Best V Form Electives: From Baseball to Flies

Jackie Williams ’24 in Features | October 7, 2022

Doing Philosophy with the Movie
  • Doing Philosophy with the Movies, taught by English Teacher Maggie Ray, is  a highly requested V Form English elective which landed first on many  scheduling sheets last winter and has been an exciting class for those lucky enough to receive a spot. The curriculum includes watching movies like The Truman Show, Rear Window, and Parasite. Malin Phelan ’23 described how this class is definitely different from prior Lawrenceville English classes she has taken “in the best way possible.” Students in the class discuss the philosophical components of the movies, read additional handouts to supplement the concepts introduced through the movie, and write essays analyzing specific scenes of each film. Kevin Chiang ’23 recommended the class to any V formers looking to maintain a balance among their classes for a less stressful V Form Fall Term. Phelan added that anyone with an interest in film or philosophy should try to get into the class. 
Sustainability Seminar
  • Many V Formers chose to join Director of Sustainability Stephen Laubach P’23 in his Sustainability Seminar course in the hopes of learning how to implement sustainable practice in their everyday lives while also learning about what sustainability looks like around the world. By distilling readings and taking notes on practical applications of science into everyday life, students in the class have been able to create a website on the best sustainable practices that should be implemented at Lawrenceville. While Ashley Lee ’23 notes that the course has a lot of homework, reading, and difficult projects, she also admires the importance of the material and thinks that it is a fun course. Students recently took a field trip to visit Arm in Arm, a soup kitchen located in Trenton, NJ, to learn about the efforts of regenerative agriculture, healthy food, and environmental justice in the local community. Lee’s interest in this class peaked after attending the Leopold Scholars’ Program over the summer.  She recommends the class to anyone who is interested in learning more about sustainability and helping the environment. 
Research in Molecular Genetics
  • Any V Former with an affinity toward genetics or an interest in how DNA works on a molecular scale should take Research in Molecular Genetics with Science Teachers Elizabeth Fox and Nicole Lantz. The class selectively breeds flies so that scientists at Stanford University can use students’ research to study a variety of different diseases. Because the fruit fly reproduces quickly and shares 60 percent of its genome with humans, they are ideal subjects for medical testing, allowing each student to find a unique tissue to be manipulated and expressed in the form of a project. Harry Lynch ’23 decided to take this course due to his past prefects, who “sung its proverbial praises,” and because of his interest in the “idea of fly dissection and using molecular genetics practically.” Lynch claimed that this course “allows for the most outside world impact,” as the work they do in the lab directly influences research on human disease. Lawrentians with a knack for biology or interest in breeding and dissecting flies should take this one-of-a-kind science course.
  • Ceramics, for many, is a great way to take a  creative break amidst a stressful school day. Taught by Art Teacher Rod Martino, the class is fun and laid-back as students learn to use a pottery wheel each session. Grace Walker’s ’23 eye has been on this course since her II Form year, and she was super excited to take it this term. Walker recommends this course to those who want to be artistic during the school day and have some time to enjoy learning how to create art.
Legal Practice and Procedures
  • Legal Practices and Procedure, taught by English Teacher Champ Atlee ’62 H’74 ’75 ’79 ’83 ’84 ’87 ’06 P’92. , is a perfect class for those who are interested in pursuing law. In this elective, V Formers are given samples of civil and criminal law cases and then have to act as lawyers/witnesses in the case. They also read over testimonies, prepare opening and closing statements, and cross examine people. Additionally, each week, they are assigned LSAT questions to which they have to apply a statute of law, followed by a write-up of their reasoning and a class debate. Mia Holub ’23 discovered an interest in law over the summer through an internship at a law school in New York City, which gave her experience as a research assistant and allowed her to audit weekly contract law classes. Holub recommends that “anyone who enjoys having debates or is confident speaking up in class” should take this course. This class is a great way to learn about topics which are not covered in other classes, and it usually has some great discussions as well!
Literature of National Pastime
  • English Teacher Stephen LaRochelle’s Literature of National Pastime, better known as “Baseball Lit,” is popular among many V Formers, from baseball players who know everything about the sport to students who know nothing. Ashley Lee ’23 falls under the “general understanding” category and “honestly thinks it's weird [she] chose this class because [her] understanding of baseball and its rules are limited.” However, her friend Lina Olazabal ’22 told her it was an interesting course. As evident from the name, students explore baseball through poetry, documentaries such as Pelotero and Koshien, and books like Moneyball. Lee recommends the class as it is pretty relaxed (that is, as long as you keep up with the reading) and it is a great opportunity to strengthen a love for baseball through literature. 
Literature and Innovation 
  • English Teacher Bernadette Teeley’s P’24 Literature and Innovation course has struck a chord among those who love to read and write. In the course, students look at both current and past innovations that have impacted their lives and write about the material to spark fruitful class discussions. Sean Scarpa ’23 took this course because he wanted to see how his “life has been impacted by innovation and how to view the world in different ways,” and he is “very happy with the [class] choice [he] got.” While he does feel that it is a very challenging course, he finds it is extremely rewarding and interesting. 
1619 Matters: The Emancipation Proclamation and American Literature
  • English Teacher Enithie Hunter’s 1619 Matters elective gets into the details of what truly happened in history, and digs into the dark and untouched past of U.S. history. Students in the class look at American history through a stronger lens than in many other Lawrenceville history classes, often reading less mainstream historical sources. The popularity of the class means that it is offered twice out of the three terms. Currently, people in the class are reading The 1619 Project, a book reframing the legacy of slavery. Kevin Chiang ’23 likes the Harkness-style aspect of the class and has found the content interesting and recommends the class to future V formers.