Required classes to graduate are required for a reason

To graduate from any national high school, students are required to complete courses in non-academic areas that cover life skills, such as health, financial literacy and physical education (PE).

To most students, it is nothing more than just a graduation requirement.

However, as students prepare for the real world and the responsibilities of being an adult, many are thrust into the next steps with little to no knowledge of important applicable skills. The focus for many Mason High School (MHS) students is on academic classes and rigor, leaving them with limited capabilities when it comes to the real-world. Whether it be how to file taxes, maintain physical and mental well-being or seek out opportunities after high school, there are important skills that high school students are not getting out of high school. The required credits that every MHS student needs to earn to graduate are evidently focused on developing skills they will need later in the real world, but if students tend to neglect and brush off this information, are these courses able to serve their intended purposes?

According to the MHS 22-23 Program of Studies, financial literacy is designed to “prepare students to meet future financial needs,” teaching content on how to manage finances or file taxes. Students often lack knowledge of such financial skills and struggle when it comes time to actually execute them. Theoretically, financial literacy is supposed to eliminate this problem, but many students overlook the importance of the course while in it. In addition, there are students who choose to get their financial literacy credit through outside means like credit flex and avoid taking it in school.

Later, when it comes time for students to get their first jobs or file taxes, kids are lost; the skills supposedly acquired in financial literacy are not retained. Whether it be through pushing the course back to later years of high school or changing our attitudes toward financial literacy, there needs to be a change in how we view such courses.

Taking a class like financial literacy, which is equipped with so much valuable content, earlier in one’s high school career, will more than likely be forgotten as this student nears adulthood. However, as the future inevitably demands the application of financial knowledge, we should be prioritizing these classes instead of taking them solely with the intent of fulfilling the graduation requirements. Planning to take financial literacy as a senior will resonate more with the student as they transition into the next chapter of their lives.

Furthermore, classes for a PE credit promote the benefits of exercise and movement as well as good mental health with the implementation of mind and body wellness. The importance of physical and emotional well being that are taught in PE are life long skills that should be taken more seriously. Health education focuses on a variety of topics such as substance abuse prevention and first aid techniques that expand beyond the classroom walls.

There are many important concepts not taught in schools that go beyond the basic graduation  requirements for students. As students gain their independence, they should be equipped with knowledge of basic cooking skills or practical survival skills, similar to a home economics class, which MHS does not currently offer.

As students continue to enroll in required courses each year, it is crucial to realize the importance of properly learning the content taught in these classes and how to apply them in a real-world situation.