Top 10: Electives at Westhill

Students immerse themselves in Spanish through a video in Ms. Petrizzi's Spanish 4 Honors class.

With course selection ongoing, The Westword chose to spotlight some electives that students may not know about. From art classes, to language courses, to business programs, there is something for nearly everyone. You may find your next favorite class in the list below!

  1. Art Partners 

Art partners is a very popular elective offered at Westhill where students pair with Special Education peers to make art together. Some of the students are in wheelchairs, some need to use feeding tubes, and some are paralyzed, and this class allows them to have an opportunity to learn art from their peers rather than an adult. They create bonds with other students and make memories and friendships that they will always have. 

“Art Partners is the highlight of my career. It is a way for me to finally incorporate my love of art and working with special needs children,” art teacher Ms. Nesbitt said.

2. Forensic Science

Forensic science allows students to understand the different crimes that are happening in our world and how we use that information to track down criminals. Students all throughout Westhill watch different shows such as Criminal Minds, Law & Order, and NCIS, all of which relate to forensic science and how it brings justice to our world.

“I love my forensics elective because we get to watch different videos that show us real life scenarios and then we get to apply the information we just learned to a bunch of different activities and labs,” Sophia Waldron (’21) said. 

Mrs. Grant is the only forensic science teacher at Westhill, and she knows how to make forensics interesting and fun at the same time for all students.

3. Health Care Occupations

Health care occupations is a great elective for students interested in the medical field. It enhances their knowledge on vital medical terms such as how to treat patients and the necessary tools for becoming a doctor or nurse. Students get an opportunity to learn what it is really like to work in a hospital or doctor’s office. They participate in fake pediatrician appointments like physicals where they have to fill out all of the necessary paperwork and make sure the client is healthy and safe. 

“Health care occupations is by far the best elective at Westhill. I have always planned on working in the medical field, and this elective has given me the opportunity to understand what being a doctor really entails,” Anita Amiti (’20) said.

4. Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship creates an opportunity for creative and motivated students to express their business ideas and bring them to real life. It teaches students different skills involving marketing, management, and financing, allowing them to really grasp what it is like in the “business world” and see the different strategies that play out when running a successful or unsuccessful business. At the end of the year, students in this class are given the chance to invent their own product and pitch it to a panel of judges at a Connecticut-wide entrepreneurship competition. This is a great way to show the students of Westhill that their own ideas and products can be seen and make a difference in our community. 

5. Academy of Finance

Academy of Finance is a nationwide program that accepts a certain number of students and teaches them different skills needed when entering the business world. Students are required to take various classes involving accounting, business economics, financial planning, and principles of finance. They participate in different internships, field trips, activities, and project-based learning experiences. They are given the opportunity to connect with other high school students interested in the business realm who have the same goals and passions. 

“I joined the Academy of finance my sophomore year and have been in it ever since. It has allowed me to tie my classes closer to my future interests and helped me expand my knowledge on the business world I knew little to nothing about. It also has given me the experience of working out of school in different internships that have helped me grow and understand what I am looking to do after high school,” Harrison Lindvall (’20) said. 

Freshmen who are interested in participating can learn more here.

6. Spanish

Westhill offers a variety of Spanish courses, from Spanish 1 all the way up to AP Spanish Language and AP Spanish Literature. It gives the students a chance to reach out of their comfort zone and learn something new and exciting. All Spanish courses allow students to develop skills such as listening, reading, writing and understanding Spanish. Projects and activities involving the different spanish cultures and countries that shape our world today are incorporated within the courses. Many students are interested in studying abroad in Spanish-speaking countries, and learning Spanish in high school has allowed them to make cultural connections and develop communication skills. 

“Spanish is a great elective that I have been taking for the best three years! It is a good way to become interactive and allows me to hold a conversation in Spanish,” Danya Taub (’21) said.

7. Sports Medicine

Sports Medicine is a great class for students who want to have a career in or learn more about the health care field. Students explore how to prevent sports injuries, sports medicines, and more about the human body. They learn about first aid, CPR, injury prevention, and athletic training.

“Sports Medicine helped me better understand what to do in emergency situations and also taught me more about human anatomy,” Julia Reilly (’20) said. 

This is a beneficial elective that encourages students to be engaged and active. 

8. Communications/Journalism

Communications/journalism is a course that allows students to participate in writing for The Westword. It teaches students basic writing, communication, and editing skills. Through different activities, films, and projects, students learn how to become better writers and journalists. Mr. von Waldhe, the teacher of this elective, helps students grow and improve their writing techniques while working on The Westword.

“Communications is the best elective I’ve taken at Westhill. I love writing articles in class and learning about documentaries. Mr. Von Waldhe allows us to explore articles we are interested in and learn more about the Westhill community,” Ashley Shapiro (’20) said.

9. Marketing in the 21st Century

Students interested in getting a better understanding of the business world and exploring marketing should look into the marketing elective at Westhill. It is one of the best electives for students who want to learn real-life experiences when it comes to the marketing field. The course provides insight on different aspects of marketing, advertising, customer behavior, product policy and much more. It allows students to learn new communication and organization skills that they will carry on in their future. 

10. Yearbook

The yearbook elective period gives students the opportunity to work and plan out this year’s yearbook’s photographs, articles, interviews and much more. It is a fun way to connect to the school and learn new ways to edit, communicate, and manage time. The yearbook that the class creates will allow students to cherish their high school years and memories.

Photos courtesy of Marley Schweber / Staff Writer.

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