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The Bayhawk Bearer

The Bayhawk Bearer

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Memorial Day 2024
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Senior Perspective: Choosing Classes

Course selection at BHS is rapidly approaching for juniors, sophomores, freshmen, and incoming 8th graders. Deciding your schedule according to your future plans or current interests can be a daunting process, especially if you are not aware of the insider perspectives. As outgoing seniors—BHexperts, one might say—here are our two-cents regarding the best classes to take at BHS:

 

Comparative Religions (sm)

Social Studies

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Comparative Religions is a class where you have the opportunity to learn the basics of several of the most-practiced religions around the world and how they differ. You’re able to look at the different aspect of religions, such as religious texts and religious rituals and at the end of the class, you choose a religon-related topic to dive more deeply into. Topics can be anything from analyzing current events to looking at religious themes in media. Overall, Comparative Religions is a wonderful class for anyone interested in looking at how various people practice faith.

 

AP Government and Politics (yr)

Social Studies, Satisfies the Civic Requirement

11th, 12th

AP Gov is not like most social studies courses—rather than focusing on the past, it brings more awareness to today’s America—specifically, politics, governmental structure, and the constitution. While most seniors and juniors take civics to satisfy their civics requirement, AP Gov may be a better choice for those especially interested in learning more in-depth about American government. AP Gov provides more rigor, is more in depth, and is year-long rather than the semester-long civics. Since it’s an AP class, there is outside homework which can range from 30 minutes to an hour per class and content can be rigorous at times. However this class is completely manageable if you do the homework and memorize the required Supreme Court Cases, making it an excellent AP class to take even while taking other AP classes. So, if you’ve every asked yourself, “can I constitutionally burn the American Flag?” (yes), “can states place a statue of the Ten Commandments outside of its legislative building?” (yes), or “can public schools conduct religious prayers over morning announcements?” (no), this would be an excellent class to take.

 

AP Psychology (yr)

Social Studies

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

AP Psych is one of the first AP classes anyone can take at BHS. This doesn’t mean it’s a walk in the park, though. In this class, you learn about important psychologists and different theories of psychology, some accurate and some less-than-accurate. Of course, students are always made aware of when psychological theories have been disproven, or when the data is misleading. AP Psych is a class with about 30 minutes to an hour of homework per class. However, the class does a great job of making sure you know the material, and is also a great intro to AP due to the amount of support the class offers. AP Psych is a must-take for anyone interested in the mind and its development.

 

Digital Art (sm)

CTE or Art, prerequisite: Drawing 1

10th, 11th, 12th

For anyone artsy who wants to explore past a paper canvas, Digital Art is a great class to take. It allows you a taste of what it would be like to have a job in the art/animation industry, but also jobs less directly related to drawing, like live-action films. Throughout the class, students are given various design briefs where they are prompted to come up with things like characters, props, and even landscapes. Digital Art is a wonderful class to take for anyone interested in exploring related industries, or simply flexing their drawing muscles.

 

T-Yearbook (yr)

CTE or Arts 

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

Yearbook is a unique class. It provides you concrete skills like sports photography, design, and proficiency in the spread layout program used, Jostens. But also, it gives you the opportunity to learn soft skills you may not learn in other classes at BHS like leadership, commitment, and group collaboration. However, the best part of Yearbook is the opportunity for a voice in the creation of the yearbook. Staff on the yearbook have a massive role in the direction of the book every year, from the colors, fonts, designs, what content goes in the yearbook, the cover, and overall quality of the book. It’s also a great way to get involved in the school community (and looks great on college applications). So, if you want to improve these skills, have ideas on how you can improve the yearbook, and want to be more involved, this would be a fantastic class to take.

 

T-AP Computer Science A (yr)

CTE, Science, or Math

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

In AP Computer Science, you learn rudimentary coding in Java like using loops, arrays, and classes. However, that is not why you should take this course. Learning to code, though for some will be a useful career skill, for most of us, will be useless after we take the exam. The greatest benefit that AP Computer Science brings is the ability to look at the world through a different lens. Coding teaches you not only how computer software works, but also a unique approach to solving problems. You learn to take a problem that you have limited tools to solve, but to still persist and work with those tools to design a solution. This class is unique because though a group of students may be given the same end goal, each student can come up with an entirely unique and creative way to reach that goal. The workload for AP Computer Science is completely manageable for anyone, with little to no homework most nights, making it an excellent AP class for those willing to try one for the first time or as a supplementary to other AP classes. So, if you are thinking about a career in computer science or are willing to try something new, this would make an excellent class.

