More students traveling to other schools for special classes


CLS senior Jordan Fike travels to CG to take AP Art History, which is only offered here.

For many juniors and seniors, there’s a constant battle of having enough free periods and fun electives to remain in educational equilibrium. This battle has heightened this year as District 155 offers certain specialty courses at only one of the four high schools.

In order to take one of these courses, most students will need to leave their home building for part of their day. Even if you like the peers in your classes, you’ve probably wondered what it would be like to go to another school with an entirely different student populace. Depending on who you are, you will either view it with more hope or anxiety.

For the students who find themselves in this position, seeking opportunities to be involved in interesting classes elsewhere versus staying with who and what you know has been a struggle.

Luisa Nava and Sean Porter are juniors from Cary-Grove facing this decision. Jordan Fike and Kristin Anderson are seniors from Crystal Lake South who have already gone through it and are currently taking a class at CG.

Fike and Anderson are enrolled in AP Art History, while Nava is looking to take AP Spanish Literature at Crystal Lake Central. Porter declined the offer of taking cooking classes at Crystal Lake South.

“I chose to take a Spanish class at Central because it was not, and would never be, available here at Cary-Grove,” Nava said. “[AP Spanish Literature] is designed to help native Spanish speakers, like myself, to better enhance our grammar and literacy skills. Sure, it’s easy to speak any language, but when you can consider yourself biliterate, rather than just bilingual, it impacts your life greatly.”

Fike explained that AP Art History was originally offered at South, but not enough people signed up for the class.

“History and art are my favorite subjects, so I figured I gotta do it,” Fike said.

When the class fit is perfect, it can make the decision easier. However, some students are more invested in their extracurricular activities and school community than they are in taking a particular class.

“Though I would love [to take commercial culinary classes], I don’t wish to drive out to a different school,” Porter said. “They might have a better kitchen and cooking environment, but I’m more dedicated to the things I do here at CG after school and during the day. Going to another school would limit my options and resources, and really make it harder to do the things I love here at Cary Grove.”

The logistics of travelling from school to school are also a consideration when it comes to taking classes at other schools.

“I drive,” Anderson said. “We sometimes carpool. We have 8th hour off, which allows us time to get here.”

“I have a really sweet deal where my lunch period is right before my travel period,” Fike said. “I have one and a half hours to eat lunch and get to class, which is pretty neat.”

Nava plans to take other classes at CLC besides AP Spanish Literature, so no part of her day is wasted.

“Both Cary-Grove and Central vice principals have generally agreed that, for my benefit, I should attend classes early on at Central, and finish my day here at Cary-Grove,” she said.

Porter said scheduling was a major factor in deciding not to take classes at CLS.

“Some classes I take are only during certain periods, like band and choir, both being 7th and 9th period, respectively,” he said. “Going to CLS during the middle of the day and staying over there would have prevented me from taking those classes, which I enjoy taking and wouldn’t really want to take anywhere else.”
If everything works out, however, the experience can be a positive one. Anderson and Fike have no regrets.

“I think it’s amazing to be able to meet kids from another school in the district,” Anderson said. “We’re all pretty chill with each other, even though we’re not full time students here.”

“I get to have a conversation with everybody in the class, but with my other classes at South, I don’t have that,” Fike said. “That’s surprising due to the fact that I’ve known the South kids for a while, but I’ve just met the people from CG. I like to see an art department thrive, and I think CG’s flourishes in a different way than South’s.”

Both South students said that the CG kids were welcoming towards them, but their time here isn’t without one major flaw.

“CG is great, but the parking lot commotion is a lot worse than South’s,” Anderson said.

All four students have advice for any students who want to take classes that aren’t available at their school.

“100 percent do it,” Fike said. “This is one of the coolest experiences I’ve had in my high school career. 10/10 would recommend for everybody.”

Anderson offered advice to help with the social aspect of traveling.

“Find somebody who wants to take the class with you, especially if you’re nervous about it,” she said. “It’s amazing having Jordan with me, so you’ll know someone during a new experience. It’s so helpful.”

While Nava hasn’t taken a class at Central yet, she has had success in making a schedule that fits her particular situation and interests.

“If you are truly determined to work hard and put the effort into getting in a specific class that may not be available at Cary-Grove, find a way to take the class,” she said. “Originally, I was not going to take AP Spanish Literature because I was not going to have transportation. I worked extremely hard with both vice principals to find a way to get a bus, but I knew that if I wanted something so badly, I had to give a little back. I spoke to both vices and explained that if I could get a bus, I would not mind to take classes plus my requested class at Central.

“Because of those words, I was told a few weeks later that I would have a bus and I would take classes at both schools. The point is, you can´t let distance restrain you from your dreams. If you are willing to work with whoever you need to, the classes you want will mostly be incorporated into your schedule.

“At the same time, if you are a freshman or sophomore interested in an off-campus class, it’s never too early to get more information on the class or make a plan with the administration.”

Porter reminded students that learning doesn’t need to be confined to just what the high schools offer.

“If it fits into your schedule and you have time for it, then I would encourage you to do it,” he said. “But if you don’t want to make the trip, or even just like it better here, I don’t know, then just take the classes you can here, or, if you are truly passionate, take a course outside of school and practice whatever on your own time. High school is a time of learning, and you should do it your own way.”

If you want to take any classes at another D155 school that are not available here at CG, talk to your counselor to make the most of your high school experience.