As adolescents enter the second half of their high school career, deeper, more individualized questions may begin to burn. Students may feel the urge either to change schools or drop out altogether, to follow the inner voice which urges, “Leave behind what you have been given and get on with your own journey!” Outer statements of growing independence abound in dress, hair style and part-time jobs.
The curriculum for the Junior year allows the students to cut free from their fellows to a greater degree. In some ways, the Junior year curriculum could be characterized by a theme of invisibility; namely, by the study of those subjects that draw the student into areas not accessible to the experience of our senses. Such a journey requires a new type of thinking, not anchored in what our senses give us, and a confidence that this type of thinking will not lead us astray.
In literature, this journey to an invisible source is captured in the block classes devoted to the Grail legends and to Dante’s Divine Comedy. Other subjects call upon similar powers. In chemistry, the students enter the invisible kingdom of the atom; in physics, they explore the invisible world of electricity; in history, they relive the medieval and Renaissance times in which men and women set off on their individual quests and journeys to destinations unknown; in projective geometry, they follow parallel lines to the point they share in the infinite, a point which can be thought even though it cannot be seen.
In summary, the dimensions of the classroom are vastly enlarged in the Junior year to embrace the furthest reaches of the student’s own imagination and interests. In all of these subjects, the student is launched into individual projects and research assignments.
Shakespeare, Romantic Poetry, Debate, Journalism, and Eschenbach’s Parzival.
Projective Geometry, Functions and Analytic Geometry, Linear Systems, and Complex Numbers.
History through Music, Medieval History, Civics, and College Prep.
Electromagnetics, Quantum Chemistry, Embryology, Immunology, Astronomy, Computer Science, and Botany.
Artistry: Drama, bookbinding, puppetry, batik, stained glass, photography, and gardening.
Music: Vocal and instrumental music continues.
Physical Education and Athletics: Gymnastics and a variety of games; interscholastic sports activities after school hours.