Unique yet Unknown Classes at Beckman

Beckman offers various courses that are generally unknown to most of the student population that may interest many

February 13, 2020


Daniel Kang

The picture displays Mr. Nathan Boice’s ‒ the film and journalism advisor ‒ classroom. Students interested in taking Independent Film Projects need to submit a portfolio to him.

With course selection around the corner, students are most likely grabbing onto their colorful sheets, anxiously figuring out which courses to take the following year. And Beckman, offering more than 50 courses each year, has some hidden gems that most students are missing out on. These range from not widely known science classes to special Advanced Placement (AP) courses. 


First of all, shall we look at the science department?


Biology, chemistry and physics, including their AP counterparts, are the holy trinity of the science department and are the courses most Beckman students take throughout their four years of high school. However, there exists more unique classes that are under the veil. 


Forensic Science is one, and it is loved by countless students. Also known as criminalistics, forensic science studies how scientific methods apply to criminal investigation. This course is very hands-on, with students physically learning techniques that can be utilized in real-life scenarios. 


“We learn various science concepts and learn about how we can use each of them in crime sites,” said junior Yeri Cong. “I would recommend this class to anyone that is interested in pursuing a career in criminal investigation or to anyone that is interested”


Another is Oceanography, which utilizes biological concepts in studying the ocean. Students, through various hands-on experiments, study marine life and ecosystems alongside environment-focused topics like ocean circulation, geology of the seafloor, and more. 


And for art-lovers?


Our art department has four different artistic platforms that students can engage in: visual imagery, graphic design, filmmaking and fine arts. Each category consists of three to four prerequisite courses that allow you to develop skills to take the ultimate one, which holds the title of AP Studio Art or, for film specifically, Independent Film Projects. Many students question whether each and every previous course is necessary to take on the challenge of enrolling in the AP/college level one: the answer is no. If you believe that you are adept at whatever artistic platform you desire to take the course in, then a portfolio can be turned in for that jump to the most challenging course.


“I believe that AP Studio Art (Drawing and Painting) improved my artistic skills incredibly,” said senior Sophia Park, who took the course as a junior. “Especially because I had been passionate about painting since middle school, taking this course allowed me to shine doing the things I love. I would definitely recommend to anyone that is interested in the slightest to give it a try.”


While Park had not taken any prerequisite courses in the fine arts elective track, she submitted an art portfolio, which highlighted her topnotch artistic talents. However, AP Studio Art is not limited to simply drawing and painting; there is also AP Studio Art in photography and graphic design. 


But what if you want to take an art-related course, but not necessarily physically completing art pieces?


Then, it is worth giving AP Art History a try. AP Art History combines the creative aspects of art with the analytical components of history, establishing a perfect harmony of both. Students are given the opportunity to discover and learn new art pieces throughout the world, including but not limited to sculptures, architecture, paintings, and drawings. On top of the generic track of World History, U.S. History, and Government and Politics, Art History give you a new twist to the generalizations that follow with the term “history.” 


AP Art History is limited to juniors and seniors, but it still is a part of the fine arts track, so freshmen or sophomores interested in such a course can start taking the elementary courses: Exploration of Art and Drawing and Painting.


“AP Art History was the most unique class I have taken so far,” said senior Sahar Ahmed. “While it is a history class, the class itself is very discussion-based, and it soon became something [that] I fell in-love with throughout the school year.” 


Although we have to say good-bye… 


Until this year, Journalism has been a course available to students of all grade-levels. While the course itself has undergone significant changes including a change in advisor, a shift to the multimedia platform, and establishment of print journalism club, the class has stayed strong, continuing to share our school’s news and stories to our student population. 


The class unfortunately is gone next year (sorry to those who were interested), but the class was still included in this article as it has been a class that was largely forgotten by the student population. Do not worry, though, because the Beckman Beat, the student multimedia news platform of the journalism class,  will continue with the Beckman Chronicle Club, which creates the Beckman Chronicle magazine. 


AP classes are generally common, but what are dual enrollment courses?


Dual enrollment, or community college courses, is another way for Beckman students to maximize their high school experience. Community college courses propel students to a new, yet-to-be-discovered challenge that triggers immense creativity and cultivates academic skills. 


At Beckman, there has been classes integrated into the school system, which allows students to take the courses on-campus without physically leaving to a college to take it. Beckman currently offers four different courses partnered up with Irvine Valley College (IVC) to evoke student interests in areas that are not yet covered my high school classes.


The first class is IVC Kinesiology, the final course within the Applied Medical pathway, which is geared towards students that have interests in pursuing a medical career in the future. Kinesiology focuses on the mechanics of different body movements and how various biological and psychological principles affect them. Since community college courses are only a semester long, kinesiology divides into two courses: KNES 85 and KNES 212.


In fact, those who have completed KNES 85 can decide to continue onto a different IVC course, known as IVC Sports Nutrition. The course is geared towards the study of athletes and how nutrition affects their physical activity and energy levels. 


If you are looking to go into medicine or interested in either of these two subjects, be sure to sign up for them!


Beckman students get ready to complete these course selection sheets, which showcases each and every course at Beckman.

One of the most popular majors in college nowadays is economics, and countless undergraduate students are heading to business school for their graduate degrees. High school students definitely can partake in that experience early by taking IVC Business. Through this course, any high schooler can initiate his or her way towards becoming an entrepreneur, a head start to his or her learning at a university.


“Going into college, IVC Business established the fundamentals for me,” said Beckman graduate Nathan Hahm. “I knew I wanted to grow my current business and become a successful entrepreneur, and this course was the perfect fit. I definitely enjoyed it.”


IVC Dance History is also offered at Beckman, and it also differs from the general characteristics of a history class. IVC Dance History is 100% online, and if it is needed, students can join the professor in his or her office hours, which are generally held afterschool. If you need to fulfill the visual or performing arts credit ‒ which is necessary for attending a University of California (UC) institution ‒ this class is perfect to add on top of a six-period day. However, this class is limited to only juniors and seniors.


Last but not least, IVC Communications is a class for anyone that has an interest in public speaking, or has an interest in developing public speaking skills. This class will heavily focus on speeches through analysis and research, which will heavily cultivate a student to become a successful individual later on. Public speaking is a big component in interpersonal relationships, and learned skills in debating will be a free plus taking this course.


Beckman holds countless opportunities for students to enroll in classes that are unique and career-oriented. Each of these out-of-the-ordinary courses contains both the ability to prepare you for a desired career as well as the necessary challenge. If a student has room in his or her schedule to fit in an extra class, be sure to check one of these courses out and enroll in it!


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