Take this Class


Staff Writers

Coming into high school, many of us know the sports we want to play, classes we were required to take, and clubs we wanted to join. However, many of us have no idea what electives we should take. Below are detailed descriptions by actual Wayne Valley students of classes they loved taking!


AP Language & Composition:

“If you are someone who loves to write, or even if you want to learn to love it, AP Language & Composition is the perfect class to take,” says senior Amanda Vogt. And she’s right—AP Language & Composition (known by students as APLAC) is a highly popular elective at Wayne Valley. Taught by Dr. White, APLAC focuses on the fundamentals of writing. As Dr. White shares his wisdom and encourages you to step outside of your comfort zone, regardless of your writing skill in September, you are guaranteed to observe significant growth by June. 

In preparation for the course’s culmination in May, much of the APLAC curriculum is centered around writing the three types of essays found on the AP exam: rhetorical analysis, synthesis, and argumentative. That said, Dr. White gives students many opportunities to showcase their creativity as well as their writing process. APLAC students almost unanimously agree that their favorite assignment is the quarterly prose piece; each marking period, they write a page-long narrative or memoir on any topic of their choice. In addition to essays and prose pieces, APLAC assignments might include reading or multiple choice practice—but Dr. White rarely assigns homework, so taking this class will not significantly increase your workload. Since Dr. White creates his own syllabus, the class is not overwhelming or fast-paced.

Ultimately, if you’re interested in growing as a writer in a supportive environment, AP Language & Composition is the course for you! “APLAC made me feel more confident in my writing,” Vogt adds. “And Dr. White really makes the class fun!”



All students who have a passion for writing, current events, watching the news, interviewing people, or those who simply want to become more involved in the world around them should take the Journalism elective offered here at Wayne Valley. Taught by Mrs. Nazarko, the course focuses on all of the main elements of journalism. Even if you are looking to become a better writer, this is definitely the class for you. The first thing you learn is how to write a regular news article, and from there, you move through features, editorials, sports articles, broadcast journalism, and several other topics related to the subject. 

There’s almost no homework assigned in the class, but the entire course is focused on writing, so you should not sign up for the elective if you think you won’t ever have to do any work. That said, you will get to watch several movies and listen to the podcast Serial (which is amazing) throughout the year. Each movie that we watched enhanced everything that we were learning or discussing. One of the best things about this class is that you always get to talk with friends while you’re working! The class environment is a lot of fun and Mrs. Nazarko is an amazing teacher!

We took this elective during our freshman year, and it immediately sparked a love for journalism in both of us. Although we came from different middle schools, our shared love of this class made us quickly become close friends. At the beginning of freshman year, we had both signed up to be staff writers for Smoke Signals, but we loved Journalism and Mrs. Nazarko so much that we both applied for editor positions for our sophomore year and now we are the current Editors-in-Chief!

If you’re looking for a class that broadens your high school experience, and provides you with a community where you can pursue any topics that you’re interested in, you should definitely consider adding Journalism to your schedule next year. You will definitely be surprised with what you will be able to achieve in your writing ability:)



Most people may think that marketing class is all about advertising, but in reality, it is so much more! I, myself, was one of those people who thought marketing was only about advertising;  but soon after, I realized many different topics compose marketing. You learn pricing strategies, how to develop products, and how to distribute them efficiently. Emphasis also is on the use of advertisement via both social media and traditional methods, development of logos and slogans, all in tandem with presentation skills. You also see how psychology takes place in marketing, such as the psychology behind color choices. The marketing classes also run the Instagram account, ValleyIsOne. There are three levels of the Marketing class that Valley offers: Marketing I, Marketing II, and Marketing III. Students in any of these classes can enroll to receive college credits from Fairleigh Dickinson University. These courses are taught by Mr. Abdullah and Mrs. Voskian. They provide a fun, engaging atmosphere for students to excel in marketing. Mrs.Voskian “personally loves teaching marketing because we take things that we see everyday and look deeper into them and see how marketing is involved. It’s fascinating.” She highly recommends marketing for anyone who wants to work in business or become an entrepreneur. So come along, take this class! All together, we can learn about what really composes marketing.


