Malden High School’s Growing History Department

Hadjar Yousfi and Meriam Bouchtout also contributed to this article.

Over the years, the Malden High School history department has grown immensely, flourishing into the rich department that we know it to be now. With several exciting classes to take, and fun, kind teachers, the history department is truly a place where students can learn and grow. 

With the multitude of elective classes the history department has to offer, students find themselves excited to take new classes. From Foundations of Law to AP Psychology, students always have something to look forward to. 

The history department holds a lot of important electives that are incredibly interactive and exciting for students, including Mock Trial, Criminal Justice, and the most recent addition being Speech & Debate which is set to become a class next year, as it is currently only run as a club with the help of advisor Kurtis Scheer.

Just this past year, many new classes have been added including Facing History and Ourselves, Reflections on Race and Identity, and Psychology Honors. Though students are excited about these additions, many are still hoping for even more exciting classes to be added. “AP European History or Human Geography sounds interesting to me, especially Human Geography. I don’t really know what it is, but it sounds cool and I've heard of it at other schools,” explained sophomore Linh Do, an AP United States History student.

“There are some AP classes in the history/social science department that we don’t offer yet,” expressed AP and Honors Psychology teacher Ann Pember. She feels as though many students have expressed wanting to see including the newest history AP African American Studies. “I would love to see a World Religion class,” said sophomore Fiona Youmell when considering how she would love to see the department grow. 

Helen Xie, a junior at MHS taking AP World History, enjoys taking history classes and feels that they are vital to our education. “It’s important to know how our past can affect our country and also other countries as well. I also find interest in history and government itself,” said Xie.

Youmell enjoys taking history classes at MHS and has taken some interesting classes, her current one being AP US History. “My experience in the history department has been good, the teachers are honestly really nice,” said Youmell. The History Department offers a lot of great classes and opportunities but also considering the amount of work is important. “I really like my class. It's very interactive but a lot of reading and notes which is challenging,” said Youmell.

Photo of the Speech and Debate team. From left to right, top to bottom: Aldino Talic, Jelani Tah, Thomas Conti, Shahd Abdulghani, Makiela Scott, Arya Shah, Nick Duggan, Kurtis Scheer.) Photo submitted by Scheer.

Senior Shawree Edwards enjoys taking history classes and has taken two APs, AP World History and Psychology. “AP World History was one of my favorite classes because of the teacher I had, Ms. Veritas. Although the class was a lot of work, she taught us very important test-taking skills and knew how to make the lessons interesting,” Edwards explained.

“I’ve always been interested in history. However things can get a bit repetitive when it comes to US history so hope the classes can lead into each other better in the future,” Edwards confessed. Edwards is hoping to pursue Psychology in college. “AP Psychology is new but interesting to me. After taking the class so far I am very excited to pursue Psychology in college,” Edwards said.

“I hope more teachers get hired in the future, I can see how having so many classes can get overwhelming for teachers teaching multiple subjects,” Edwards explained. 

More students are selecting the same classes or want a bigger variety of class options, and unfortunately, the school can only offer so much. “I wanted to do Mock Trial but I don't think I can because it only runs one period so I would like to see that change,” said freshman May Ihiri.

Pember is very happy with the department at MHS but would love to see more growth, in both staff and course offerings. “It would be nice for every teacher to be able to teach an elective as well as a core class,” said Pember.

There have also been lots of new things going on and settling in that everyone like the students and staff have been getting used to. “I think all of the staff have been doing a great job keeping up with this,” said Scheer.

There were some specific areas of the department that the department's leader Scheer thought deserved recognition. “I definitely want to highlight all the work of our Modern World History teachers, which would be (Ann) Pember, (Jonathan) Copithorne, (Courtney) Brazz, (Marsha) Healy, and (Carlos) Lu.” Although it doesn’t end right there towards the end he thinks the entire department deserves a shout-out.

President Makeila Scott in Mock Trial, urging students to take Speech and Debate. JESSICA LI

Some of the overall goals that teachers all have in common for the history department are for better comprehension skills, writing, and just higher standards when it comes to the quality of the work. History teacher Richard Tivnan hopes to improve “skills as far as reading, writing and being able to evaluate sources and to be able to go to the real world and apply it to politics and form citizens.”

“I hope more teachers get hired in the future, I can see how having so many classes can get overwhelming for teachers teaching multiple subjects,” Edwards explained. More students are selecting the same classes or want a bigger variety of class options, unfortunately, the school only offers so much.

Makeila Scott, captain of Mock Trial and President of Speech and Debate, is a lover of all things history. “The Cookies and Civics, stuff like that is really important just so students have more opportunities to learn this type of stuff,” said Scott.

“When we have a mock election, people should learn about the candidates on the ballots, I have people asking me who these candidates are,” said Scott, she believes “it's something we should prioritize teaching students.”

As Sheer previously stated, the school faculty is trying its best to help students learn and have a wider variety of classes. “My dream is coming true with the Speech and Debate one right now, but I would love to see a pop culture or contemporary history class so things that are taking place currently. I would also love to see more specific electives that aim closer to South America, Asia, or Africa, some types of continental specifics,” says Scheer. 

Scott is excited to see Speech and Debate finally added to the curriculum. “I’m so excited, this is something that I’ve been looking for, for a while, and we’ve been fighting for it for a while.” 

“I think it opens the door for so many new students who just don't have time after school to join the club, and now they can hone their public speaking skills as a part of a class,” Scott said, emphasizing the value of this class.

There’s been plenty of progress from all of the staff and classes, there’s evident proof that shows getting aligned to content standards and getting ready for the end of this year and the beginning of the upcoming year. “Get out of your comfort zone, take a class even if you think you’re not interested in it,” Scott encouraged.

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