Reduce mandatory minors


Noah Kassell-Yung, Sports Editor

In order to graduate Masters you must complete three mandatory minors which, for the most part, are taken through sophomore and junior year. These courses include World Religions, Health, and Public Speaking. All three of these have their value within the curriculum at Masters, however, doubling up two of these three courses for junior year is poor placement for the classes. Furthermore, the Health class curriculum shares a lot in common with the ninth grade seminar class, which for educational purposes can be redundant.

As freshmen, students are required to take a year long minor called Ninth Grade Seminar. This class covers a myriad of topics, including a health unit. Sophomore year, world religions is required, where students have the opportunity to learn about either eastern, western, or both. And finally, junior year, both health and public speaking are required.

Junior year is notoriously the most challenging and stressful year for students. Students are having to juggle the increased workload along with the additional stress of the college process. To have two mandatory minors that require a certain amount of homework is slightly unrealistic due to already mounting pressure; additionally they also take up free periods. Both these classes have their benefits and provide useful teachings to students. Public speaking helps students practice using their voice through speeches and discussions. The class fits perfectly into the Masters Harkness model. Health class addresses mental, physical and sexual health. The issue with the health class was that it felt eerily similar to content students were taught freshman year in the health section of ninth grade seminar. While some of the content taught junior year was for a more mature class, similarities were still prevalent. For example, students had the same condom lesson in both years. 

As someone who has struggled at times in participation, public speaking has definitely been beneficial to me. However in some ways it feels like the tools I’ve learned from public speaking are coming too late. 

Public speaking should be paired alongside religions as mandatory minors during sophomore year. Leaving junior year with only one mandatory minor will free up more time for students and take away a little bit of stress in an extremely stressful year. More time to study and do homework for major classes would also be beneficial for grades. Furthermore, for students that struggle with participation and public speaking, the class could provide them with the tools at an earlier grade so that they could have more time to apply them.

Health class is a requirement for graduation and ninth grade seminar is not, which could be a possible explanation for why some content is taught twice. There are definitely similarities between the ninth grade seminar portion and the junior year class as content is scaled for developmental appropriateness. The 11th grade health class also goes into details about specific mental disorders while the ninth grade class spends a significant amount of time focusing on emotional intelligence and ways to maintain a good mental health.