This quarter, Gateway High School students have been busy preparing for their Humanities Exhibitions, innovative, interdisciplinary, grade level projects. Exhibitions are designed to prepare students for college, modern careers, and adult life by allowing them to develop skills such as public speaking, research, team work, planning, and goal setting.
Exhibitions encourage students to connect with their community and investigate social justice issues that not only impact our Bay Area community but have a larger global impact, which according to Anastasia Zamkinos, Gateway High School Humanities Teacher and Department Coordinator, is a cornerstone of Gateway’s humanities curriculum.
Each year students build on the skills they learned during the previous year’s exhibition and all exhibitions culminate with a final presentation or interaction with the larger community.
“Exhibitions get more complex over time so students have a chance to build from a place of relative strength,” says Zamkinos. “Students can see their growth over time and that growth becomes even more real when they share their projects with the wider community.”
During Power to the People, the Humanities 9 Exhibition, students focus on social change and how people pursue liberation and empowerment in situation where there has been injustice or oppression. Students do research on social movements and work in groups to create a presentation on a historical movement and how it relates to a contemporary movement here in the United States.
In the Humanities 10 Exhibition, Genocide Awareness Night, students study the Holocaust, read Elie Wiesel’s memoir Night, and research modern genocides - including those in Rwanda, Cambodia, Darfur, and Armenia. They share their research and lead discussions with community members through a socratic seminar.
Juniors take a year off from Exhibitions, giving each student the opportunity to explore different humanities-related options, like AP US History and Honors American Literature (HAmLit) or Humanities 11.
Exhibitions resume in 12th grade with Evening of Action, housed by the civics department. Students do a research project on a subject of their choosing related to some form of disproportionality or social justice issue in the Bay Area. In addition to completing research, students are required to do community outreach whether that’s volunteering or interviewing a community member who has been impacted by the injustice. Students then present on their topic and offer Evening of Action attendees actionable advice they use to take action in the community.
“Exhibitions are a great way for students to showcase their learning beyond the classroom and provides a unique opportunity for students and adults to examine complex ideas such discrimination, dehumanization, isolation, and social injustices together,” says Zamkinos.
We encourage members of the community to join us at the next upcoming Exhibition, Humanities 12: Evening of Action on Wednesday, April 3, from 5:30-7:00 PM at Gateway High School.