AP Government and Politics:

As we get older, or at least in my experience, we begin to hear more and more about politics. “Politics,” however, is a very broad term that is difficult to fully comprehend in any one definition. If you are interested in learning how the government works and want to be able to understand current political events, AP Government and Politics is the perfect class for you. In this class, you are taught the fundamentals of the American government, how it was established, what each branch of the government does, the roles within government, and even more. Mr. Carroll, who teaches AP Gov, gives well-crafted and engaging lectures that provide a clear understanding of all topics. The class mostly consists of taking notes on the lectures, and then having tests and quizzes periodically. Occasionally, there will be a homework assignment, but most of the time your only responsibility is to keep up with the class concepts. 

Mr. Carroll also creates interesting activities for the class, such as the one we are participating in now: a mock presidential election. Each class is split into groups, and each group has to come up with a candidate to run for president. Altogether, it is a great opportunity to learn first-hand how presidents prepare for elections, and provides a fun opportunity to work with your peers. 

Contrary to my expectations, AP Gov is my favorite class I am taking this year, and I highly recommend it. (As a bonus, if you take this class, you will get the exclusive privilege of being enlightened about the underrepresented root vegetable, the rutabaga.)


Child Development I:

If you are good with children, seeking a career in child care, or interested in learning about the development of children, then this class is a great opportunity to get some hands-on experience. Lessons branch from how to teach kids to how to take care of them. You also get a chance to teach preschoolers with your very own Wayne Valley Preschool Class. Child Development has a very interactive style of teaching and learning which ensures that you are always engaged. With all kinds of crafts and amazing room decor, students get to relive their childhood without ever leaving a high school classroom.  


20th Century American Pop Culture:

Although Pop Culture is a history elective, it’s significantly different from the World or US History courses. It is a full year elective that combines American history with important cultural aspects of today. In this class, you will learn what pop culture is and how it has influenced American society. In order to evaluate pop culture from different decades, you will also gain an understanding of liberal and conservative eras that we have experienced in this country since 1900. Throughout this course, you will examine forms of pop culture including leisure time activities, art, language and slang, literature, communication, technology, transportation, medicine, music, television, movies, sports, and advertising. Also, students will analyze the causes behind cultural changes, and what could this entail for the future. Mr. Flower, the current teacher, explains that the class tries to look at American History since 1900 through the lens of popular culture. The course is centered around class discussions and creative work to create this understanding. We do everything from discuss the Spanish-American War and 9/11 to the history of video games and whatever happened to the Hair Metal Bands. “The assignments are very interactive,” says senior Delaney Philp, “and Mr. Flower is my favorite teacher!”


Contemporary Issues In World History: 

Most commonly known as Contemporary Issues, this course is a half-year elective, and is often taken alongside Human Rights in World History. Through this course, you will become informed and well-versed on the pressing issues that the world faces today and be able to connect and apply history to them. In Contemporary Issues, students look at how to understand the world around us today through studying cultural, political, economic, and technological changes in recent history. The course is very internet and discussion-based, in order to enhance your ability to find and use reliable and accurate resources. Also, there are opportunities to debate, discuss, and understand the role of today’s issues in the world with your classmates. The teacher, Mr. Vittozzi, has students discuss how to be active citizens in a global community and the processes to become more involved. The class covers topics ranging from the rise of artificial intelligence, to the Syrian Civil War, to the importance of social media in understanding the world. The class is also usually taken with Human Rights to expand on the ideas in Contemporary Issues. 


Human Rights In World History: 

Most commonly known Human Rights, this course is a half-year elective, and is often taken alongside Contemporary Issues in World History. The teacher of this course, Mr. Vittozzi, focuses on the evolution of human rights throughout history; you will also learn about the international system for promoting and protecting the rights of the public. Human Rights also provides you with a better understanding of your local community and may even provide students with the opportunity to work to better our local community. By keeping students informed about their rights, and teaching them to exercise their leadership skills, this course is beneficial to students, the school, and the community. Junior Kiley McGraw took Human Rights last year and highly recommended it, saying that “it gives a lot of interesting perspectives on modern day political issues!” She also added that the structure of the class allows for open discussion and debate, which was her favorite part of the class. 


