Choosing electives each year can be stressful. There are so many interesting classes to choose from and it can be hard to know which one is right for you. Learning about the activities and projects that are done in each class can be very helpful in making this decision. Students were tasked with naming their favorite electives. A poll of one hundred students shows that students’ top five favorite electives are Concert Band, Everyday Gourmet, Woodworking, Fine Metal Working, and Digital Imaging. 

Concert Band is a favorite among students who learned how to play instruments in elementary school and want to continue to play. The class is taught by Mr. Nicholas O’Sullivan and Mr. Josef Ellis. By taking this class the students improve and build on their skills. Serena Yee, a freshman trumpet player, loves Concert Band because “it just sounds pretty when we come together.” Many of the students enjoy the teamwork aspect of the band. Sophomore Fritz Huggins, who has played the tuba in Concert Band for two years, said that he enjoys band because it is “more involved and more of a commitment.” His hard work has paid off, as he noted that he can “see himself improving throughout” the class From this class, students learn the skills they need to go on to try other more challenging music electives, like Jazz Improv and Music Theory. 

Everyday Gourmet is popular for obvious reasons -- you get to eat in class -- but many students also value being able to work with others. Senior Dylan Verschleiser said, “We collaborate so we know how to cook with people.” Junior Gianna Queli added, “It makes [cooking] more fun.” Under the instruction of Ms. Amy Wartel, the class has already made popcorn and French toast and students are looking forward to making cookies and cake later in the year. The students also enjoy learning about nutrition and measurements used in the kitchen. They can apply these skills at higher level by choosing to take Gourmet Cuisine or International Cuisine.  

Sign Up for Berkeley Heights Newsletter
Our newsletter delivers the local news that you can trust.

In Woodworking, taught by new teacher Mr. Michael Maresca, students learn how to use the provided tools to make creative projects. They are taught how to build many things out of wood, including birdhouses, boxes, and a small boat. Junior Sara Anido liked that Woodworking “isn’t just a class where they teach you how to do it, but they also give you the opportunity to choose what you want to make.” She added that she would recommend the class to anyone who likes hands-on learning.

In Fine Metal Working, taught by Mr. Daniel Guyton, students learn how to use the tools of the trade, such as jeweler’s saws and sheet metal shears. Junior Paige Wathen said she picked this class as her favorite elective because “the environment was incredible and I was able to be super productive and I was able to have a lot of fun with it.” This class would be great for all students, since it provides an opportunity to create a variety of projects, such as jewelry, stained glass, and more. 

What sets Digital Imaging apart from other electives is the way that it combines art and technology. In the class, Ms. Geralyn Mohr teaches the students to use programs like Photoshop to make creative projects. Junior Calvin Campos favorite project so far is painting a black and white photo. He chose a scene from a movie, while senior Evan Rinaldi chose a picture of his cat, Grippy. This project is one way this elective allows students to take creative liberties in their work. 

All of these electives encourage students to follow their passions and pursue interests that may not be available in their core content areas. Of course, these classes only show a sliver of what GL electives have to offer. As students complete their prerequisite courses, so many more options become available in a variety of subjects. From Anthropology to Sports and the American Experience, there is something for anyone. Electives make GL students well-rounded and allow them to express their creativity.