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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

    Gonzaga course selection process ends March 17

    Ms.+Maureen+McLaughlin+helps+a+freshman+register+for+classes.+Photo+taken+by+Luke+McDermott+%2F+Photo+II
    Ms. Maureen McLaughlin helps a freshman register for classes. Photo taken by Luke McDermott / Photo II

    Course selection closes in two days on March 17. Juniors, sophomores and freshmen reading this should do everything they can to submit their course selection as soon as possible.

    Gonzaga course selection is a month-long process that guarantees that every rising student has a course load that is uniquely loaded to fit their interests and assures their success.

    “It started in mid January, right with our honors and AP application process that ran through early February, and each department has a slightly different process, but it’s communicated by the department and by me to all students via email and WZAG,” said Mr. John Kilroy who has to approve the courses that students want to take.

    More specifically, Mr. Kilroy makes sure that each student has the option to take each class that they have been approved for by their teachers. For example, if someone is approved to take AP Language and Composition, the department tells Mr. Kilroy, and Mr. Kilroy makes sure that the option then appears for the student.

    “We have a spreadsheet template, and so departments work on each grade level to process all those applications, which is a ton of work, so I’m really grateful to each academic department for everything that goes into it,” Mr. Kilroy said. “And then right after President’s Day, we began course selection, and students go in and they choose the courses via the academic department, and they see what’s available to them and sign up for the right amount of classes.”

    Every year, students must take a religion, English, math and social studies course. For at least three years, students take a science class and a language class as well in order to meet their graduation requirements. Finally, after a student takes care of their mandates, they are able to start filling in their available periods with electives that interest them. This is especially true for seniors who have already filled their required courses and now have an abundance of freedom.

    “By senior year, you could be at a place where you only have to take four specific courses, and then you still have to take a minimum of six, so that’s when you see students take two social studies classes. […] Seniors really see more and more choice, and that’s really helpful as you get more and more ready to head off to college,” Mr. Kilroy said.

    While all students get the freedom to some extent of choosing their own course loads, a big part of the process is to make sure that students are up to the level of challenge that the classes provide.

    “The role of the application and approval process is really to make sure that students are at the right level to succeed. […]we want to make sure you’re prepared for what’s coming up. [..] It’s the teachers as experts in the area who are trying to help you figure out where the best fit is for you by either approving you or not,” Mr. Kilroy said.

    While it comes down to the individual departments to actually approve the students for certain classes, the decision of what classes to take comes down to the students, and that is where Mr. Kilroy provides extra help.

    “Students stop by and meet with me for advice or you know, to say, ‘Hey, this is what I’m hoping to do. What do you think?’ And I’m glad to do that. Those are really great conversations because it’s really interesting just to hear an individual student’s interests,” Mr. Kilroy said.

    Mr. Kilroy and the counseling department make it as easy as possible for students to succeed by clearly laying out their options for them and having long in depth conversations. Afterwards, the choices are laid out for students and they are able to proceed in whatever direction they want.

    “Gonzaga has always made the course selection process easy, as I am able to sign up for classes online and understand what I have qualified for. My counselor has also been a great asset helping me plan out a challenging yet rewarding course load,” stated rising junior Caleb Linn.

    This year students had an opportunity to explore their interests and to view their options at the the new electives fair, which was organized by Mr. Kilroy and the chairs of the department.

    “It was this suggestion from teachers that was brought to our Academic Council, which I thought was a great idea and then [we] worked with some of those teachers to put it together. […] It was Gonzaga’s faculty showing that they really care about their subjects and want to let the students know what’s out there,” Mr. Kilroy said.

    The electives fair was able to show off classes to students in a brand new way, as well as introduce a few new classes and changes. For example, rising juniors will be able to take semester-long English electives next year which focus on. In addition to this, newer classes like Ms. Caitlin Farley’s Anatomy and Physiology class as well as Mr. Paul Hamm’s Forensic Science Class were highlighted. The fair also facilitated an increase in applications to the arts programs at Gonzaga. Mrs. Jenni Dunn clearly showed the date for auditions into the Gonzaga Choir Program. Also, the fair showed off two of Gonzaga’s most rapidly growing arts programs; photography and WZAG have been on the rise in recent years.

    “I think that has something to do with the world and how we consume media and video. I think they’re both great classes too. But you know, I think there’s also something where students come into Gonzaga with an interest in that are able to, you know, connect with that material in the classroom,” Mr. Kilroy said.

    Course selection ends on March 17, and at that point we will know how the electives fair influenced students’ opinions and goals. Students will know and be able to get excited for the classes they get to take next year; and, the hard work of Mr. Kilroy, the department heads, and the counseling department will all be seen and appreciated by students, teachers and parents alike.

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