How do you feel: Fine arts and applied academics

Sebastian Zhang

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Attending school in the technology-centered Silicon Valley, students may devote more time to the STEM subjects, focusing less on required fine arts and applied academics courses. However, these classes develop students in less obvious ways, such as building visualization and handyman abilities. Five staff members and students give their opinions on the benefits and disadvantages of the fine arts and applied academics credit requirement, with a general consensus that it helps students become more well-rounded.

Industrial technology Teacher Ted Shinta
Shinta feels that art builds outside skills.

BENEFITS: Art can really help a student develop their ability to visualize and to imagine things. Many studies have shown [that] people who listen to music [or] appreciate music do better in math.

DISADVANTAGES: I guess the disadvantage for the student is that they’re forced to take a class that they may not necessarily want to take.


Senior David Deng
Deng feels that while fine arts classes can benefit some David Dengstudents, they often waste time.

BENEFITS: I feel like you can possibly be more well rounded this way.

DISADVANTAGES: Say someone just absolutely sucks at art and is interested in something related to engineering or business… then I think that doing art related stuff is a waste of time. I mean, you take an art class, you’re not gonna be made an expert from this kind of thing.

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Senior Amol Upahdyay
Upadhyay feels that certain fine arts/applied academics classes can turn out to be enjoyable.

BENEFITS: I had to take photography because of a fine art [requirement], and I thought it was going to be a really boring class, but it actually turned out to be really fun.

DISADVANTAGES: I feel like I didn’t learn anything that would have helped me through the future [in an applied academics class I took].

Mr. White
Assistant Principle Mike White
White believes that applied academics courses can be very useful and bring no disadvantages.

BENEFITS: What I learned in my woodshop class [in eighth grade], I still use those skills to build things around my house, around campus, so they were very useful skills. And that’s one that people don’t see the benefit of it; you might not until much later in your life, when you go… “How do I hang the door, how do I route out a piece of wood?”

Art Teacher Jodi Johnson
Johnson believes that art classes teach students to think critically.

BENEFITS: I think for some classes, there’s a lot of critical thinking that goes along with it that you don’t necessarily get other places in school. For example, in the 3D Design class, or in what used to be the ceramics class, there’s a lot of things where you’re actually required to design something and then follow through with that concept.

DISADVANTAGES: [Maybe] students feel like they want to spend more time on their academics, and doing their studying and doing their homework, but I just feel like having that break in your day is so healthy.