By Meghan Byrnes and Olivia Byrnes
Editor-in-Chief and Assistant Editor of Production
Senior year comes with many privileges and new freedoms, but it is also the year when students have to make some important decisions. One of the first decisions made is whether or not to take physics during senior year. To graduate from Jamesville-DeWitt High School, students only need to pass three science classes, so being the fourth year of science, physics is optional for seniors. The Darien Lake trip for physics students at the end of the year has been an incentive in the past for students to take the class. However, 2015 is the last year of this trip.
At first, hearing that this is the last year of the trip may make underclassmen panic. However, physics teacher Rich Adler has an explanation that might calm them. Mr. Adler says he pushed for the ending of the physics trip because it was really not a true physics trip anymore. “It’s become mostly a senior class trip but because it’s still called the physics trip not all seniors get to go. I wanted to change that,” said Mr. Adler. His goal is to have a trip next year but make it available to all seniors, not just those who take physics. According to Principal Paul Gasparini, the decision about next year’s trip will be up to the senior class government and adviser Michael Keenan. Mr. Keenan is still unsure about having a trip next year because it depends on what the senior class officers want to do as well as what their class’s financial situation. Therefore the final decision about a senior trip will not be made until the beginning of next school year.
Since this is the last year of the physics trip, some juniors are reconsidering their decisions to sign up for physics next year. Junior Connor Evans didn’t believe people when he was told the trip would be cancelled. “I know going through chemistry and biology that science isn’t my strong suit but I thought if there was a trip at the end of the year it would be worth it, so now I might have to change my schedule,” he said. Although they are sad to miss out on the trip, juniors Melissa Murphy, Kate Norton, and Miles Chandler are happy with their decision to take physics. “I want a challenging senior curriculum,” said Chandler. Murphy and Norton agreed that they were originally taking it just for the trip, but after finding out that the trip was cancelled they wanted to take physics to stick with a science course.
Many of the seniors who took physics this year do not regret their decision to enroll in the class, and say that the lack of a trip wouldn’t have changed their decision. Senior Carlie Evans said the trip didn’t influence her to take physics because she doesn’t like amusement parks. She took the class because she thinks it’s important to have four science credits instead of just the required three. Senior Rachel Redmore agreed; “I probably would have taken it, but I wouldn’t be as excited about it without a trip. I would say take it because it’s not a hard course and Mr. Adler is really good. (Also,) colleges like to see it.”
Some seniors who were in the advanced placement physics class, like Brian Cieplicki, recommend regents for the juniors next year. “I wanted to take AP physics (because) I thought it would be fun, but it wasn't as fun as I thought it would be. Don't take AP physics unless you really want to go into engineering or something like that, but definitely take regents. It's good for your brain,” he said. Seniors Alex Dieroff, Mack Palin, and Troy Killian took AP physics because it was tied to their future, since they all hope to pursue a career in engineering or another technical field. “I’d still tell them to take it, you learn a lot if you’re going into technical fields, but if you’re going for liberal arts stuff then it probably isn’t necessary,” said Killian about the advice he would give juniors. Senior Kallen Prosak, who takes AP physics, and Braeden Doust, who takes regents physics, went against the norm, and said that the physics trip was a major influence in their decision to take physics. “Don’t take AP, but I still recommend it,” said Doust about taking the class in general.
Physics teacher Amy Boettger doesn’t believe the lack of the trip will change enrollment. “If the only reason that you are taking it is to go to Darien Lake, just go to Darien Lake. I don't think there should be any correlation but who knows, maybe its a big draw,” she added. Mr. Adler agreed saying that if the only reason students are taking physics is because of the trip then they really shouldn’t be in the class anyways.