Scheduling for classes? Four great options


Jevic DeVries and Owen Israels

What is a school day for you? A seven-hour prison sentence?  We are here to tell you school does not have to be as miserable as you believe. Here are some underrated classes offered at WO that most students, including you, might not be aware you can take. We investigated four classes to provide you with an inside look.


Culinary Basic Skills:

  First stop: Culinary Basic Skills. I walked in thinking this does not interest me; I’m lost in the kitchen.

  After directions from Instructor Traci Howard, we had only 20 minutes to prepare lava cakes and cream puffs and put them in the oven; we had to work fast.  We mixed the batter together until the mix could be scooped out, put the cream puffs on a baking sheet, and placed the sheet in the oven.

  The hour was ending, and our creation was near completion. The timer went off with only a few minutes to spare. It was time to taste my creation to figure out if the class was paying off.    

  After the first bite, I realized these students were earning credit for cooking and eating delicious food. “The class is fun. We get to make good food, and when it is complete and finished, we get to have it,” Soph. Rylee Brace said.

  Culinary Basic Skills is a fun and fast-paced class that is a good elective for all grade levels as it teaches a thing or two to carry to your own kitchen. “I’ve learned how to make steak really good actually. I think this is a good class for everybody that has had somebody else make their food their whole life,” Sr. Noe Lazaro said. The class provides the ability to learn basic life necessity while enjoying school. This course should be on your schedule.


Dance and Fitness:

  Broadway may not be your future career, but Dance and Fitness may be your next favorite elective class at West Ottawa.

  The class begins with students walking in a circle around the dance studio until Instructor Robin Ruby enters the room. Once Ruby addresses the students and announces the schedule, the students start with rigorous stretching. “The stretching is actually really tough in the beginning of the year, but as we go on it gets so much easier,” Soph. Kaila Carden said.

  After some intense stretching, everybody gets in their assigned lines and prepares for ballet dancing. The students moved in swift and elegant motions which they had studied for weeks. Each student danced on their toes from the back of the room to the front. Moving their arms to correspond with their legs, the motions turned into flawless dancing.

  When I tried, my dancing efforts looked nothing like the surrounding dancers. I was wobbling on my toes, and I tried my best to be as swift as the other dancers, yet my efforts seemed worthless. As hard as I may have tried, I could not bend my knees as far as everybody else and I could not jump as high as the dancer to my left. However, none of my failures stopped me from having a blast.

  After what felt like only 20 minutes of dancing, the time came for the dancers to go back to the locker room and change back into their everyday clothes. After all, time flies when you have fun. If you’re looking for a creative and amusing class, then Dance and Fitness is for you.


Freelance Writing:

  When most students think of English classes, they do not see an opportunity to get paid while earning graduation credit. This is not the case for students in Freelance Writing. Freelance Writing is a one-semester course where students work on writing pieces such as product descriptions, blog posts, product reviews, and website content.

  After entering the class, I was amazed by the focus students put forth on their work. The assignment was a 2000 word description piece due at the end of the week. Most students think of writing as a hassle, but these students realize writing will not only help them succeed in the classroom, but also in the real world. “This class is a good way to develop your writing while also getting an opportunity to make some money,” Sr. Avery Marzynski said.

  The class offers many real-world skill opportunities. Students are given chances to broaden their knowledge of writing and learn how to create different pieces of writing. “I would definitely recommend this class. It helps you explore job opportunities and improves your writing skills,” Sr. Erik Diaz-Santiago said.

  If hired by a business or company, students can earn money for their writing, which is a major bonus to the class. “Taking freelance helped me make money as a writer because Mrs. Bentley taught me how to talk to people that had the jobs open and how to start contracts with clients. And, after completing the contract with the client, they would pay me the amount of money that was agreed upon,” Devin Jones Class of 2018 said.

  If you are looking for a course that expands your writing while providing the opportunity to earn money, Freelance Writing is for you.


Annuals Journalism:

  How many classes can you take that offer opportunities to go into the real world to do the classroom work? The answer is few; however, Annuals Journalism, better known as Yearbook, offers that perk.

  Instructor David Drnek informed the students of their upcoming deadlines, and everybody went to work. Students either went out to get a few last minute quotes and pictures or sat down and continued working on their spreads. “A spread is the page of the yearbook that has a specific subject,” Sr. Clara Klein said.

  If the students weren’t in the classroom, they were out on their own getting the work done with no supervision. Having the responsibility to go outside of the classroom to get pictures and quotes offers a certain freedom few classes here at WO offer. “We really get the independence to do everything ourselves. Drnek doesn’t really loom over us to make sure we’re on top of things,” Klein said.

  During my visit to Yearbook I could assist as some students went out to get quotes and pictures. I could see just how much fun they had. Students might even say the world is their classroom in Yearbook. If you’re looking for a fun, self-reliant, and unique course at WO, Yearbook should be on your schedule.


  West Ottawa offers various elective classes that students can enjoy. Instead of being trapped in your typical classroom, these classes allow students to be in a class that includes their specific interests. Students have the chance to earn money, cook food, and dance during a school day.