Do students a favor, require independent living, a lifesaver

Sofia Ruliffson

Illustration by Anna Silverman

Every June, students line up along the amphitheater, ready to receive their high school diploma and begin a new chapter of their lives. Parents watch with pride and joy as their child starts to take on adulthood. However, graduating high school comes after students have mastered the core curriculum, which typically consists of writing, reading and math. There is no requirement for students to learn about finance, job interviews, taxes or other real-life topics that are essential for students to know in the real world. Therefore, having a mandatory home economic (HomeEc) class or unit would be highly beneficial for all Redwood students. 

 HomeEc courses vary at different schools worldwide; at Redwood, the school offers a course called Independent Living to juniors and seniors. Nicole Plescia teaches the class and explains that it covers all sorts of skills for living on one’s own.

“It’s a fun class, and it’s hands-on. I think students appreciate that what we cover is real-life stuff, and without a doubt, it is [material] that they can take on and use after Redwood,” Plescia said. 

Students need training in HomeEc courses that can successfully help them with the transition from childhood to adulthood. For example, it would be advantageous for students to learn what to do in emergencies, such as how to deal with household fires. 

Many students want to take HomeEc classes, especially those preparing for college. Christian Royal, a senior currently enrolled in Independent Living, explained what encouraged him to take the class.

“[I wanted a] course that could help me prepare for going off to college and give me skills that no other class has taught me about [such as] cooking, finances, all a range of issues that I know I [will] have to use,” said Royal. 

According to a Cub-Bark survey, 72.5 percent of students think there should be a mandatory HomeEc class at Redwood, and 89.7 percent feel that a HomeEc course would be beneficial for their future. 

Having a mandatory HomeEc course at Redwood is not only helpful but essential. Several subjects that the Independent Living class covers are lessons that individuals will use forever. 

“We have a unit on job search, so students work on cover letters, resumes, eye contact, perfecting the handshake and a mock interview,” Plescia said. “[We cover] everything having to do with apartments; how to get an apartment lease, PG&E bill and conflict resolution with roommates.”

Over the past year, COVID-19 has forced students to participate in distance learning from home. Plescia explained how several individuals discovered the gaps in how they function independently over the pandemic. 

“Being at home all the time makes you realize all the things you don’t know how to do,” Plescia stated. 

If Redwood had a mandatory HomeEc class or unit, students would feel prepared to face future challenges or simply everyday life after high school; yet, it remains an elective at Redwood.

“I think a lot of kids should take this course. It’s a worthwhile class, it’s a ton of fun to teach and I think all of the kids benefit from some of the things we do for sure,” Plescia said. 

For many, it feels as though Redwood measures students’ success through their GPA and the colleges they are accepted to. Our community fails to realize that these things do not measure how well students are prepared to live independently or how successful they will be. If Redwood had a mandatory HomeEc class or unit, the school could continue to celebrate students’ academic achievements and parents could be reassured that their children are educated on how to tackle real-life situations once they leave the nest.