The Olympus

Vocational Classes

Hari Nath, Reporter

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As OHS heads in a more modern direction where the main idea of High School is a transition to college, less and less vocational classes are being taught for the minority of students who want something else for their life. These students might want to take a gap year or go into a technical institute but instead are being pushed to more conventional way. About 65.9% of the National Population go to college straight after high school whereas the rest of the population of high school students, or at least a large part of that population go to vocational schools. The rest most likely find jobs that will take them in with just a high school diploma or GED.

Along with alternative thought, Sophomore Aidan Plummley also thinks that OHS should have more vocational like classes because they can affect high school student’s futures for the better. When asked whether or not OHS should have more vocational like classes, Plummley responded by saying, “for the size of OHS, yeah!” Plummley thinks that there should be at least design like classes if not career based classes. “I’ve heard that the Robotics department at OHS is seriously understaffed and that they are getting quite a bit of students but not the resources they need.” Plummley would like to see OHS have, “Engineering classes… Culinary classes or even game based classes like Game Studios.” Plummley himself has also taken classes at the New Market Center in Tumwater and, “[he’s] taken 2 classes: DigiPen Gaming and Culinary Arts,” both of which Plummley feels like he’s had, “a good experience.” In terms of opportunities at OHS, Plummley feels like, “OHS is definitely better than most high schools because we still have a lot of opportunities instead of college like internships and jobs but only compared to other high schools. In general we should have more career based classes.” Essentially, Plummley’s mode of thought is that, “[vocational classes] help [high school students] choose a path, more easily a career in college instead of them struggling on their own.” Plummley has taken two classes at the New Market Center and can confidently state that he is happier all the more because of the skills he’s learned.

Along with Plummley’s views on OHS and its classes, Freshman Jessica Cutlip also shares these views. Cutlip thinks that, “Oly could do better giving class opportunities,” because although we give many electives, many of them are there to satisfy college requirements like foreign language and art classes. Many of which are supposed to fill the Art requirement of colleges or second language requirements. Furthermore, Cutlip thinks that, “Oly pushes students to go to college,” because it can seem like ‘failing life’ if you don’t. On the contrary though, as shown in the statistic, “Community Colleges as Feeder Schools for Universities,” we see that 52 percent of high school students actually go to 0-3 year schools rather than 4 year institutions.

Although not a vocational teacher, Ms. Davis, AP US History teacher, agrees with many thoughts about college but also understands OHS’s limitations. As a teacher she’s very informed around the school so she knows that, “with all the new state requirements where students have the 24 credits in high school requirements,” high schools like OHS have to provide more common core classes which will fulfill those requirements. OHS has to, “fit in with the state student demand for college level classes,” and sadly many students with wishes to take vocational classes must go to places like the New Market Center. But to Ms. Davis, she, “as an adult, it seems like higher key to go to college and that that doesn’t have to be the mainstream choice all the time. But even Ms. Davis knows when to stand back because, “it depends on the high school but for the culture of this high school, I don’t want to speak for the students.”

Although it may seem like OHS has less vocational classes, it’s mainly because OHS has to fill state requirements. So the issue is not necessarily about whether or not OHS offers those classes but if OHS has space for those classes. With the requirements Washington State is imposing on high schools, OHS has no choice but to choose more mainstream classes. That doesn’t mean OHS can have more vocational opportunities on the side like the New Market Center. Many students could be going to technical schools where they pay during school and where graduate students of these technical schools actually earn more than a median AA degree and students who are in the middle of college.

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