The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The student news site of George Rogers Clark High School

Smoke Signals Student Media

The Fundamentals: Basic classes students need

Zach Ross

School can sometimes seem like a drag with work, complicated subject matter, and immobility for seven hours everyday. However, there are some classes that will be beneficial to both a student’s future and to make their school day more enjoyable. While core classes are extremely important, here are some other classes that are proven to be valuable.

Art Classes

Like core classes, art classes are some of the most important classes a student can take. Visual arts, music, and theatrical arts are just some instances of classes that could be offered at a school. Not only are art classes fun, but they help students enable the critical thinking parts of their brain. Being able to engage in creativity can influence how students tackle problem solving and general schoolwork. 

Having fundamental art classes in the school system has many benefits, including improved writing achievement, reduced disciplinary problems, more student engagement, improved college aspirations, and can even help standardized test scores. So while art class may not be everyone’s cup of tea, even a simple Art 1 class can have many long term benefits.

Physical Education

Approximately 20% of high school students in the United States are classified as overweight or obese, as of 2020 (according to the CDC). One contributor to this is a lack of physical activity. Students are expected to have a total of 30 minutes of physical activity or exercise a day, and some elementary schools across the country only have PE for 45 minutes a week. 

While playing wiffle ball in the school’s gymnasium may not seem like an enjoyable time for everyone, physical activity can help monitor weight, improve brain health, reduce the risk of disease, and even raise dopamine levels. With the inclusion of adamant PE classes in a school, a student can become happier while making themselves healthier.

Health and Sex Education

While PE is vitally important for kids to work exercise into their daily regime, a basic understanding of health and the importance of keeping yourself healthy is vital to students of all ages. From learning about the different types of health (mental, emotional, environmental, physical, spiritual, social) to learning the risks of emitting toxins into the body through alcohol, drugs, and even junk food should all be taught to students across the board.

Additionally, a comprehensive sex education (CSE) should be taught to students, starting as early as middle school. While some parents and even teachers are uncomfortable sharing the topic with students, it is a class that needs to be re-evaluated within our public school systems. CSE explores the ideas of staying safe through puberty and the development of hormones. 

As well, an expansive and well taught curriculum on CSE helps students understand many aspects of life that they will have to face later down the road. Getting a jumpstart on this education helps students understand the basics. Moreover, an effective CSE has proven to show a decrease in teenage pregnancy, teenage sexual activities, and even homophobic harassment. 

True, a CSE may be uncomfortable but it is just as important as a regular health class. Education cannot be limited to understanding math, literature, and history. It should also include educating students on how to be healthy physically, emotionally, mentally, environmentally, spiritually, socially, and sexually. 

Life Skill Classes

While the typical Home Ec classes have mostly been abolished in America, new classes that teach kids how to cook, sew, raise kids, balance checks, and basically survive on their own have sprouted. These classes are not ones that should be overlooked when it comes to important classes. 

With the digital age being at its peak, many believe that these basic life skills are going to become more obsolete and unnecessary. However, these skills are vital to survival in the real world. What happens if student debt catches up and you can’t just go buy McDonald’s for every meal? Learning how to cook for yourself or raise a child or sew a button are simple things that a student should be taught. 

Foreign Language Classes

It seems that a school day can be compromised by being constricted to a classroom. With a foreign language class, students are instantly exposed to cultures that they otherwise may have never been introduced to. With some languages like Spanish, French, and Mandarin becoming widespread languages, taking these classes will turn out to be helpful in the long run. 

Whether a student is planning on pursuing a career in advertising or acting, foreign language classes will be a great stepping stone into a world of networking and communicating with people of other cultures. As well, starting kids in foreign language classes as soon as they get to school, as introducing this subject matter will be more easily retained to a developing mind. 

While most of America still predominantly speaks English, there are some languages that are becoming more widespread. It is better to start learning a language now. Otherwise, you may get lost in translation.


Core classes like science, language arts, math, and social studies are obviously some of the most important classes anyone can take. However, with the addition of these necessary classes in a student’s schedule, a level of fundamental learning will join their overall educational journey. 

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About the Contributor
Zach Ross
Zach Ross, Features Editor
Once upon a time, a baby was introduced into the world. Fast forward 17 years, and you may find that this baby has grown into being a very talented, amazing, and awesome Features Editor. That baby grew up to be Zach Ross. In those 17 years of life, Zach has experienced the joys of dinosaurs, Broadway, Backyardigans, and Smoke Signals. And though he was once a baby, uncertain of the world ahead of him, he found a signal in the smoke and everything became clear. With every good story, there is a beginning and an end. The beginning was birth, and the end is Smoke Signals.

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