Phoenix Plan Their Futures

Rising freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors learned more about potential courses for next year at curriculum night on Jan. 5.


Nicolas Biernacki

Phoenix asked questions at the Curriculum night on Jan. 5.

Nicolas Biernacki, Staff Writer

On Jan. 5, the hallways were lined with tables, housing brochures, and trifolds advertising courses ranging from statistics to Spanish. Gourmet foods and childhood education teacher Shannon Hunter was one of the teachers who put together a display for curriculum night. “Curriculum night is super important especially for courses like mine,” Hunter said. “I’m a brand new teacher and unless you’ve gone downstairs to my corner of the world, you will have no idea who I am.” 

Hunter encourages all students to take career-oriented classes. “It’s imperative that students take career and technical education classes, otherwise students will have this knowledge of math, science, and history, but no real life skills,” Hunter said.   

Curriculum night isn’t only beneficial for teachers, but for students as well. Sophomore Yug Kolla deeply considers his teacher’s opinions when it comes to upcoming courses. “[Teachers] are the ones who are going to be teaching the classes and they know what’s in it,” Kolla said. As Kolla enters his junior year, he is starting to focus more on taking courses that will prepare him for college. “In my first year, I was taking stuff that I was interested in, while this year I’m considering my pathway more,” Kolla said. To prepare himself for his future career in engineering, Kolla plans on taking DE physics next year. 

Curriculum night provides the opportunity for students to essentially create their own schedules, which is one of the major differences between middle and high school. Sophomore Shreshtt Maddisetti has used the increased flexibility of high school to expand his interests. “Personally, I like the freedom because it gives me wiggle room to take classes that I’m newly interested in,” Maddisetti said. 

School counselor Jennifer Domingues encourages students to consider balance when deciding classes. “Our students are so heavily involved in various extracurricular activities, so they should take that into account so they also have time to relax and enjoy life with family and friends,” Domingues said. 

Maddisetti has found balance by taking marketing classes and is now a member of DECA. “I’ve chosen electives that push me out of my comfort zone and make me think critically,” Maddisetti said.  

The MATA program at the academies of Loudoun is another option for students to pursue. “If there are elective courses that aren’t of interest here [at Rock Ridge] or students want to fine-tune their curriculum, then there might be offerings at the Academies that are of interest,” Domingues said. 

As the course selection process continues into the spring, Domingues encourages students to seek out assistance from the counseling department, in addition to their mandatory counselor meetings.  These meetings will take place at the end of January for underclassmen, and into February for rising seniors. “Students are always welcome to do a follow up meeting if they have more questions,” Domingues said.