Students in newly offered courses study stories


Alex Edwards

SCI-FI STUDIES: In the new Science Fiction class, students analyze various stories relating to the genre.

Audrey Hagan, Staff Writer

From AP Calculus to Floral Design, hundreds of course offerings have been available for Bowie students to take. True Crime Genre Study, as well as Science Fiction & Fantasy are both new English elective classes this year. Both are yearlong classes that are available to both juniors and seniors.

True crime genre studies is a class run by teachers Chelsea McCaffery and Jamie Roberts and focuses on researching true crime cases through documentaries, readings, and podcasts. The class looks into how the crimes are presented to the public as opposed to what actually happened and how the crimes affect or even target marginalized groups of people. In this class, students write, analyze, and research different cases throughout history.

“For people that are interested in true crime, again, you’re just kind of getting to take the stuff that you’re already consuming on your own and making it accessible and adding a kind of academic side to it for students,” McCaffery said.

In true crime, students are given a broad topic and research something that pertains to that topic that they are interested in. Most of the homework in true crime is self selected research. Due to the nature of some of the crimes, a waiver must be sent out to parents at the beginning of the class. Additionally, true crime is a weighted honors level class.

“Just know that in this class you might have some belief that might be challenged about how our justice system works,” McCaffery said. “We’ll be looking at that. I also want you to be conscious that just because we’re looking at this because we’re interested in it there is a victim on the other side of it.”

TRUE CRIME STUDIES: Senior Jackson Stephens participates in a lecture led by former English teacher Chelsea McCaffery. “The content is actually pretty interesting,” Stephens said. “It’s like critical thinking skills. I think Ms. McCaffery is a great teacher and I’m really enjoying my time. Lauren Bogard

Science fiction & fantasy is a class run by Scott Dennis, and takes a look at not only different authors, but also various creatures in a fantasy setting. The class takes a look at fantasy through the lens of JRR Tolken and focuses mostly on writing from the last 150 years. This course also goes into creatures and aspects of fantasy that reflect parts of human psychology and thought process.

“At the time that it was created, the school was looking for more electives because we needed more electives,” Dennis explained. “And a lot of them were going to be based in English language arts. So we put in proposals and there were a few that were chosen, including this one. We didn’t have a lot of money to get it started up so I found stories and all that I thought would be fun and built the curriculum around them.”

The first semester of the class focuses on researching things such as elves, warlocks, dragons, and more. In addition, in the first semester students look into Norse mythology and Grimm’s fairy tales. The second semester of science fiction and fantasy digs more into the characters and authors of science fiction such as H.G. Wells, Isaac Asimov, and even George Lucas. The class will also look into the ethics of science fiction.

“There’s a lot of reading,” Dennis said. “There’s going to be a lot of higher level thinking when students kind of bounce off each other’s ideas. You know, take it and build, take it and build, take it and build.”

Both semesters there is one project and one semester exam, both of which are group projects. In this class, most work is done during school hours meaning there is minimal homework for students outside of class. Much like true crime genre studies, science fiction and fantasy is an honors level course and therefore is a weighted class.

“It’s a lot of fun,” Dennis said. “It’s very mentally stimulating, and you’ve got to have love for science fiction and for fantasy.”