On Thursday and Friday, Middle School students (Grades 6-8) took time to learn about and deepen their understanding of the poem "The Hill We Climb," shared at the Presidential Inauguration by the first Youth Poet Laureate, Amanda Gorman.
Working in their advisories and humanities classes, students watched a video of the poem being read by Ms. Gorman, learned about her history and role as the first Youth Poet Laureate, and analyzed the poem's ideas, all the while asking questions like "What do you notice?”, "What do you wonder?”, and "What stands out to you?" Students also compared the themes of the poem to the themes articulated at the Inauguration. Some students pushed further, contemplating why it was significant to have a young African American woman present at this moment and why it might be important to raise up poetry at a ceremony like the Inauguration. Engaged in an exploration of poetry, some students also examined word choice, considering the meaning of phrases like “quiet isn’t always peace” and "the norms and notions of what just is, isn’t always justice.”
These exercises, undertaken by all students on the MacArthur Campus in one form or another, stand out as a wonderful complement to our humanities program, where we draw together history and English in one course, allowing for deep analysis and strong connections to be drawn from the content students encounter.