 

AP English Literature and Composition (yr)

English

11th, 12th

AP Lit is one of two AP English classes offered at BHS. Typically it’s taken second. In this class, you read and analyze several books for commentary on the human experience, and through this process you learn to more easily see beneath the layers of literature. On top of books, AP Lit students also look at poetry and how it also comments on the human experience, but in a different way than standard writing. In-class time is spent with table-group and whole-class discussions that can help you better understand the material than if you were engaging with it alone. This is an AP class, so it is more intensive than the average English class and involves several in- and out-of-class essays and homework after almost every class. However, don’t let this deter you. AP Lit is a thoroughly engaging class that helps to develop critical thinking and analytic skills that would be well worth anyone’s time to take.

 

AP English Language and Composition (yr)

English

11th, 12th

AP Lang is the most useful English class you will ever take at BHS. You learn how to use commas, what a verb is, and how to avoid run-on sentences, but also more advanced skills like persuasion, presentation abilities, and effective writing. Unlike English 101, English 201, and AP Lit, AP Lang focuses on short writings like newspaper articles and essays rather than novels. In this way, AP Lang is more applicable to everyday writing scenarios where you will likely need to know how to persuade and educate people in your writing effectively. However, the most useful skill you will learn is not one you will get in any other class at BHS—how to present engagingly. In AP Lang at BHS, you present a 40 minute “protest project presentation” to the class accompanied with bringing awareness of your issue to the community. Unlike other high school presentations, this one requires more research, expertise, charisma, and effort. Though this seems daunting, and it certainly is, it is worth the knowledge and confidence it will bring to your future presentations. The workload is reasonably heavy with daily homework ranging from 30 minutes to an hour and around 5-6 essays sprinkled throughout the year. However, it is completely doable for those who have a little bit of work ethic even while taking other AP classes. Overall, while AP Lang is one of the harder classes at BHS, the pay-off is certainly worth it, especially for those choosing to continue their academic career after high school.

 

German (yr)

World Language

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

There are four levels of German courses and an AP class. In German, students learn German grammatical structures and various aspects of German culture and history. Occasionally, students do short presentations on topics related to the German language or Germany, and sometimes read fairytales. German a great class to take for anyone interested in learning German, or visiting Germany. German also has an exchange program with a partner school in Munich. Every two years, students have the opportunity to go overseas as part of an exchange program (however, the future of that specific program is currently in question).

 

French (yr)

World Language

9th, 10th, 11th, 12th

French is one of the most spoken languages on the globe. Its 350 million speakers live anywhere from Canada and France to even places like Switzerland, Belgium, Algeria, Madagascar, Cameroon, and Haiti. Its use in the modern world grows every day, making fluency in French increasingly economically viable for many career paths. French 1 and 2 start with basic lessons on counting, pets, and family, with French 3 and 4 building on these skills with more in depth lessons like monuments of Paris, the French Revolutionary War, African stories, and prehistoric caves in France. French at BHS not only focuses on language skills, but also places an emphasis on Francophone cultures around the world, many of which are not often focused on in other classes at BHS. This class would be great for those planning on visiting a French speaking country or those who are interested in the deep richness of culture and history in the Francophone world.

 

For more information, visit these and any other classes at the upcoming course fair or check out the 2024-25 course catalog.

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About the Contributors
Jones Walther
Jones Walther, Editor in Chief
Jones Walther is one of the founders of Bellingham High School's student run newspaper, the Bayhawk Bearer. She and Skyla Otto began planning for the paper in 2021 during their Sophomore year, and when it took off in their Junior year, both of them took up the mantle of Co-Editor in Chief. Jones is an avid cat lover and hopes to pet many cats before she reaches old age.
Skyla Otto
Skyla Otto, Editor in Chief
Skyla Otto is one of the founders of Bellingham High School's student run newspaper, the Bayhawk Bearer. She and Jones Walther began planning for the paper in 2021 during their Sophomore year, and when it took off in their Junior year, both of them took up the mantle of Co-Editor in Chief. Along with her avid participation on the Bayhawk Bearer team, she was also a Co-Editor in Chief for the yearbook for two years.