Humanities is taught by Mrs. Small. The curriculum follows the central question “What does it mean to be human?” and how art, literature, music, and history can give an answer to this question. Humanities is writing intensive, and involves many essays as well as a weekly journal. Weekly journals are informal writing pieces focused on personal reflection and reflection on both local and world news. The first humanities project is to write and perform a skit based on Thoreau’s Walden and Civil Disobedience. These skits are very entertaining and presented in front of the whole class at Camp Bournedale.
During the first term of the year, we did many readings on the American education system, its prejudices, and how it creates a space for cliques, social hierarchies, and discrimination. In class we thought about how the ideal school would work for us, from when the school days would start to if it’s fair that teachers can put students in lower-level classes and change their entire education trajectory. Using our readings and our own research, we each wrote prompts and essays about a flaw in the education system that we deemed important and harmful, and how we should fix it.
I wrote my essay on the racial injustices the education system experiences and perpetuates, how our history has placed us here, and how we can fix it. In short, minority communities were subject to the practice of redlining during the 19th and 20th centuries, which forced them into impoverished neighborhoods where they remained for generations. Public schools’ funding is directly tied to the property values of the surrounding homes, which means poorer and primarily minority communities had poorly funded schools and therefore a poor education. The deep south, an area containing the majority of the United States’ black population, has lower highschool graduation and college matriculation rates as a result of these practices. Encouraging the teaching of Critical Race Theory and abolishing the practice of funding schools based on property value would give minority communities an equal opportunity and educate future generations on how racism can be found in many of the United States’ most important institutions.
If you'd like to learn more, please read my essay :)
In B term, we focused on satirical pieces and how they can express points effectively without being too direct. We discussed what makes a satire effective, what an ineffective satire is, and how we can use our writing style to make a convincing and powerful satire. We wrote our own original satirical pieces, as well as wrote an essay with our own prompt and any satire we’d like. There was a wide range of prompts that were used, from essays describing ineffective and offensive satires to comparison essays.
This essay was completely in class, and we were given two class persons (two hours) to complete our research, form an argument, and write. I chose The Museum of The Plains White Person by Rayna Green, which is a piece written by an Indigenous woman convincing her audience that we need to dedicate a museum to the dwindling white population. The original satire is attached for context, and I recommend reading as it is both funny and proves a great point. I wrote my satire on Rayna’s effective use of language and how she allows the white audience to reflect and take responsibility for past actions.