New classes at Ben Davis

Courses to add to your schedule

As the school year draws to a close, underclassmen are frenzying to finalize their schedules for next year. Students who have not yet selected their courses for certain may want to consider taking one of these three classes that Ben Davis will offer for the first time next year.


Class: AP human geography

Teacher: Social studies teacher Robert Lewis

About the class: AP human geography involves more than memorizing names of countries and rivers. It will also teach students how humans influence geography—from migration patterns to how fast food restaurants choose their locations.

Why students should take it: According to Lewis, the course will be fun and different.

“I try to develop my courses through the mind-set of ‘Would I have enjoyed this when I was in school?’ and then develop the work for my students from there,” Lewis said.

Additionally, AP human geography will teach students to understand the world, maps and geography in a way that previous courses did not.

“This is not a memorize-the-map course, but a course that helps you understand why the map that you see is the map that has been chosen for you,” Lewis said. “Seeing the world through a different lens will be a very helpful skill that students will most definitely gain from this course.”


Class: American Sign Language

Teacher: undecided

About the class: This class teaches American Sign Language as well as deaf culture and history. Program coordinator Alan Hocker hopes to immerse students in the language by recruiting a deaf individual to teach the class.

Why students should take it: American Sign Language is the third most sought-after second language, which means college classes fill up quickly. Instead of fighting for a spot in a university course, students can learn the language now and receive college credit from Vincennes as well as foreign language credit from Ben Davis.


Class: Language for heritage speakers

Teacher: Spanish teacher Oriana Aravena-Labra

About the class: Designed for heritage Spanish speakers, this class will focus on improving students’ reading and grammar skills. Because the students will already speak Spanish fluently, it will place less of an emphasis on speaking skills than a course that teaches Spanish as a second language.

Why students should take it: Being able to read and write—as well as speak—in two languages will help students find jobs, as many companies are more likely to hire bilingual individuals. Heritage Spanish speakers already have an advantage over non-native speakers, so Labra encourages them to take the time to refine their skills in an environment custom-made for them.

“It makes you more marketable,” Labra said. “To be bilingual is money in your pocket.”