightening everyone’s day, came to present her Forensic Science class with a magnifying glass. Mrs. Ameres’ assortment of STEM offerings, such as AP Psychology, AP Environmental Science, and Introduction to Criminal Justice, wowed the students. Assistant Principal Mrs. Corvo enthusiastically presented health studies such as Anatomy & Physiology I and II, as well as Genetics & Biotechnology. Mrs. Sardana shed light on the Introduction to Engineering & Design Thinking course. In mathematics, Dr. Altonjy took the floor with a cheerful “Good morning,” before urging students to consider taking Financial Literacy (a quite necessary course), falling under the new 21st Century Skills & Careers requirement.

Stepping into new territory, Choir Director, Ms. Carroll introduced a music class called Music Fundamentals and Performance. The Academy has not had a music class or program in years, so it was interesting to hear about this class. It is set to be a unique study of music theory and performance techniques. Of course, the other current arts courses will run again, such as Ms. Rovayo’s Art I, Art II, and Portfolio classes. Mrs. Denuto, coming prepared with past students’ final projects— photography books— explained the exciting and opportunity-filled courses such as Digital Photography and Advanced Digital Photography. And Ms. Christin, one of AOSE’s beloved Dance Instructors took the floor with her usual gusto, explaining the Dance semester course. She stressed that no prior dance experience was needed, quipping that “that’s her job” to elevate girls’ passions and welcome everyone, regardless of experience level! That is one of the most exciting and inviting aspects of AOSE’s elective options, especially within the Arts Department. There is no prior experience needed to join the beginner-level courses, but there are also many opportunities to continue your passions. Many courses, like Ms. Rovayo’s Advanced Art course, offer full-year courses at more elevated levels.

Turning over to Social Studies, the options for more AP and University Now offerings are abundant. For example, Mr. Jacobs’ exciting and unique class, The Decades, is a University Now course covering different aspects of popular cultural and societal change from the 1940s to the present. In a similar way to the New Testament course, The Decades covers topics by themes, and Mr. Jacbos even hinted at the theme of high school throughout the decades, as many seniors enjoy taking the course! Mr Weinstein, Mr. Gillespie, and Mr. Yarnall’s offerings such as University Now Law and Contemporary Society, AP Human Geography, and a University Now course called Freedom, Power, and Political Crises—respectively— were exciting and immersive as well. Another new class offering, Latin & The Classics, presented by Latin teacher, Ms. Turner, will blend ancient cultures with the Latin language.

Finally, a culmination of the very theme of the Course Selection came from the three teachers at the end. Mrs. Brady’s Digital Publishing class, which edits AOSE’s SEAL (Saint Elizabeth Arts and Literature) magazine, functions like an authentic publication staff, offering students real-life experiences and teamwork. Mr. Ziaya’s Visual Communication & Web Design course functions in a similar capacity, enabling students to gain a more discerning eye for visual media and digital website layouts, culminating in a final project of a personal portfolio website. And, finally, Señora Braulio’s Conversational Spanish course is a very modern course for students interested in the Spanish language and culture, learning common phrases and customs, enabling them as they leave the Academy to interact with others in a new way.

AOSE indubitably prides itself on female empowerment, and the course offerings were not lacking in the slightest. With a range of courses dedicated to curious students, the 2024-2025 courses undoubtedly made enormously positive strides to cater further to students’ academic inclinations, helping them to succeed as they make their way to the college world.

One of the most exciting moments for the junior class came near the end, when a rousing, albeit off-key, rendition of “Happy Birthday” caught fire as Mr. Weinstein took the floor. In true Weinstein fashion, he humorously joked, “I’m not changing your grades!” Clearly, all the teachers care about their students and take immense pride in their respective subjects. That excitement, positivity, and opportunity for academic advancement is what makes Course Selections so exciting and upbeat!

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