Sports and Society class makes a return after a two year gap

Shelby Kienast, Features Editor

After a two year period of not being offered, Sports and Society has made a return to Fenton High’s curriculum. The 2016-17 Curriculum Guide describes the course as a ‘sports-focused approach to learning by examining the role of sports in affecting American and world culture’. Due to an expanse of student interest in sports guided classes, the course has once again become available at FHS.

“Sports and society is one of the social studies electives we offer,” principal Mark Suchowski said. “Last year the number of students who requested the class wasn’t as high as the other social studies electives, leading to the discontinuation of the class.”

Though last year numbers of students who requested this course were not as high, this year, there was a vast increase in students interested in the class.

“Our schedule is student driven and this year there were a large amount of students who requested the course,” Suchowski said. “Sports and society is a junior and senior course so we wanted to give the seniors a chance to experience the class before graduating.”

Students EDP’s, or educational development plans, reflect student career interests. This year it was evident to administrators that careers in athletics were a prominent interest for students, further exemplifying the need for the return of the class.

“Through looking at the student EDP’s, we saw that there was an increase in students who wanted to pursue a career in athletics such as athletic trainers and sports managers,” Suchowski said. “Athletics are a major aspect of our culture and society and I think these careers appeal to students because of that.”

As the EDP’s displayed, many took this course as the first step in pursuing a career in the athletic world. Driven by her love of soccer, senior Abigail Quesnelle took the class in order to prepare for a possible job path as an athletic trainer.
“It was weird because I didn’t really know what to expect the class to be,” Quesnelle said. “I didn’t know what to expect from the class or what we would do. But, I knew this was the field I wanted to be in, so I am glad I took the class. It is different from usual classes but I like it.”

While numerous students in the class are student athletes working toward sports related careers, these are not required to take the course. In fact, all that is needed to take this course is an open mind and a passion for sports. Senior Leila Harmala decided to take the class due to her passion for sports outside of school.

“While I don’t play any sports in school, I do participate in MMA, which stands for Mixed Martial Arts, and used to play basketball as well,” Harmala said. “Sports are just a major interest of mine and I figured that it’s my senior year so I might as well give the class a shot.”

With the class being gone for the past two years, some students felt intimidated to go into a class that they have little or no prior knowledge about. However, junior Noah Stark didn’t let this stop him from taking the class.

“Although it’s been gone for a while, I wasn’t hesitant to take the class,” Stark said. “I love sports, and I knew a bunch of people who would be taking the class as well. So, I knew it would be fun because it’s something I am very interested in and I would know a lot of people.”

Students in the class have already learned about various ways that sports affects our society as a whole. The class analyzes historical and present day athletic events and discusses the impact they have on the world around us.

“One of the things we talked about was 9/11 and how the Yankees helped everyone effected through that and brought the city together,” Quesnelle said. “But we’ve also talked about how sports can help people in general, like how students in high schools in poor areas focus on athletics to help them through that.”

One of the major ways the class has students learn about the impact of athletics on society is through students dividing into groups and inviting speakers to come talk to the class. The speakers are usually people with careers in the sports world, with jobs ranging from professional athletes to athletic trainers and everything in between.

“We have groups where we get our own speaker for the class to come in for the class,” Quesnelle said. “I have Madeleine Welch in my group and we’re thinking about bringing in her brother because he’s a college football player.”

The comeback of Sports and Society has opened new learning opportunities for becoming involved with the sports world. Students are encouraged to look into and sign up for the course if they have the intent of pursuing a career in athletics or if they simply have a passion for sports.