St. John's College Annapolis Summer Academy

Equality and Inequality – Coordinator Reflection

This post was co-authored by Allie Matheu and Isabel August, the 2018 Summer Academy student coordinators

Everyone in Annapolis knows that during the summer months, when undergraduate classes are not in session, the Annapolis campus is quiet. But for the past week the campus has been buzzing with activity.  On July 15th fresh-faced and eager high-school students arrived for the first of two Summer Academy sessions on the Annapolis campus. At the heart of the first week’s program, titled Equality and Inequality: Justice and Law, were the questions, “What is equality?” and, “What is justice?”. Students were encouraged to begin thinking about these questions around the seminar table by reading Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics, Rousseau’s Second Discourse on Inequality, and Tocqueville’s Democracy in America. In the language tutorial students saw how ideas of equality and justice were employed in the political writings of Hamilton, Lincoln, Douglass, and Anthony. While in the laboratory they approached the idea of equality from the perspective of a mathematician and physicist, reading Archimedes’, “On the Equilibrium of Planes.”

 

Outside of the classroom the students played croquet on the front lawn and perfected their swing dance skills in the Great Hall. They also participated in activities such as, visual art, pottery, theater, a jeopardy style philosophy game, an art history seminar, a poetry workshop, capoeira, fencing, and a selection of sports, all of which were led by their Resident Assistants. Many s’mores were eaten at the campfire held on Tuesday night, while Wednesday night was spent stargazing in the observatory. On Thursday morning we all boarded yellow school buses and made our way to Washington, D.C. where we visited the U.S. Supreme Court. Friday afternoon was a chance to relax with field games and a barbeque at the boathouse on back campus, followed by a waltz party in Randall Hall later that evening.

As Summer Academy Coordinators we couldn’t have asked for a better first week. Not only did things run smoothly, but the students were an absolute joy to be around. It was difficult to say goodbye at the Farewell Brunch on Saturday morning! The student’s enthusiasm for the program kept our spirits high throughout the week and we are excited to see how this next session goes.

It is our third year of being involved with Summer Academy and this role is a little different than what we are used to, either as a Resident Assistant or even a Summer Academy student. Being so intimately involved in the planning and preparation of Summer Academy has been an incredibly rewarding experience for us both. We graduated this past May and the Summer Academy has given us a great way to say goodbye to the place that has been our home for the last four years.

 

The student writing staff of the johnnie chair blog

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