By Andrew Howard ’17
Every day, Brophy and Xavier students make the walk to each other’s campuses to take classes their school doesn’t offer.
Xavier students can take many electives at Brophy, including languages that Xavier doesn’t offer such as Latin and AP Spanish IV. They can also take classes like AP Government and Economics, Advanced Video Production, Sculpture and more.
Ms. Kelly Guffey, who teaches some of the AP Government and Economics classes, said Xavier students add a different environment to the classroom.
“My classes are a large majority of male students, they usually have between one and five girls in the class,” she said. “It’s interesting because we talk about things like social policy and voting differences between men and women, and it’s interesting when that happens because everyone turns to the girls immediately.”
Susan Peters ’17 takes Mr. Rutt’s AP Gov and Econ class, and said there are differences between that class and her Xavier classes. One of the main differences was how reliant on technology Brophy classes are.
“My computer has never been required for school before, which means that I had to majorly adjust in August to bringing it to school every day,” she said. “However, it is incredibly useful to have my computer with me at all times, and it makes for a more dynamic and independent learning environment.”
Ms. Guffey said that she thinks there is a distinct difference between when she teaches all male summer school classes and her co-ed classes during the year.
“I think the difference is good, I think diversity is always good, whether it be gender or religion or race … sharing those things helps us understand each other better,” she said.
Connor Nagaki ’17 takes Mr. Rutt’s class, and said he thinks the difference at times can hurt the class because with females around, male students may not feel as comfortable expressing their views.
“I think it’s a worse dynamic because when students feel free to interact and say things they aren’t afraid to say than it pushes deeper into conversations,” he said.
Ms. Guffey said she believes that, while there are no plans for the school to become co-ed, Brophy being co-ed would be beneficial, especially for her classes, since they are so reliant on discussion.
“The men in the room are always more likely to know there are women in the room, and may curb the way they were phrasing things prior to that,” she said. “The words and rhetoric that they use are different, and probably better.”
Peters agreed that discussion is an important aspect of her class.
“My Brophy class involves more discussion than my Xavier ones, but that may just be because of the nature of the class itself,” she said.
Peters said that at times she feels that she may be judged during her class, especially since there is only one other girl.
“In an environment with only one other girl, I think I worry about receiving the judgment of my fellow classmates more than I ever do in a class of 30 girls,” she said. “For example, today, I expressed more opinions than I usually do in class and immediately felt embarrassed for being so bold, which does not usually happen at Xavier.”
Peters also said her first month of classes at Brophy reminded her of her freshman year since she hardly knows anyone in the class.
“Lots of my Brophy classmates are strangers, so naturally it’s a more stressful environment,” she said. “In fact, my first weeks in AP Government reminded me quite a bit of my first weeks as a freshman at Xavier, which was scary.”
Peters also said she found herself working harder in her Brophy class because she was trying to earn the respect of the boys, which she said she thought was a good thing.
Peters said there would be some things she would want to change if she could.
“I suppose I would want to know more people in my Brophy class and feel more comfortable around them, if I had to change anything,” she said. “Some of them have this teasing rapport with each other, which sounds like a fun thing to be a part of, but I’d kind of have to work up to that. Maybe by second semester, I’ll be able to politely mock in a classroom setting.”
More than anything Ms. Guffey said that what changes the most when Xavier students take Brophy classes is that the girls are always looked at when women’s rights are brought up, and that the boys always seek their opinion.