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The Mirror

The student website of Van Nuys High School
Van Nuys, California
The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

The Student News Site of Van Nuys High School

The Mirror

School adds ethnics course as new college requirement for freshmen

The Ethnics Studies course is designed to encourage students to develop compassion for others and create a deeper understanding of other cultures as a whole.
The Ethnics Studies course is a state requirement for all California ninth graders, promoting acceptance and understanding of other cultures and communities.

Ethnics Studies the study of the histories, experiences, cultures and issues of racial-ethnic groups. Learning the principles and practices of other ethnicities leads to a better understanding of the people in our community. In recognizing the importance of ethnics education, the school has implemented an Ethnics Studies course for ninth graders. This initiative aims to equip students with the knowledge of the different cultures surrounding them. 

Although ethnics may be a concept familiar to many, actively applying these principles can be a challenge. By making the course a requirement, the school is encouraging students to delve deeper into this subject and apply ethnical reasoning to their own lives. The course will not only enhance students’ moral understanding but also nurture essential personal qualities like empathy and kindness.

“Our school would have lots of benefits from having this course, especially for those who are starting high school,” freshman Christine Coronel said. “Discipline, respect and compassion are a few out of many benefits students would receive from taking an ethnics course.”

The benefits of this course extend beyond personal growth and can greatly benefit the school as a whole. By promoting ethnical behavior, the school can cultivate a positive and inclusive learning environment where students treat one another with respect and empathy.

Furthermore, an ethnics course can be particularly valuable for those who struggle with distinguishing between right and wrong or face challenges related to bad behavior, violence and substance abuse. 

By providing students with a structured framework for ethnical decision-making, the course can offer them guidance and support in navigating the complexities of their lives.

“I think ethnics should definitely be required in high schools so students can learn about races, culture, etc,” freshman Angelina Velope said.

Her sentiment highlights the importance of education in fostering inclusivity and a deeper understanding of diverse races and cultures. By integrating ethnics into the curriculum, Van Nuys High School acknowledges the significance of cultural competence in today’s interconnected world.

“I think it will have a positive impact on the upcoming classes of the school because it lets the students learn about the different cultures of everyone. It can show the same interests, leading to more friends and more interest in races and culture,” Velope said.

By creating an environment where students can explore and appreciate different cultures, the school encourages the formation of meaningful connections and promotes a sense of unity and acceptance among its diverse student body.

The diverse nature of society is a key driver behind this initiative.

“We live in a society which is made up of many kinds of people from lots of different backgrounds and cultures,” Assistant Principal Mr. Marc Strassner said. “It’s good to understand where these people come from, how these people think and what experiences they had that have enriched their lives and will enrich our lives.”

While the exact origin of this requirement remains uncertain, there is an understanding that it may be a state requirement. 

“It’s a graduation requirement,” Mr. Strassner said. “I’m not sure if this is a district or state requirement. I believe it’s is a state requirement.” 

Regardless of its origin, the introduction of an ethnics course at the high school level holds significant value in cultivating an inclusive and knowledgeable student body. The decision to implement this requirement specifically for ninth graders stems from the belief that starting early is crucial for effective learning. 

“They can’t start with students who are in tenth, eleventh or twelfth grade,” Mr. Stassner said. “It’s too late because they already have been through high school. They start new requirements for next year’s ninth graders and the future ones coming in.” 

By introducing the ethnics course in ninth grade, students have ample time throughout their high school journey to fulfill this requirement, while also ensuring that their schedules accommodate this valuable learning opportunity.

The introduction of the ethnics course is expected to enhance students’ understanding of the multicultural environment they are a part of. Mr. Strassner is hopeful for its effects. 

“Hopefully our kids will have a better understanding with the people they’re sitting next to in class so that they will understand them and the impact on our society of American history and the world as a whole,” he said. “Knowledge is power. Knowledge is king.” 

Although some students may not be initially receptive to the idea of taking an ethnics course, the potential for positive outcomes is possible if approached with an open mind. 

“Some people just don’t like thinking about whatever class they don’t like,” Mr. Strassner said. “I think if they go with an open mind and learn something new, then they’ll understand it’s positive.” 

While the exact details of the course’s implementation are still being finalized, it is recognized that individual teachers will play a crucial role in shaping the experience. The involvement of dedicated educators and their ability to create engaging and thought-provoking lessons will contribute significantly to the success of the ethnics course.

The school’s introduction of a mandatory ethnics course for ninth graders reflects a commitment to promoting cultural understanding and fostering knowledge among its students. By equipping them with the tools to appreciate diverse backgrounds and perspectives, the school aims to create a more inclusive and informed community. As the curriculum is finalized, the hope is that students will approach it with open minds, recognizing the potential for personal growth and positive impact on society.

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About the Contributor
Rainielle Santos
Rainielle Santos, Staff Writer
Rainielle Santos is a staff writer and a senior in her only year of journalism as a News/Features writer. Journalism aside, she is in the Medical Magnet and enjoys learning about current or upcoming trends on social media. Her hobbies involve listening to a variety of music, volunteering,  and studying medicine. She is currently involved in Key Club as a Lieutenant Governor for the CNH District and is President of the Filipino Culture club. Rainielle plans to attend a four-year university to continue her studies in medicine. 
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