Why are the numbers 186 and 78 of interest to Faith Lutheran students? Because this year high school students have 186 classes from which to choose, and middle school students have 78 classes from which to choose. Each student only gets to choose 8 per year so middle school students get to take 24 of the 78 offered in their careers, and high school students get to take 32 of the 186 in their careers. So many choices, so little time!
Beyond the required courses in social science, English, math, physical education, science, foreign language, computer science, fine arts, and theology, middle school students can choose electives like Computer Game Programming, Guitar, Cyber Defense, Greenhouse Agriculture, Musical Theater, Spanish 1, Competitive Robotics as well as courses typically reserved for high school students like Spanish 1 and Honors Geometry. Annually, more than 80% of our middle school students choose to continue their education in our high school in part due to the vast academic offerings.
Newly launched courses for high school students this year include Electronic Music Production, Social Media Journalism, Principles of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Show Choir, Entrepreneurs in Electronic Music Production, Mathematic Analysis of Sports, Service Leadership and Missions, Chamber Singers, Visual Art and Graphic Design 2, Athletes PE - Boys Lacrosse, and Japanese 2. These were added to other unique offerings including Entrepreneurship, Computer Aided Design, Ballet, Ballroom Dance, Tap Dance, Performance and Sport Psychology, 3D Animation and Visual Effects, Criminal Justice, Mixed Martial Arts, Molecular Genetics, and 20 different Advanced Placement (AP) classes.
Some of the specialized courses are found in the Conservatory of the Fine Arts, Christ Academy, the WCG Academy of Business & Entrepreneurship, the Academy Film & Broadcasting, the Academy of Hospitality & Tourism, the STEM Academy, and the Justice & Advocacy Academy. However, students do not need to be a member of an academy to take classes that are offered through that academy.
High school principal Scott Fogo enjoys all the academic options presented to the students. “I believe that God created every person with a unique set of gifts and interests. I think MS & HS is the perfect time for students to explore those gifts and interests and determine if they want to pursue a particular field as a major or profession. We also believe that the combination of courses, experiences, and internships in the same field creates a very attractive graduate come college admissions time. Also, students report and appear to be having fun within our specialty courses. If students get to choose courses based on their own interests, it would make sense that they would be more enjoyable for them to complete.”
Middle school principal Sarah Harper concurred, “In our mission we seek to prepare students for their next level. The amount of MS courses offered gives those students opportunities to make choices and consider their God-given talents and interests in making those choices.”
Many course offerings are driven by faculty who have a passion in a certain area. Jose Diaz teaches Cyber Security classes to both MS and HS students. “I have always been fascinated with the topic since I was a kid. It has just been interesting to me to see how the world has changed; to take something that was hidden and frowned upon to be out in the open and encouraged amongst our kids. Who wouldn't want to be a part of that?! It has been an awesome experience teaching and guiding middle school and high school students the defensive and offensive cyber skills critical to today's business and financial infrastructure.”
Math teacher Ben Phelps teaches three sections of a class he developed called Mathematic Analysis of Sports, largely a sabermetrics class. “My motivation for starting the class was driven first and foremost with a desire to serve our students. In any mathematics class I teach, I want students to see how math connects to the real world. What I love about this class is that our students are working with statistics that are used daily. Whether it be the interpretation of an advanced statistic that you see displayed during a Major League Baseball broadcast or using the SQL database to calculate those statistics, students are able to see the math they are using in the classroom brought to life. Being able to teach students about statistics and share my lifelong love of sports makes this class unique and extremely enjoyable to teach.”
Among the business classes taught by Patrick Connolly is Entrepreneurship. He stated, “Entrepreneurship is a unique class where students get the opportunity to learn about the process of entrepreneurship and then are given the chance to put that knowledge into practice by creating their own enterprises. The class was created to help students to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams and to hear from some of the most influential business owners in the Las Vegas Valley. By the end of the course students can file the paperwork they have prepared with the Nevada Chamber of Commerce, and if they choose could formally operate their own business. I love seeing the creative ideas that students generate and seeing them go on to do amazing things as they progress with their businesses or their careers.”
Seniors Take Unique Courses
Many seniors have taken advantage of the wide variety of classes offered throughout their academic careers. Skyler Baldwin '20 noted, “When signing up for classes this year my intention was to take classes designed to prepare me for the line of work I wish to pursue while forcing me to think outside the box. Greenhouse Botany is unlike any other science class; the students are required to care about what they do. This teaches me to put love into my work. Mathematic Analysis of Sports peaks my interest because I want to learn about how to predict and interpret data within the database known as SQL (pronounced “sequel”). Foundations of Business allows me to make informed decisions based on real data. Lastly, Principles of Hospitality and Tourism provides me with a tool set I can use to create the best experience for each and every customer.”
Matthew Lea '20 discussed some of his classes “3D animation has been by far the most rigorous class I’ve taken during my high school career. The course is taught by Jose Diaz, one of Faith Lutheran’s best computer scientists. Mr. Diaz will challenge students by tasking them to learn how to make professional grade visual effects and 3d animations using software utilized by industry experts. Law Enforcement is taught by Vincent Cannito, a veteran of the USMC and LVMPD. We’re only about half way through the course right now, but it has been very interesting and unorthodox in terms of standard schooling. We do things like the practice of disarming individuals to suiting up in hazmat suits to deal with bio-evidence. Mr. Cannito also brings in guest speakers such as Air Force pilots and FBI evidence teams to tell the class what it’s like being in the field. Playwriting with Erik Ball has easily been my favorite class of all time. Mr. Ball teaches you how to act in the most colorful way possible. Everything in the class was so full of energy and fun that I would groan whenever we would watch a movie because I’d rather be giving an exaggerated Mike Tyson impression instead. Mr. Ball also excels at constructing class chemistry; by the end of the year, everyone in that class will be your best friend. Mark 10:14 is one of the best aspects of Faith Lutheran. It shows that we as a community can come together to help those who are most in need. Every Gold day, when I walk into the Mark 10:14 room as a mentor, I’m consistently delighted to see all of the kids and their bright and bubbly faces. I feel great knowing that I can help make lives better as a mentor by watching and caring for people who need more than just hugs. Psychology, taught by Coach Nathanial Knight is about taking a deep look into the human brain. If you are interested in the way humans think and how certain conditions affect us you should consider taking Psychology. When taking this class, expect to talk about things like what would happen if children are abandoned at birth or the effects of corrupted society.”
Josie Lipnick '20 has also taken multiple unique courses. “I'm an incredibly indecisive person and don't like to limit my ability to pursue different interests. I would never want to fully commit to a single activity and miss out on other experiences. I entered Faith with an interest in film, taking Honors Film Directing & Producing, but I was also able to take tap dance classes and pursue my curiosity in the music industry with the Entrepreneurs in Music. This year I'm also going a bit out of my comfort zone by taking Greenhouse Botany, but I figured I had the perfect opportunity to learn more about it since we have a new greenhouse at our school.”
At Faith Lutheran, learning extends far beyond the classroom on field trips, mission trips, athletic games (682 for HS and 413 for MS this year), 39 plays/recitals/concerts, adjudicated arts competitions, club activities, service events, pep assemblies, 6th grade trip to Pali, DECA, Mock Trial, We the People, Model UN, robotics, drones, science fair, Cyber Patriot, bioengineering, and app development. It is a beautiful thing to watch the passion and talents of so many students and adults come together to make learning come alive at Faith Lutheran.