The Governor's Program for Gifted Children

GPGC 2024 | JUNE 9 – JULY 20

Weekly Reports – Humanities, Week Two

Here are some reports from the teachers of each of our Humanities classes for last weeks in the Program. We have organized them by class:

Freshmen Humanities (Ms. Kristen Harrell, Instructor)

We began the week by talking about the importance and the evolution of the polis. How did this change Greek society? How did the polis rise up in importance? The students also analyzed some archaeological evidence. We also had a test over the first week’s material of which I was very pleased with their results. Next, we delved into the ancient Greeks viewed religion and how it differs from modern concepts of religion. These discussions led us into the polytheism of the Greeks; what we know today as Greek mythology. Of course, most of the student adored this part of the lesson. For the second half of the week, we talked about the colonization of the Greeks in the Mediterranean and its difference from European mercantilism. The students loved our discussion over the polis of Sparta and how the Spartans fear and paranoia led to their military state. I’m afraid that I might have burst the bubbles for many students who no longer want to run off and become Spartans. For homework they were asked to answer four critical thinking questions/prompts concerning Sparta.


Sophomore Humanities (Ms. Lauren Howton, Instructor)

This week we continued reading A Wrinkle in Time and started looking at how the Dark Thing and the planet of Camazotz are representative of dystopias. We journaled about the book and took a quiz. We also read Ray Bradbury’s short story “Harrison Bergeron” to continue our discussion of dystopia/utopia. In this story, everyone is forced into equality by state mandated “handicaps.” As a class we voted on what impairments we would be assigned based on our intellect, beauty, and strength. The discussion of course was no longer “equal” due to our different roles. This activity really helped the students understand the nuances between dystopia and a perceived utopia.


Senior Humanities (Ms. Lauren Howton, Instructor)

This week we finished reading and discussing Thomas More’s Utopia. We began the week with a writing assignment on the importance of “roles” and government in More’s Utopia. We also began reading T. S. Eliot’s “The Waste Land.” This poem is long and dense so we broke it up by reading a section a day. We completed writing assignments on each section and then used these assignments to begin our discussions. Friday the first section of 1984 was assigned.


Grad Level, Civil Rights/Civil Liberties (Ms. Jessica Markstrom)

This week began with discussions establishment clause of the 1st Amendment with a special focus placed on primary and secondary education. The class primarily covered 1st Amendment speech rights. Highlighted cases included: Cohen v. California, Synder v. Phelps, Cohen v. California, and Morse v. Frederick among others.


One of the best parts of the program

for me was, for once, it allowed me to be one of the "normal" kids, instead of the "brainiac" nerd. I cherish that gift.

– George A., Alumnus