Additional Electives

Understanding Electives:

The St. Mary’s curriculum is a four-year, college-preparatory experience that requires a student to accumulate academic and community service credits in order to graduate. These graduation requirements are enhanced by a variety of additional elective offerings. These elective offerings create student choice in core classes (math, science, social studies, English), world languages, fine arts, STEM/PLTW, and business education.


Below are the detailed descriptions of the additional elective courses being offered for the 2022-2023. Refer to the curriculum map to see which courses are available for each class.

745 Business and Personal Finance

Grade Level: Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior
0.5 credit
Prerequisite: None.
One semester. (Can count as 0.5 Math Credit)


Students examine, understand, and practice how personal financial management affects their daily lives in the area of banking, investments, credit, budgeting, insurance, and income taxes. Assessment includes both in-class exams and various projects including a career planning lab, a lab which includes creating financial goals, a budget, finding an apartment, paying monthly bills and expenses and filing a tax return. Students learn about business planning, ownership, financing and accounting.

Texts: Kapoor et al. Business and Personal Finance. Glencoe-McGraw Hill, 2007. (ISBN 10: 0-07-868712-8; ISBN 13: 978-0-07-868712-9)
Ramsey. Foundations in Personal Finance. The Lampo Group, 2014.
(ISBN 978-1-936948-12-3)

Print Media Journalism (newspaper, yearbook)

Grade Level: Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, Senior
1.0 credit
Prerequisite: None. Additional elective option only.

This elective course will teach you about the history of newspapers and magazines. You will look into the effects of radio, television, and the Internet on print journalism as well as study the role of journalists and other staff and their influence on business and politics. Bring your love for reading newspapers and magazines to the next level and develop your journalism skills.

This course produces both the school newspaper, The Jolly Roger, and the school yearbook.

Text: Jostens

Film as Literature

Grade Level: Junior, Senior
0.5 credit
Prerequisite: None. Taken as an additional elective and cannot replace an English credit.

Film as a medium is very popular with students in our current world.  It is therefore important for them to understand that high-quality film, like written literature, can be studied in similar ways.  This will be a very academic course that will allow students to discover the intricacies of character development, symbolism, plot development, rhetorical devices, and cinematography as they create meaning in film.  We will watch significant films that come from literature (such as Last of the Mohicans and Master and Commander) as well as original screenplays (Finding Neverland, and Dr. Strangelove).  Each film will have a preliminary lesson and either an essay or test to follow up the learning experience.  Students will be required to have a permission form filled out for R rated movies.

Creative Writing

Grade Level: Junior, Senior
0.5 credit
Prerequisite: None. Taken as an additional elective and cannot replace an English credit.

This semester elective will explore several different genres of writing: journaling, poetry, and short story.  The students will study examples of great literature by known authors. Each student will create an in-depth writing portfolio while the class compiles and publishes a literary magazine based on the works created in the class.

Text: Bird by Bird: Some Instructions of Writing and Life by Anne Lamott

955 3-D Art
Grade Level: Sophomore, Junior, Senior

0.5 credit
Prerequisite: Art I (958).

Students who like sculpture and/or ceramics should take this course. Students will learn to appreciate constructive art forms including wire sculpture, additive and subtractive sculpture, and working clay. Sculpture media includes, but is not limited to, altered books and electrical wire, plaster of Paris, wood and even some found material construction. Clay work will include tiles and basic clay techniques. Design of shape and form will be covered with historical examples and applications. A $45 supply fee is required.

The Business of Art
Grade Level: Sophomore, Junior, Senior

0.5 credit
Prerequisite: Art I (958).

956 Photography I (course will not be offered for the 2022-2023 school year)
0.5 credit
Prerequisite: Art I and Sophomore or higher-grade level.

This course is designed to introduce students to the fascinating world of black and white “art” photography. Students will learn about the history of photography and how to use a single lens reflex adjustable camera. Assignments will enhance student learning beginning with composition, singling out artistic elements such as line, shape, texture, patterns, and perspective. Photographic skills such as stop-action, use of depth of field, and landscapes will also be explored. Negative development and darkroom techniques will be learned, resulting in the final presentation of a student-produced portfolio/notebook. Due to the size of the darkroom, the class size is limited to a maximum of 8 students. A $70 supply fee is required. It is recommended that students supply their own 35mm SLR camera. A limited number of cameras are available for rental through the Art Department.

964 Photography II (course will not be offered for the 2022-2023 school year)
0.5 credit
Prerequisite: Photography I (956) and Department Approval.

Photography II is an intermediate level photography class. Students will explore the creative side of black and white photography, using a variety of darkroom techniques to enhance and/or correct images, build on their basic knowledge of making flawless photographs suitable for framing and exhibits at art shows and will encounter the fascinating world of high-contrast photography. Projects include manipulation of negatives and prints, portraiture, single subject isolation, imaginative shots, color tinting and hand coloring black & white prints. Photography notebooks must be maintained as a body of evidence as successful completion of class requirements. Due to the size of the darkroom, the class size is limited to a maximum of 8 students. A $70 supply fee is required. It is recommended that students supply their own 35mm SLR camera. A limited number of cameras are available for rental through the Art Department.