By Dakota An
Tech offers a unique major system that is not found that in any other specialized high school. And besides just a tailored curriculum for the last two years of high school, majors offer a community within the largest high school in the nation.
The first major fair was hosted this year, where upperclassmen set up tables and helped nearly 600 sophomores become acquainted with the majors by sharing information about classes, expectations, and experiences. With a sheet organized to help students jot down the pros and cons of each major, the student-centered major fair allowed sophomores an earlier chance to begin thinking about what community they want to be a part of for the next two years.
Debora Chan, a new arrival to the guidance department, worked along with Johnny Ventura, a guidance counselor for the Chemical Engineering major, to help put this event together. “It’s a realization of how college is going to look. This is the small scale,” says Chan regarding the importance of the major system.
Daniel Kaganskiy ’14, who represented Law and Society, did not want to disappoint. Aside from making jokes to ease interactions, Kaganskiy informed students of what they were in “Some information I told aspiring sophomores was that it’s definitely not one of the easy majors. I also told them that they should be pretty talkative because teachers in Law and Society like to have class discussions.”
Kaganskiy admitted that not all the students who attended were as enthusiastic as himself. “The sophomores were really shy. I think that the people that wanted to learn about the major did, [but] those who just went casually to check out random majors didn’t learn as much.”
Overall, Ventura was happy with how the event turned out and sees seniors as having a “civic responsibility” to engage in community building such as this. Besides this event, he helped organize the holiday party for his major, which included food, games, and watching several chemistry teachers play Wii.
Despite efforts on Ventura and students’ parts, others believe that students in a major are still not very close to one another. Jackie Salwa ’14 likes Law and Society because she is able to surround herself with people with shared interests, but she feels that not everyone interacts with one another.
She jokes, “I think a good half of the major is extremely close. And the half that isn’t: it’s kind of their fault for not trying. It’s not that hard to get to know a bunch of loud, obnoxious future lawyers and politicians.”
With regards to the upcoming Law and Society party, Salwa thinks it will be fun but will be surprised to see anyone who is not already very involved with the major.
Ventura is currently trying to further the connection between students in his major with a new project called “Mentoring Matching”, in which each senior is paired with a junior to give guidance throughout the year. He is also planning more trips related to Chemical Engineering as well as an alumni panel where previous members of the major can discuss how the major affected their college experiences.
The major program is an excellent opportunity for students to become better acquainted with each other in such a large school. Though as Salwa and many others express, not everybody takes full advantage of it. However, hopefully through Ventura and other guidance counselors’ efforts this may change.