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‘Contemporary Issues’ Tests Seniors’ Mettle in Law, History

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‘Contemporary Issues’ Tests Seniors’ Mettle in Law, History

Schuyler Dubitsky, Reporter

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SENIOR HOUSE – Contemporary Issues, a class instructed by Mr. Katona, stands out from many other classes in the Stanwich curriculum.  The reason the class is unique is because it is driven and based on what the students want to converse, debate or analyze in the context of politics, government, law, history, and current events. 

A less enforced curriculum means cramming information of little interest or real world value is not necessary, making the class even more interesting to those in attendance.  Katherine Knepper, a Stanwich School Senior, commented on her view of the class as a whole.

“I enjoy the class because there isn’t a set curriculum, so we can set the tone of the course and base it around our interests. We can slow down during topics we find interesting, and speed up during ones we don’t.”

Current events are a prime example of something students stop do discuss and delve into.  Students particularly focused on the Kavanaugh debate from earlier this term, stopping the curriculum for several class periods to discuss the Supreme Court Nominee’s status and the issues surrounding the accusations against him.  More recently, the class also dove into the murky history surrounding the Israeli-Palestinian conflicts raging on the border of Israel. Though it was part of the curriculum- and part of the thick course pack Mr. Katona assembles for the class that represents a diverse and wide cross-section of modern American and world society- the students wanted to focus more in depth on the conflict’s history and nature, and so the topic was lengthened several periods to meet all class member’s wants.

Traditionally, Contemporary Issues has been a Seniors-only class.  However, recently Alexandra Short, a junior, transferred into the class. So far she has been very involved in class discussion and feels welcomed by the entire class.

“It doesn’t feel weird being the only junior. Mr. Katona always makes sure I understand the material, and it is so fast paced I don’t have time to worry about being a junior.  Such a large part of the class depends on students making comments and asking questions.  It really makes you feel involved, and kind of forces you to learn the topic.”

Contemporary Issues is a Stanwich class like no other.  Styled like a college seminar with longer reading passages over multiple days which students are then responsible for- participants have no shortage of opportunities to share their opinions with their peers and teacher.  It helps students express how they feel about certain issues, and makes sure they do not have to constantly worry about censoring themselves.  The class revolves around the students, not a curriculum, and that’s how the students like it.

Story by Schuyler Dubitsky, Reporter

Edited by Ted Frascella, Editor-in-Chief

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‘Contemporary Issues’ Tests Seniors’ Mettle in Law, History