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S.T.E.M. isn’t everything

Students interested in humanities get left out at South High.

Students+work+in+Piano+class.+Music+and+other+humanities+classes+need+more+attention+at+South+High.+
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S.T.E.M. isn’t everything

Students work in Piano class. Music and other humanities classes need more attention at South High.

Students work in Piano class. Music and other humanities classes need more attention at South High.

Luke Odo

Students work in Piano class. Music and other humanities classes need more attention at South High.

Luke Odo

Luke Odo

Students work in Piano class. Music and other humanities classes need more attention at South High.

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For what feels like forever kids have been encouraged to become a doctor or lawyer instead of what they really want to be, but today this obsession with S.T.E.M. careers has become even more pronounced.

In 2017, President Donald Trump addressed the Department of Education, stating that “My administration will do everything possible to provide our children, especially kids in underserved areas, with access to high-quality education in science, technology, engineering, and math.” President Trump’s recent statement encompasses a nationwide effort to encourage students to pursue S.T.E.M. careers. Being in high school, you have to mold your schedule around your future career path. While this S.T.E.M. emphasis helps create opportunities for some, it is also hurting a lot of students. If the same focus was placed on creating interest and support for the humanities, South  and high schools as a whole would look a lot different.

One shortcoming here at South is the lack of humanities classes. While South has amazing English and social studies programs, there is still room for improvement. Many colleges offer classes on more specific areas of study that South does not have, so students intending to go into many humanities fields are unable to get a full breadth understanding of the opportunities available to them. Ask any student about what careers are available to STEM majors and they could list off the jobs they’ve been encouraged to get since birth because of their high pay, but few can name jobs for humanities majors besides lawyer or teacher.

In a world where we have to decide on our entire future in only four short years of classes that are supposed to help us figure it out, that is really sad. Plus, in a world of growing interconnectedness, it is more and more important to understand other cultures and societies, so it is inexcusable that students at south have extremely limited option in studying other cultures.

Further, the existing classes do not see enough support. This is because students do not know about them. I signed up for AP Art History my junior year, but I was only able to take one semester because so few people signed up. Then, in my senior year, I signed up for African American History and Literature and was completely unable to take it because of too few students who showed interest.

I do not believe that this is a result of a lack of interest, but instead, like many of the issues at South, a lack of awareness within the student body because of inadequate advertisement. I know personally many people who are deeply interested in art history and African American studies, but they didn’t even know about those classes or couldn’t fit them in their schedules because of required S.T.E.M. classes.

More important than any of the logistical impacts of this phenomenon is, perhaps, the effect it has on humanities students. What are the implications of studying at an institution that clearly prioritizes other students over you? Clubs and organizations like students DECA, Hour of Code, Spark!, Mu Alpha Theta, Beta Chi Pi, FBLA, Girls in Engineering, Medical Science Club, Science Olympiad, World Health Organization Club seem to get all of Parkway’s money, time and attention. On the other hand, humanities clubs don’t get near as much fanfare and support from the district, and it’s hard to feel like you’re supported if you’re heavily involved in humanities like Poetry Club, Book Club, Fempowerment, or GSA. It is hard not to feel disenfranchised when I walk into Poetry Club and see only a small showing each meeting, but we all know that 40-plus DECA kids go to New York each year.

Overall, humanities students need more support. With an increased emphasis on these subjects, it will not only increase the number of opportunities available at South, but will also help people find their passion.

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S.T.E.M. isn’t everything