Juniors drop fine arts and athletics from GPA

Playing+the+harp+during+class%2C+junior+Urja+Joshi+is+in+her+third+year+of+orchestra+on+campus.+Like+other+juniors+now+eligible+from+the+change+in+policy%2C+Joshi+makes+orchestra+from+counting+toward+her+GPA.

Sarah Boutouis

Playing the harp during class, junior Urja Joshi is in her third year of orchestra on campus. Like other juniors now eligible from the change in policy, Joshi makes orchestra from counting toward her GPA.

Lucas Barr, Editor-in-chief

Beginning this year and starting with the junior class (2021), students in Frisco ISD are able to drop fine arts or athletics classes from counting towards their GPA, per a 2019 change in district policy.

Planning to continue varsity volleyball next year, junior Emma Varela welcomes the change and has already taken advantage of the rules. 

“I decided to drop it because it was dropping my GPA since it counted as two on-level classes,” Varela said via text message. “Having volleyball exempt from my GPA helps me because I can stress less about having to bring my GPA up. I think it’s important that students can do fine arts and athletics without consequences. They can enjoy high school instead of just stressing about grades and they’re able to express themselves in a way most classes don’t let them.”

Violinist, junior Nandika Chirala, believes a student’s decision to play an instrument shouldn’t drag down their chance of getting a rank.

“I am definitely going to drop orchestra from counting towards my GPA next year,” Chirala said. “I wouldn’t trade my experience in orchestra for anything, but it can be frustrating when I practice so much, but our effort isn’t really reflected because it counts as an on-level class. This change let’s me work for a higher GPA without fine arts counting against me.”

Wishing she had a chance to exempt orchestra from her GPA in high school, senior Giorgia Mastrolorenzo thinks that the district should prioritize expression over grades.

“I wish that I had the chance to exempt orchestra from my GPA the last two years,” Mastrolorenzo said. When we’re in such a competitive environment at Liberty I think it’s wrong that people are stuck between their instrument and their grades. We should be encouraging expression, not making students give up music.”

Allowing students to drop a fine arts or athletics credit is a policy that should be extended even further according to journalism teacher Brian Higgins.

“I have had students tell me in the past that they can’t continue to take one of my classes because even if they get a 100 in the class, their GPA will take a hit and they couldn’t afford that,” Higgins said. “It’s a great policy, but I think there are students in other electives that work just as hard, if not even harder, and they should be able to also drop an elective such as yearbook or newspaper. My editors and producers put in more time towards newspaper and broadcast than is required my many AP classes, and they shouldn’t be penalized when it comes to GPA.”