Beacon throwback: eclectic electives

Dani Wallace, Managing Editor

In 1963, being a Wilsonite was the pride and joy of the city. Nowadays, it’s fair to say that that assessment hasn’t changed. The school still has a wide range of things to be proud of, namely academics, athletics, and extracurriculars. 

Capturing school news and gossip for the first time in 1935, The Beacon has grown to what we see it as today. For the third edition of Beacon Throwbacks, we are revisiting January 1963, the 28th volume of The Beacon.




28 Electives Mark Term

Twenty-eight elective courses will be open to Wilsonites next semester in the fields of English, social studies, math, music, art, home economics, business and industrial arts.

All students may elect driver education, music appreciation or theory and typing 1a. Until they reach capacity, art, mechanical drawing, shops, advanced typing and choral and instrumental music classes will also receive new students. Girls with any amount of sewing experience may choose a clothing course.

Juniors and seniors may study Latin American history, law, sociology and speech. All seniors are eligible for advanced geography and world problems. Those in the college preparatory track may take college algebra or solid geometry. Seniors in college prep and honors tracks may choose creative writing.

Those who have had two semesters of typing are eligible for a course in office machines and practice. Senior girls may take child study.




As current Jackson-Reed students begin the transition into the second semester, the high school experience is different than it was 60 years ago. Learning was certainly different in relation to gender roles, with classes such as child study and clothing-based classes. These classes only being available for women of a certain age attending high school is clearly an example of dated gender roles and sexism. 

Despite the sexism that certain electives were rooted in, teaching trade-based skills in the classroom is beneficial for students who choose not to attend post-secondary school. There are currently some available classes at Jackson-Reed that may satisfy the urge to reach outside of the classroom and into an industrial field. Academy pathways, such as the Academy of Hospitality and Tourism and the Creative Media Academy, and assorted classes, such as industrial woodworking and pottery, are opportunities to try something new, so get inspired! Get out there! •