Film Studies I and II: 

FIlm Studies I is a full-year elective that introduces students to the world of cinema, from its beginnings to the present. In this course, you will study films from different genres and time periods; at the same time, you will discuss elements in front of the camera and behind the scenes, including such as camera angles, character development, technique, dialogue, direction, editing, lighting, music, special effects and more.  One Film Studies student stated, “You can not only watch films but you get to see the deeper meaning behind films and explore how some films were made.”  “Film Studies is a fun and entertaining way to study a moment in culture through the use of movie media.”   – Christopher Cordaro

“Film Studies is nice because you get to watch movies you would have only watched with your boomer parents.”  – Vivek Gundani


Film Studies II is a full-year elective that focuses on American film genre and directors. Building upon what you learn in Film Studies I, you will develop an advanced understanding of four types of American film narratives. Ms. Solomon “loves teaching Film Studies II because it really allows the film bluff to watch and deepen their analysis of the most essential films that influence all forms of visual storytelling today — in film and streaming platforms.  We view a range of essential films in a wide variety of genres, such as Citizen Kane, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Seven Samurai, Do the Right Thing, A League of their Own, You’ve Got Mail, The Hurt Locker, Saving Private Ryan, and the list goes on.”  Film Studies I is a prerequisite for Film Studies II. Currently, these courses are taught by Mrs. Hannon and Ms. Solomon respectively. Senior Delaney Philp, who is currently taking Film Studies II, says, “I like to watch movies in genres that I’ve never seen before, and learn about different styles of film.”


AP Euro:

A highly underrated elective, AP European History is one of the five AP courses the Wayne Valley history department offers. So, what makes this class stand out? AP Euro covers various themes, as well as social and political changes, throughout the history of Europe. It highlights several important leaders, intellectual movements, and wars, to name a few. AP Euro is the perfect class for anyone who enjoys World History, since it covers many of the same topics, just more in depth. Additionally, since this is an elective course, it has a significantly lighter workload than that of a core class like AP US History. While there are still tests, projects, readings, and essays, many students who take the class are able to double up on history and still have time to do all of their work. Mrs. Perricone teaches the class, and she is an excellent teacher who makes classes interesting, as evidenced by her wide popularity among students. 


Legal Studies:

Legal Studies is a half year course perfect for those who want to pursue a career in a legal setting or for those who want to know more about laws and regulations. This class is taught by Mr. Kutzleb or Mrs. Perricone. In this class, you will learn about the amendments and different criminal cases. You also will learn what the lawyers look for if they want to prosecute or defend a client. Mock trials are set up during class as well as many other activities pertaining to the US legal system. It is a very interesting class and you will learn something new every day.



Everyone likes some sort of music. From Beethoven to DaBaby, there is not a single person who can’t find something they enjoy. Music is a huge part of our everyday lives, which is why chorus is a great choice for any student. Ms. Russoniello ensures that her classroom is a safe space for all people. Once you’re inside the music room, you can relax and simply connect with other students who share a love of music. When picking your electives for next year, be sure to consider chorus!



Photography is all about learning how to take pictures using a digital camera, not a phone, and applying certain techniques and methods in order to take the best pictures possible. In class, you will either choose or be assigned a camera that will be used in class only. 

In this elective, there are many different projects. As the year goes on, the more you learn, the more techniques will be applied to these projects. These techniques can also be applied when taking photos on your own, even without the proper camera. As the seasons change, the projects depend on the weather. For example, in the fall, the class goes to the nature trail to take pictures of the changing leaves. 

Photography is a full-year art course. This means that it does count towards art credits. If drawing and/or painting isn’t your thing, this class is a great way to get your art credits done. Also, there is Photography 1, 2, and 3. If photography is something you end up enjoying, you can take Photo 2 and eventually Photo 3. Overall, photography is a great art class and learning experience for students.