Students take electives to explore potential careers

VHHS offers a wide variety of elective classes that allow students to get a feel for what it would be like to pursue certain careers. While the Career and Technical Education Department offers many options, classes like AP Portfolio or Human Anatomy have similar aspects that help students prepare themselves for their respective careers.

Fine Arts Classes

Rachel Hayden (12) is one of the students taking advantage of the multitude of art-related classes. Hayden plans on applying to art schools as an illustration major, and she said the fine arts classes she takes give her a glimpse of what it would be like to work in the art industry.

Hayden has taken Drawing and Painting Studio twice, and this will be her second year taking AP Portfolio.

Stephanie Dahlstrom, one of the teachers of AP Portfolio, said students make a portfolio of one type of art, whether it is photography, painting, or drawing. Once they’ve created this portfolio, students are able to use it to apply for college, send it to the College Board to be reviewed, or use it to apply for jobs like an assistant photographer, art instructor or logo designer.

Hayden said she is fond of AP Portfolio because of the freedom it gives her to create what she wants and because of all the ways that she can use her portfolio after graduating.

Hayden has known for a long time that she wants to be in the art industry, but for Sofia Schmeltzer (12), the interest in fine arts began freshman year of high school. Schmeltzer began participating in theater crew freshman year, and said she immediately knew it was something she would be interested in.

Schmeltzer plans on becoming a stage manager, where she would provide organizational support to the actors, designers, technicians and directors in theatrical plays. In order to stay in line with the theatre world, Schmeltzer has taken Theatre Technology, Introduction to Theatre, and Acting Studio.

Family & Consumer Classes

In Preschool I and II, students interact with children that come to VHHS for their preschool class. Families living in neighborhoods as close as Deerpath, or in towns as far as Gurnee, sign their kids up for this preschool knowing that their children will be taken care of by students.

The preschool session begins about three weeks into the second semester. These three weeks are used by students to learn about what they will be doing, and then begin preparing lesson and activity plans.

Kelley Whitescarver, the Preschool teacher, said while the class has inspired students to look into different careers where they work with children, the main focus of the class is to help students see what it would be like to be a teacher.

Brooke Pieper (12) began taking Family and Consumer classes early in order to prepare herself for a career in education. Pieper has already taken Preschool I and Infant Development, and will take Preschool II second semester.

Pieper has known for a while she wants to work with kids, and she attributes this to how much time she spent around them when she was younger. Her mom was a preschool teacher and would often let Pieper spend the day in the class.

Although Pieper knew she wanted to become a teacher before taking these classes, the classes she’s taken have helped her develop this passion into the beginning of a career in Elementary Education.