Expanding Educational Endeavors at NDP

New Elective Classes: Medical Ethics, Philosophy of the Human Person, and Personal Finance

Students in the Medical Ethics Honors class engage in a seminar with teacher Mr. Coast. (Sarah Ziemann/The Seraphim)

Students in the Medical Ethics Honors class engage in a seminar with teacher Mr. Coast. (Sarah Ziemann/The Seraphim)

By Sarah Ziemann, Staff Writer

Is an embryo a living organism? What is abortion and its place in medicine? What is the Catholic belief on abortion?


The answers to these questions (and many more questions) can be discussed in one of the brand new classes offered at Notre Dame Preparatory. New classes are offered at NDP every year, but there are three excellent classes with brand new curriculums for the 2017-2018 school year. Medical Ethics Honors, Philosophy of the Human Person Honors, and Personal Finance have never been offered before at NDP, and each centers on important aspects that could be helpful for students in the future.

Medical Ethics is an Honors course taught by Mr. Coast that studies ethical issues related to health care with consideration of Catholic beliefs and ideology. There are many controversial and current issues that should be considered and discussed by high school students, such as end-of-life, politics, and violence, and Medical Ethics offers a safe environment for students to discuss and express their opinions. The class was started for students who want to be doctors and want to explore beyond just scientific facts.


“I thought it was an interesting subject, and I hadn’t seen it before on the schedule selector,” stated Medical Ethics student Trevor Gannalo.  Just in the first three weeks, Gannalo has learned “about philosophy and how it relates to medicine.” Gannalo enjoys the class, particularly having only eight students is very helpful.


Medical Ethics is designed for a small number of students, which is perfect for the “seminar-style” method of learning. However, Coast hopes for the class to grow in size next year, and he claims there are many benefits to the class, such as learning new study skills, getting an introduction to philosophy, or engaging in seminars.


“It’s a great way to engage in dialogue, even with people who may not have the same viewpoints as you,” Coast proclaimed.

Philosophy of the Human Person Honors also focuses on new, controversial issues that young adults will need to face in the near future. New teacher, Mr. Lefor, will be instructing the class G period in the second semester, and there are currently “about a dozen” students enrolled, he said.



Student Trevor Gannalo holds up notes from his Medical Ethics Honors class. (Sarah Ziemann/The Seraphim)


“Anytime we have a political theory, or a social theory, or an ethical theory, there is some idea of what a human being is that underlies it,” Lefor explained. “So, in Philosophy of the Human Person, we try and set a good foundation.”


This class goes much deeper than the general philosophy class offered at NDP, and it specifically focuses on “how we know things, how the body is related to soul, [and] why some things are considered ethically good and ethically bad,” Lefor said.


Although students could take one class or the other, Coast claimed that Medical Ethics Honors and Philosophy of the Human Person Honors work hand-in-hand. The discussion of current and controversial topics makes these two classes exceptionally relevant. Medical Ethics has already discussed abortion and the rights of an embryo, and Philosophy of the Human Person dares to dive into these debatable concepts as well.


Lefor declared, “It’s a good opportunity to not just respond to these questions, but to actually think about these questions. I think it’s one of the most important questions that our society faces right now: what is the human person and what does it mean to be human?”


Another new class that has been in the works for a long time is Mrs. Martinez’s Personal Finance elective. The class is perfect for seniors who are preparing to become adults. Students will learn about taxes, job interviews, careers, budgeting, saving, and anything that could happen while they are an adult.

Senior Natalie Zarasian exemplifies what she might learn about in Personal Finance class. (Sarah Ziemann/The Seraphim)




“Students really like it, and they really need it,” Martinez said in regard to Personal Finance.


The class is offered H period both semesters, and there are approximately 25 students in each class. Martinez encourages juniors to take it before taking Economics during their senior year, but she claims all are welcome to join the class.


Senior Emily Munn declared, “Personal finance is really important to learn because you’ll always need it in your life.”


Only a handful of NDP students have decided to fill their elective spaces with these new classes. The teachers of these classes are hopeful that the group of students involved will continue to grow, because the topics that are being discussed are incredibly relevant. These new classes teach students how to act as adults, and many high school teenagers sometimes forget that adulthood is right around the corner.