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Freshman Humanities

Our Freshman Humanities program puts freshmen on the track to success at the Academy. The Freshman Humanities course is 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. The program culminates with the Freshman Humanities Capstone project.

Over the years, the Academy has forged strong partnerships with Catamount Arts, the Fairbanks Museum and Planetarium, St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, and the St. Johnsbury History and Heritage Center. These relationships provided the perfect opportunity for the Freshman Capstone. At these institutions, students are able 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.

Students begin work in teams with their partner institutions to research, design, and create their Capstone products for presentation and display. They then work collaboratively to define research questions and assign tasks as a team, and conduct research with local experts. Their ideas about final projects are pitched to their Capstone partners, from whom they receive feedback, and in response they then adjust their work to meet the needs of the audiences who would view it. The semester-long project culminates in a final presentation on Freshman Capstone Day.

Students learn about Freshman Humanities Capstone opportunities at the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum.

Students from a Freshman Humanities class explored the Fairbanks Museum as part of the program's place-based curriculum.