CHS offers journalism course as an elective

By Suzie Winsett Walton, Special to the Eagle
Posted 1/24/17

When students are given the choice to take an elective class that encourages critical thinking and writing, those students thrive. Just ask the journalism students at Cordova High School (CHS).

During the 2016-17 school year, CHS principal Kathy …

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CHS offers journalism course as an elective

Posted

When students are given the choice to take an elective class that encourages critical thinking and writing, those students thrive. Just ask the journalism students at Cordova High School (CHS).

During the 2016-17 school year, CHS principal Kathy Vintson decided to offer her students the journalism course as an elective that, according to Vintson, has not been available for students since she has been principal.

“Our students take numerous electives during their four years of high school,” Vintson said. “My goal is to offer them electives that have meaning, provide opportunities for exploration, and better prepare these students for college, career, and/or life.”

And, more than 50 students are taking advantage of this new elective in journalism. Some chose this course as their elective while others were just placed in the class to fulfill schedule requirements. However, both, those who chose the class as well as those who were placed in the class, agree that they are benefiting from such a challenging elective.

Trent Gilmore, who plans to pursue a degree in political science and forensic criminology after high school, had planned to take psychology as an elective then changed his mind and enrolled in journalism.

“I thought journalism and politics would complement each other with the class covering many discussion points that would help me later,” he said.

Like Gilmore, Brianna Naramore also chose journalism as her elective even though the class turned out to be different than what she expected. “I didn’t realize we would learn so much about the news in journalism,” she said. “I thought it would just be a lot of writing.”

Even though Naramore said she does not like writing, she still chose a writing course she thought would prepare her for her future college classes. “I was wrong about all the writing — there is and will be some writing,” she said. “But, I was right about the college preparation in this elective. I think this class is giving me an advantage over many other students because so much about research, balance, writing, debate, and analysis crosses into my college class I am taking while I’m in high school.”

Kiley Kilpatrick, who did not choose the class, agrees with Naramore that she is learning more in journalism than she expected.

“I only took this class because it fit the time slot in my schedule,” Kilpatrick said. “But I have definitely learned so much from this class even if it has been a lot of work. It’s pretty cool to be involved with the news and know what’s going on around us. I honestly wouldn’t have read and watched so much news if I had not been in this class so I’m glad this elective was chosen for me.”

Zac Bozeman, who said he was not even aware a journalism class was an option, agrees he will have an advantage since taking the journalism class. “We are learning about the importance of facts and making sure facts are accurate. We are also learning how to write and how to make sure that writing is balanced; in journalism there is more than just your opinion and your side,” Bozeman added. Both Bozeman and Gilmore agreed that they have learned “you better know both sides of an issue and don’t base information just on your opinion,” Gilmore said. “I feel like having this class is helping me identify and address logical fallacies and deduce certain aspects of the news.”

Bozeman said, “The journalism class has helped me think more critically, which I think will help me beyond high school when I pursue a degree in business and political science, maybe even law school.”

The journalism class may be in its first year, but Vintson said as long as the teacher unit is available, the course will be offered again next year. She said, “Journalism teaches critical thinking and writing skills, as well as communication skills. This can only lead to a product of better prepared students for college and career and most importantly, better citizens.”