St. Johnsbury Academy's Freshman Humanities Capstone Program Partners with Local Cultural Institutions

COURTESY PHOTO

St. Johnsbury Athenaeum Director Bob Joly presents to an Academy Freshman Humanities class in the Athenaeum’s art gallery.

"St. Johnsbury is home to so many cultural treasures of which many students either have little knowledge or take for granted. We are working hard to change that through our Humanities program," says Denise Scavitto Freshman Capstone Program coordinator.

Six years ago, St. Johnsbury Academy created the Freshman Humanities course, a yearlong, team-taught, interdisciplinary class that focuses on key skills including analytical writing, critical reading, research, and public speaking. Freshman Humanities explores themes of community and identity through a study of world cultures and history. A few years after the program began, the Freshman Humanities Capstone project was added. The program is now going strong.

The Academy has forged strong partnerships with Catamount Arts, the Fairbanks Museum & Planetarium, St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, the St. Johnsbury History & Heritage Center, starting with the formation of the St. Johnsbury Arts and Culture Campus year ago. These existing relationships provided the perfect opportunity to pursue an experiment in place-based learning, which highlights the power of place as an educational tool, lens and opportunity. Extending the classroom into the community allows students to foster a deeper connection within the town. The cultural institutions in town have been very welcoming to Academy students.

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