The Humanities Department has embarked on a bold schoolwide adventure to integrate the study of literature, history, religion, art, music, architecture, film and dance in a four-year sequence: Ancient Studies, World Studies, European Studies and American Studies.
English and history teachers team-teach these courses, along with the school's music teacher and other guest lecturers. Students who complete the four-year sequence will receive half credits for both history of art and history of music.
One representative unit is the Jazz Age Unit in American Studies. In this unit, students read “The Great Gatsby;” study the history, art and music of the 1920s; learn to dance the Charleston, dress up as flappers, visit the Grove Park Inn (where F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald frequently stayed) and write an integrated research paper tying all of these experiences together.
With such multifaceted units, we hope to develop students' imaginations and creativity as well as their ability to think and write clearly using specific and compelling evidence.
Each year, in each form, students study one or more plays by William Shakespeare. All students learn and recite a passage selected from the play they are studying.
These recitations, usually between 20 and 40 lines of iambic pentameter, are presented before their classmates. Each class votes on a "winner" who goes on to compete before the Humanities faculty.
The top four winners from that "bracket" advance to compete before the entire school and are judged by a panel of professional actors and directors from the Asheville community.
As adults engaging in the world around us we don’t separate things into separate disciplines. The way we live our lives, especially in the 21st century, is very merged. So for students to be able to recognize the interplay between events that are happening historically and how they affect the culture, it makes them better thinkers.Helen Plaehn, Humanities Teacher