Honoring the Honors

By Ivana Kosir

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Junior year has crossed an unchartered frontier. The difficulty of finding the balance of schoolwork and extracurricular activities has hit a peak, and juniors must now tackle the chore of exploring education beyond high school and prepare for significant exams that have the power to help or hinder their entrance into the colleges and universities that they discover and desire to pursue.

Although the ACT is an important exam to excel on, it is not the only factor that affects college entrance. As we all know, the transcript is one of the most crucial documents that influence college admission.

This year I’ve decided to embed my transcript with as many AP and honors classes that I could physically complete: AP U.S. history, Honors physics, math analysis (the highest math track at the junior level), AP Spanish, and AP composition and rhetoric, or more commonly known as GAW.

I’m dying.

And I’m not alone. Many of my peers are just as stressed and busy academically. We do this by choice though. Students should have the right to lighten their work load if we choose to, but the choice to take Honors English may not exist in the future.

On Monday, Dec. 12 at 7:45 pm, the possibility of eliminating the Honors English course for upcoming years will be determined at the school board meeting.

With Honors English, juniors can take a higher level history class such as APUSH and still raise their GPAs and enhance their transcripts. If Honors English is eliminated,  juniors will be forced to take either ALCUSH or GAW, and seniors will have to take college prep or AP Lit.

I am completely for the school board trying to prepare Niles West students for college, but what I do not support is the movement to terminate the Honors English track at the junior and senior levels.

If Honors English were to be eliminated at the junior level, students would have no other choice but to enroll in GAW or ALCUSH. GAW is a rigorous course, and some may not be able to tolerate it. In such cases, those individuals would have to enroll in ALCUSH. But by enrolling in ALCUSH, they are automatically submitting themselves to regular U.S. history. These individuals do not have the option to take APUSH or even Honors U.S. history.

So the school board has come up with a solution for the scenario as depicted above. Students who want to take GAW but are afraid of the course difficulty have the option to enroll in a summer school course designed to prepare students for GAW. By the time school starts in August, students will be prepared for the class and will be able to take a higher level of  U.S. history as well.

Yes, enhancing our transcripts is a good idea and taking GAW would only add to that, but we are still kids. The summer is our time to kick back and relax and enjoy being a teenager. Taking a prep course over the summer in an unfair solution to a problem we don’t even have to be facing.

Eliminating the Honors English course at the junior and senior levels will not aid anyone. In truth, it will the have the converse effect of that.