Students wrestle with accepting graduation requirements


Harsh Singh

He said it was one of the reasons he hated B days. It was a class he took or else he wouldn’t be able to graduate.

When junior Alp Kahveci took art his sophomore year, he loved the teacher but said he only took the class to fulfill his fine art credit requirement. Kahveci made it through the class, but said he believes students should only have to complete credit requirement for classes which will help them in their future careers.

“Yes, a variety of classes make a student well-rounded and experience many things,” Kahveci said. “But I believe its better if an individual participates in something he genuinely likes instead of being in a class he really doesn’t like.”
Going with his beliefs against credit requirements, Kahveci also said Personal Finance shouldn’t be a required class. He said some students take Personal Finance just to get through it and don’t actually gain any knowledge about the topic.
However, Stacy Elsbury, personal finance teacher at RBHS, said the class is necessary to take because students learn a wide variety of methods to use money which will help them in the future.
“I think it is imperative for everyone to take a personal finance class because unlike most classes which are geared toward post-secondary aspirations, personal finance is something students are or will be doing in the very near future,” Elsbury said. “This generation and the generations to come have less margin for error with their finances than my generation or generations past have had. Students will continue to have Social Security and Medicare deducted from their paychecks but won’t have nearly (if any) of the financial benefits from those programs that the elderly do today.”
Just like personal finance, students also have to earn three science credits in high school to graduate. Freshman Keerthivaas Premkumar said the science credits shouldn’t be required because if someone is doing something like journalism in the future, science almost becomes irrelevant.
“I have already decided to study law in the future,” Premkumar said. “However, with all these credit requirements you have to fill, I can’t take any classes related to my future career because my schedule is overwhelmed with other things.”

Photo by Maribeth Eiken
Melissa Wessel, department chair of science at RBHS, said science is everywhere, so it is necessary for someone to at least learn the fundamental basics of science. She said the essentials of science will show up many times in a student’s future.
“One of our missions as a comprehensive high school is to prepare for life outside of high school,” Wessel said. “All of our students will be voters and one of our many jobs is to make sure you are educated about a wide-arrange of topics so you can be informed voters. Much of life outside of school is about science. How to grow a garden, how to take care of your health, etc.”
The district requires a student to participate in a wide range of classes to prepare them for the world outside of school Wessel said. Students need to experience learning in different subject to gain wisdom. Elsbury said she would love if every student could take classes they want.
At the same time, she said her age and the perceived wisdom that is supposed to come along with it tells her students do need to learn things that they may think isn’t valuable at that time.
“I would hate for students to realize they need to learn about personal finance when they are in the throes of filing for bankruptcy and piling up the debt,” Elsbury said. “I always poll my students at the beginning of the semester and ask who wants to learn about personal finance. I am ecstatic if I have two students total that say they are interested. By the end of the semester, students overwhelmingly share that they learned some useful information and they feel better equipped to be financially independent.”
By Harsh Singh