by Hena Hussain ‘20
In order to graduate high school, MCPS has a set number of credits required for each student, including fine arts, technology, and physical education. As students make decisions about their schedules for each upcoming school year, they have many factors to consider, such as teacher recommendations, the difficulty of each class, and the interests they want to pursue beyond high school. However, the one credit that ends up causing a surprising amount of stress for students is health class.
Health is usually taken in 10th grade over the course of one semester. If they can’t take it in 10th grade, students can also opt to take health over the summer for three hundred dollars, or in 11th or 12th grade. According to MCPS, the purpose of health class is to “learn factual information and develop lifetime skills in understanding mental health; tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs; personal and consumer health; and other topics of importance.”
Unfortunately, while the idea of this class is worthwhile, its execution makes the course a burden rather than a benefit. Students who take health say that they end up doing pointless activities for some of the class, but end up doing nothing much of the time, removing any value the course might have to offer.
“We probably waste 10 to 15 minutes at the beginning of class just on warm ups and then the rest of the class is busy work that doesn’t really serve a purpose because we already know what we are being taught,” said a student currently taking health who wished to remain anonymous.
In addition to its irrelevant curriculum, health also creates an unnecessary inconvenience for students who already have their schedules filled. Many students try to select their courses in order to fulfill their credits or to pursue their interests, which becomes more difficult when they have to make space for health in their schedules as well. This forces students who simply have no time for health during the school year to take it over the summer and spend unnecessary time and money.
Students shouldn’t be forced to take a class that doesn’t provide them with useful education. Since students at Sherwood are encouraged to take classes that are both challenging and teach skills that will aid in one’s future career, it makes no sense that health is currently a required credit. As a half-year class, health not only ends up being an inconvenience to fit in one’s schedule, it also detracts students from classes that will actually benefit them in the future.