Girl Turn Tables

Camm Pollmacher, Feature Writer

In the 60’s, when G building was built, the designer put the shop, woods, and metals classes down on the first floor. Yet, they put in no girls bathroom.

Perhaps few people thought that girls would find interest in taking stereotypical“boys’ classes”. However, times have changed, and more girls are interested in applied academics, science and engineering courses.

Department Chair of Applied Academics Kevin Thomas has worked here for 18 years and said that girls are breaking gender norms and can be just as or even better than the guys.

“Girls take time to be organized in the forefront, so when they get to the actual work, they do a better job,” Thomas said.

Woods and Metals teacher William Merchantz said he has even tested to prove girls are better in these classes.

“We looked at typical student math and science scores for both boys and girls,” Merchantz said. “Then we found that girls did as well, if not better than the boys.”

Over the years, the role of females have transformed tremendously in a positive way.

“I think it’s a societal thing. Society makes them think they don’t have the ability, but the truth is that woman have the detailed orientated aspect that actually makes them better than men,” Thomas said.

Thomas has a sit-down with the counselors once a year to discuss what they can do to bring more girls into the workshop programs.

Merchantz is a former employee at Elk Grove High School and had his own Intro to Engineering Design program.

“This program brought many more girls into the science classes,” Merchantz said.

Junior Leia Fuentes takes the welding, woods, and metals classes. She also thinks girls don’t take these classes because they follow the stereotypes.

“It’s a very hands on, dusty, dirty job, and when I’m in the shop I get wood all over myself,” Fuentes said. “It’s almost like football. Girls can do it, but it’s just been a tradition for so long that only guys play it.”

When H-F first started their curriculum’s, they had a secretary class that was specifically for women. They learned how to politely answer the phone, type quickly and write shorthand.

This used to be acceptable because many women did become secretaries, but as time went on, it became less accepting.

“This class explains how guys used to be the boss and the woman would be the [worker],” Fuentes said.

There was also a class called Home Economics, which taught women how to be good housewives.

“Before I was born, they would only let maybe one boy do Home Ec. and maybe one girl do shop. It was understood that [Home Ec.] is what girls do and [shop] is what guys do,” Merchantz said.

Thomas remains not in favor of building a girl’s bathroom.

“A girls bathroom would be inappropriate since there is one a few feet above,” Thomas said.

However, now that girls are starting to get into shop, engineering, and computer design, it may be time to add a girls bathroom.

“It’s pretty even down there now and it’s unfair that guys get a bathroom and the girls don’t,” Fuentes said.