The Art of Electives: Art electives shape seniors’ high school experience, plans for future


Lily McAndrews

COLORING IN THE CANVAS: Sydney Remble, art student and senior, works on her painting during her class period. Remble said although she will not major in art, she hopes to incorporate it in her future.

English, math, science and history courses—these are all classes which aim to both educate and broaden the minds of teenagers all across the country. Ever day at CHS students across all four grades find themselves slumped in desks, teachers lecturing on the fundamentals of radicals or the importance of the Enlightenment. For students who decided to broaden their high school experience by partaking in some of this school’s wide variety of art-related electives, this routine looks slightly different. For Sydney Remble, art student and senior, taking classes from Drawing I to AP Studio Art has given her the opportunity to be a part of something most high schoolers are not.

“Art has given me a more well-rounded high school experience because not everyone is involved in the art department, but I have been,” she said. “Art became an outlet for all the school work and stress that I have and it’s a time for me to just be creative.” 

Art department chair Jen Bubp said that students’ involvement in elective courses not only provides an outlet for students, but also leaves them with many new abilities.

Lily McAndrews
COLORING IN THE CANVAS: Sydney Remble, art student and senior, works on her painting during her class period. Remble said although she will not major in art, she hopes to incorporate it in her future.

Bubp said via email, “Students need balance in their lives. Electives provide a rich layer of culture, creativity and personal enjoyment for students. Students take our classes to balance the stresses of the rigor of their core classes and to broaden their aesthetic experiences. Electives provide specific skill sets to students that they can use for the rest of their lives.”

While involvement in various art-related extracurriculars serves as an opportunity to experience high school in a different way than most students, it additionally provides students with transferable skills and a chance to learn life lessons. Joey Gutierrez, member of New Edition and senior, said choir has shown him the importance of collaboration and determination.

“Choir has taught me to work hard, but also, it has shown me the value of working with others and being a part of a group,” he said. “I have been able to see that if your put all your efforts into something, the return will be great.” 

Kyle Barker, Associate Choral Director and Ambassadors’ Director, reiterated the idea that these electives courses create learning experiences.

“In my opinion, attention to detail is a big skill (the students in choir) learn along with time management. (They learn) how to communicate and cooperate with others…They learn how to be flexible and make changes on the fly…There’s a lot of real life application skills I think that (students) learn that are not just singing and dancing,” he said.

Bubp said she agrees with Barker and said students learn many skills that are applicable in their lives.

Bubp said, “I think creative problem solving is the number one skill that art classes provide students, which is a life-long, important s

kill. I was reading a published article the other day that said the number one skill that companies like Google and Rolls Royce are looking for in applicants is their diversity of professional and personal activities, their skill sets and their ability to think creatively. In our world of rapidly changing technology and innovations, creative thinking and problem solving are the greatest skills that we can teach students here at Carmel High School.”

While these courses have had an impact on these students, among many more at CHS, not every senior who has dedicated his or her time and effort to an art-related elective course, extracurricular or hobby will continue with this interest at the collegiate level.

“I am going into nursing, but I think I might get a minor in art still because I will have a lot of credits going into college.” she said.

Despite not planning to pursue these art-related fields, many of these students still hope to carry their passion on into whatever career they decide on. Remble is among these students.

She said, “I would hope that I could incorporate art into nursing in some way, though. I would have to figure that out once I get into hospitals, but I could potentially use art to work with my patients and see if that could help with recovery and treatment.”

Gutierrez said he chose to leave choir in high school in order to give his full attention to his studies and his future career.

“I am planning to study accounting in college. I am not planning on continuing with music or choir in the future,” he said. “I have loved being a part of it at the high school, but I am not passionate about it enough to invest myself into it in college while I am busy trying to get a degree and do other things as well.”

Veronica Teeter
Joey Gutierrez, New Edition member and senior, sings during a New Edition class rehearsal. Gutierrez said he will not pursue a musical degree or profession during college, but choir has taught him many valuable skills.

Future plans aside, these CHS students fall into a large group of teenagers who feel impacted by an art-related elective course or extracurricular. For Remble, being a part of the art department has shaped the path of her high school career and allowed her to take part in something most students have not by the end of their senior year.

“Art has had such a positive impact on my high school experience. It not only has taught me so many valuable life skills, but it has shaped who I am as a person and who I want to be in the future,” she said. “It gave me something to turn to when I was stressed and a place to be creative. Art has shown me so much and is a fundamental part of who I am today.”