Seniors rave for new courses


Zainub Tremasi

During second period in the new Biomedical class, Mr. Hwang demonstrates how to find more information on the human body using a QR app. For students that have interest in becoming a doctor in the future, the new science class is offered in room X-2. “ It’s a very fun and interesting class to teach,” Mr. Hwang said. “I enjoy teaching it.”

Marilyn Ramirez, Copy Editor/Co-Editor-in-Chief

Just as all high schools in California follow the A-G requirements necessary to graduate, Downey is no different this year, with the exception of broadening the options of classes taken by primarily senior students. New courses that have been implemented are AP Environmental Science and Statistics. Both had been chosen in order to give seniors a wider variety of science and math classes to choose from, although they are available for underclassmen as well.

“I’m looking forward to what I’m going to be offered,” senior Anthony Sandoval said, who is enrolled in both AP Environmental and Statistics. “I think it’s really great we’re given more options just because some of us aren’t as science or math savvy.”

The goal of  the AP Environmental Science is to provide students with the scientific principles used to into making a shift into a more sustainable society by three major themes: solar energy, chemical cycling, and biodiversity. Teacher Ms. Karen Williams, although somewhat new to the subject, has emphasized the elasticity of the class, that it not only has the AP status, but it is enjoyable to partake in as well. Senior Jenny Guzman is one of Mrs. Williams’ students who appreciates this quality.

“I like to learn about the environment and broadening my mind,” Guzman said. “I feel comfortable with the workload.”

Mr. Greg Pittenger’s Botany classes, which are held just across the hall, aid AP Environmental students with an array of labs since the two subjects share certain environmental matters in their curriculum. Seniors hold majority in both classes, and when asked why exactly they decided to participate in them as opposed to Anatomy or Physics, some referred to the idea that these classes would improve their current GPA, but at the same time look prominent on their applications.

“I’m not a science wizard; it took me a  lot more effort to get me that passing grade in Chemistry than most kids,” Henry Ramirez, 12, said. “I needed something that wasn’t going to be too challenging but also give me that extra year in science.”

A separate option in the math department is Ms. Michelle Gunderson’s Statistics class. Statistics deals with probability, interpretation of data, and statistical problem solving.  Gunderson teaches Algebra I and II as well; she asked her students last year to spread the word of her new class which proved highly effective. Classes were filled above maximum and held a lengthy waiting list. Gunderson was forced to give another teacher one of her Algebra classes in order to open Stats for sixth period.

Gunderson had taken Stats herself in college, making her the suitable choice as teacher of the course. With that in mind, she sees Stats as a help towards those who will have to take it as a college course.

“It’s a hard course [in college],” Gunderson said. “I like teaching it a lot; it’s more challenging.”

She defends the difficulty of her class as a majority of students have rumored that it is an escape from taking a “more rigorous” course such as Trigonometry or Calculus.

“Just like any other class, it gets more difficult as the year goes on,” Gunderson said. “This isn’t an AP class; my hope is for it to be challenging but not where there’s a huge drop rate.”

With college applications just around the corner, seniors are doing as much as possible to make their course list look as impressive as possible. The addition of these two significant courses will help push the Class of 2013 just one step closer to standing out amongst thousands of applicants.