A summer school you’d be interested in

Henry Wieman, News Writer

     Halfway through July of this summer, eight Wilmington Friends students will fly down to Alabama to explore three of the State’s major sites. This trip is a part of Wilmington Friends School’s new African American History course, and is meant to show students the culture and history within the former slave state. What’s also interesting about this elective is that it is being offered over the summer, along with two other workshops, instead of taking place during the typical school year. As Wilmington Friends School expands its course selection and initiatives, summer may be not be school-free for students who choose to go above and beyond the normal Friends curriculum.

     Although Wilmington Friends School already has introduced a Creative Writing summer Workshop in recent years, taught by Jacob Rashkind, this summer it has added two new courses to the summer roster; Donald Morton ‘94 is teaching the African American History class, and John Roskovensky will lead the prevalent “Introduction to Climate Dynamics” workshop. All three courses begin on the 8th of July and will last three weeks, meeting for three hours on weekdays. There does seem to be precedence for Friends’ expansion of classes and opportunities, as well. “You’ll find that many of the top college preparatory schools (such as WFS) are moving toward the model of offering more ‘non-traditional’ course work,” Morton said. This may include online courses such as the Malone School Online Network (MSON) and, yes, summer classes and workshops. While summer classes do offer credits, they are useless without other History, Science, and English electives. These new summer courses, are following a national trend, and serve as an opportunity for students to go beyond the bare minimum and explore interesting, novel subjects.

     Wilmington Friends’ Creative Writing Workshop has been open to dedicated and proactive WFS writers for the past two summers. The course is open to anyone interested, regardless of writing skill. It focuses on showing a writer’s methods of building a story, not just in novels, but in short stories, poetry, drama, and script-writing. Using writing exercises from various books, the Creative Writing Workshop also will also help advance the student’s ability to critique the work of themselves and their peers, improving a participant’s ability to revise writing and create portfolios. For inquisitive students looking for something to do over the summer, Rashkind’s Creative Writing Workshop is just one of multiple options Wilmington Friends School has to offer.

     In one of the two most recent additions to Friends’ summer courses, John Roskovensky tackles the topical and controversial issue of climate change in his course, Introduction to Climate Dynamics. Open to incoming sophomores, juniors, and seniors, the class examines the contributing factors to changes in the Earth’s climate. Roskovensky seeks to portray the Earths climate as a constantly changing system. In the class, students get to truly see the extent of human-caused climate change and Global Warming. Students will be expected to perform hands-on lab work, work on mathematical models, watch and participate in demonstrations, and review scientific and research papers. Students skilled in math or science should consider taking the course, and pupils with a curiosity about the world around them will get the most out of WFS’ new Introduction to Climate Dynamics summer course.

The third summer course, taught by American History teacher Donald Morton ‘94, is African American History. The course will begin at the start of the African Slave trade on Africa’s west coast, cover the growth of the American slave trade, and go in depth on the formation of African American culture. The class, spanning an entire 400 year history of Americans with African descent, will bring students through the emancipation of slaves during the Civil War, the struggle for equality in the 20th Century, and the holes in racial relations that still carry on today. In week three, students enrolled in African American History will travel to the “Deep South,” and explore many sites and cities central to the struggle of African Americans. The class may give students further insight into the struggles that divide America today.

     All three classes offered this summer cover very interesting material and subject matter, but the time frame dissuades some potential learners. “I would definitely consider the classes,” Estelle Hegenbarth ’21 said, “but I’m too busy in the summer.” Ahmad Ayoub ’21 concurred, saying “Many kids just want a break from school in the summer.” As it is, some summer courses are relatively exclusive, with the African American History class only permitting eight students. Other students might also avoid the summer workshops to join the school service trips, such as the one to South Africa. Still, with all that being said, Morton remains confident that Wilmington Friends School’s new summer program will succeed “based on the track record of our students, faculty and administration.”