What does it mean for students to be citizens of their community, country, and world? A small group of seniors spent the first semester exploring this idea in a newly offered course, Modern Humanities. The course, taught by English teacher Nicole Littlepage, aligns with the Cazenovia Central School District’s Strategic Plan. One of the strategic intents in the plan surrounds student engagement and providing opportunities for students to participate in cross-disciplinary learning experiences. This senior elective challenges students to use a culmination of skills from each discipline in the creation of a cornerstone project, which explores an issue in the community and offers possible solutions.
Eli Hunt and Matt Knutsen researched an issue surrounding Cazenovia Lake: the presence of harmful algae blooms and milfoil caused by increased levels of nitrogen and phosphorus. The pair shared information from their research at a Lake Summit Meeting, which is part of the Cazenovia Lake Association. Hunt and Knutsen also provide information to the community about ways to reduce pollution in the lake.
Megan Hughes, Lindsey Lawson and Emily McGee proposed the Coalition for Connecting Cazenovia Central (CCCC), the goal of which is to further increase the sense of community felt within our school. The group shared a detailed plan with administration outlining a mentoring program in which underclassmen are paired with upperclassmen. The proposal, which calls for the program to be facilitated by seniors and faculty advisors, will be reviewed by the administration.
The students agreed that the course provided a valuable experience which has helped prepare them for the next stage of their educational career. An analogy used by Hunt may best explain the impact of the course: “Throughout high school we are told to build a skyscraper. We have to go higher and higher and focus on the next floor. We often forget to stop where we are and look at how far we’ve come and the skyscraper we’ve created.”
Congratulations to our Modern Humanities students on a job well done!