Huntington High School Advanced Placement Seminar students trekked into Manhattan one recent day to engage in some fact-finding and on-site research all of which served to whet the teenager’s intellectual appetities.
“AP Seminar is a foundational course that engages students in cross-curricular conversations, exploring the complexities of academic and real-world topics by analyzing divergent perspectives,” states the course description. “Using an inquiry framework, students practice reading and analyzing articles, research studies, and foundational literary and philosophical texts. Students will also listen to and view speeches, broadcasts, and personal accounts, plus experience artistic works and performances.”
Huntington High School AP Seminar teacher Dianna Cazzalino.
Class members “learn to synthesize information from multiple sources, develop their own perspectives in research-based written essays, and design and deliver oral and visual presentations, both individually and as part of a team,” according to the course description. “Ultimately, the course aims to equip students with the power to analyze and evaluate information with accuracy and precision in order to craft and communicate evidence-based arguments.”
“AP Seminar is a unique course”
The course has attracted dozens of students to its ranks. “AP Seminar is a unique course which asks students to look at problems, on local, national and international levels and research plausible solutions,” English teacher Dianna Cazzalono said. “The essential questions I developed for the course is ‘Is inequality perpetuated? Can it be surmounted?’ After reviewing the scope of inequality through the lenses of gender and socioeconomic status, students began delving into their own research. Some problems they decided to research include overpopulation, women’s accesses to healthcare, the disconnect between learning styles and teaching styles, social stratification in high schools, the underrepresentation and over-sexualization of women in video games.”
The course requires students to engage in thoughtful research and reflection. “One plausible way to start solving a problem is through different modes of activism,” Mrs. Cazzalino said. So the Huntington faculty member took a group of 30 AP Seminar course students to visit the Museum of the City of New York in Manhattan. Accompanied by Dean of Students Paul Caleca, student teacher Kristen Andrews and parent Lynette Bavaro, the group came across plenty to feast on intellectually over the course of the day.
Activist New York exhibit was captivating
“We spent a few hours engaging with the different exhibits, especially the ongoing Activist New York exhibit,” Mrs. Cazzalino said. “It uses primary sources, photos, artifacts and interactive activities to showcase social activism from the 1600s to the present throughout the five boroughs of New York.”
The Huntington students also visited other exhibits, including Rebel Women: Defying Victorianism, Through a Different Lens - Stanley Kubrick Photographs, Germ City, Interior Lives, etc.
The Huntington contingent later broke into smaller groups and went to dinner. They later regrouped and attended the Activist New York; The Next Generation exhibition and presentation, which explored the social activism in New York City from the 1700s to the present day. “The speakers were outstanding,” Mrs. Cazzalino said.
Later still was a musical performance by Carnegie Hall’s Future Music Project Ensemble, a group of young musicians ages 14 to 19 from around New York City. “This inspired many of our students who are AP Seminar students that are also in band,” Mrs. Cazzalino said.
Several of the Huntington students had an opportunity to speak personally with the presenters. Based on their own individual interests, students were drawn to specific speakers.
Participating in the trip were students Bryce Vitulli, Robert Caputi, Christopher Mavrogian, Madison Lange, Stephanie Bardales, Eveyln Hernandez-Veliz, Kevin O'Donnell, Steven Andrade, Mauricio Flores, Chaohan Yang, Ricardo Romero, Mia D'Alessandro, Foster Sullivan, Michael Reed, Diego Torres, Casey Coleman, Chris Bavaro, Jose Suarez, Julien Rentsch, Lily Stein, Diya Rai-Gersappe, Daniel Petrylka, Grace Tyrrellm Anna Wickey, Riva Bergman, Shyann Maragh, Tahiyat Akber, Catherine Arevalo, Rocio Trujillo and Eunice Bontia-Ramos.
“The trip was extremely fun”
“The trip was extremely fun and insightful,” Mr. Rentsch said. “It was inspiring to see people who are just a few years older than us who are making such an impact in their communities and throughout the US. I even got to personally talk to one of the activists about my seminar project and they gave great info about possible routes to go with the project.”
Ms. Wickey was happy she went along with her classmates. “The field trip to the Museum of the City of New York was an amazing experience and my classmates and I learned so much,” she said. “The exhibits were very interesting and the three speakers at the lecture were so inspirational.”
Safely back home in Huntington, the students reflected on the day. “It went really well,” Ms. Bergman said. “It was fun and I learned a lot.”