The Case for Honors Social Studies


I am a senior at Hanover High School. Most of my time here has been spoken for; I have taken most of the classes I either wished to or had to take, and my transcript is nearly complete. I have enjoyed many of these classes, and have had what I believe to be an excellent academic experience. 

There is, however, a glaring hole in the Program of Studies here at HHS: the lack of any honors social studies classes. These would have higher levels of rigor than the base-level versions, which would better hone students’ abilities in the subject, and would better reflect students’ passion on their transcripts. Honors classes exist in every other subject at Hanover – math, science, language, and English all have them. The consequences of this discrepancy amount to not only an inconvenience but a fundamental disadvantage to kids who excel in or love the subject. 

One fact must be agreed upon: to be admitted into elite institutions after high school, students must excel in high-level courses. Thus, students who want to go to these types of institutions must take these classes. I have spent my high school career toiling away in honors math and language classes, classes I am not nearly as passionate about compared to government and politics. Most of my time out of class has been spent on these subjects; they are honors classes with high levels of rigor and large workloads, and my social studies classes simply are not.

Why is this the case? Why am I, someone who is passionate about how humans shape their society through laws and institutions, spending all of my time outside of school balancing chemical equations? Hanover must stop forcing students into academic boxes they simply don’t fit into. 

The argument for honors social studies classes is not just limited to high-achieving students, however. I am not exaggerating when I say that there are many students here who aren’t STEM-oriented and who don’t particularly enjoy English or language but are passionate about  subjects like government and economics. Is there no place for them to excel in this school?

A soon-to-be-introduced motion in the Social Studies department (which will be voted on within the department) would begin to make the changes necessary for those students to find their place. The motion would create honors-level classes in U.S. History, American Government, and Geography and Geopolitics. This motion is a clear step in the right direction, and it is imperative that the department pass this motion to ensure that Hanover finds space for all students to excel in the academic disciplines of their choice.

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