Language courses at MHS lacking variety

Students can petition for more

Yunmi Kim , reporter

On registration day at McKinley High School,  I was handed the 2014-2015 course catalog along with the registration card to pick my new classes for my senior year. Most of my core classes were already decided because it was just math, reading, science, and social studies. When picking my elective class, I was looking for a language course besides Japanese since I was already taking it,  but i found out that McKinley High School only has three languages to choose from. I still had to fulfill two years of a language course, so I picked Japanese 3A/3B. I wondered, did all public high schools have only three language courses or do they offer much more than what McKinley does?

“Students and teachers determine what language classes we have at McKinley High School.” “If a certain number of students are interested in a certain language course along with a teacher who is able to teach that course, then it is possible to have that class,”  Japanese teacher,  Faith Yokoyama said.

Other public schools such Roosevelt has a Japanese, Korean, Spanish, Hawaiian, and French class where all of these language classes are from level 1-3 except for Korean, which is only available as level 2. Roosevelt also has an AP Japanese class. Kaimuki high school has only Japanese and Spanish class at levels 1-4. Kalani high school offers Japanese, Chinese, and Spanish. As for Moanalua high school, this school offers Japanese level 1-4, Chinese level 1-2, Spanish Level 1-4, Hawaiian level 1-4, German level 1-4, and French level 1-3.

What do McKinley students want for their language courses? Senior Alexandra Kaohi wanted to have Korean for her language course.  “I strongly recommend Korea because Korea, Japan, and China are the largest Asian countries, and many people are focused on K-drama and K-pop. I think that our language courses lack in variety; I would want language courses such as Russian, Korean, Thai, and Vietnamese,” Kaohi said.

“Students can either start a petition or ask the foreign language chairperson, Ms. Oda, to have their input be taken to Mr. Okamura for their voice to be heard,” Vice principal Rickey Price said. Because the class schedule and curriculum have already been set for the year of 2015-2016, the class of 2016 will not be able to have the chance of having another language course. “It comes down to student interest”, and so far “It never came up,”  Price said.  In addition, adding a new language course would require Mr. Okamura’s approval as well as the Department of Education.  It would take up “the entire school year” to plan, Price said.  So, if the class of 2017, and so forth want to have a foreign language course of their own, they must plan quickly, at least before the registration week for picking new classes for the next school year.