Pathways to Arts & Humanities News
In eight monthly sessions during Yale’s academic year, students from high schools across New Haven learn the art of playwriting from a cast of Yale School of Drama student dramaturgs, directors, writers, actors, and designers. By the end of the program, each student writes a play of their own.
Madeline Charne, a third-year Yale dramaturg student, started the program two years ago with the support of two Office of New Haven Affairs staff members: Claudia Merson, director of public school partnerships, and Sarah Wessler, coordinator for arts and humanities partnerships. The three — along with a number of New Haven high school teachers — hoped to fill a void left by a defunct playwriting program for students from Co-op High School, but wanted to open it up to all high school students in the city.
On Thursday, Mayor Justin Elicker’s daily online pandemic press conference came with a twist: all the questions were asked by student reporters. Fourteen up-and-coming youth journalists from New Haven middle and high schools, notably from the East Rock Record, joined the mayor via Zoom to discuss the city’s short and long-term plans to respond to the ongoing pandemic.
After more than six years as a print-only publication, The East Rock Record is publishing its first online issue ever.
The newspaper, based at East Rock Community & Cultural Studies Magnet School and supported by Yale’s Office of New Haven Affairs, has made the move in response to the coronavirus pandemic that has shuttered schools and turned once-normal daily activities into risky (and even forbidden) exercises. Fortunately, reporters at The East Rock Record spent their final live meeting last month furiously working with Yale mentors in the “newsroom” to complete a variety of news stories.
Their reporting tackled matters from who is doing students’ homework (how often do parents pick up the pencil and can teachers tell?) to concerns about social judgment and pressures to be “perfect.” Stories took the long view — speaking with a geologist to understand New Haven in the Pleistocene era — and the right-now world of TikTok videos, including a guide for adults about what they should know about the app of the moment.
On June 1st, fourteen students from New Haven and West Haven public schools participated in a Robinson Crusoe workshop at the Beinecke Library.
Yale’s Council on Middle East Studies is the hub for this scholarship and outreach. The council, based at The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale, supports research projects and language instruction, sponsors public programming, and provides opportunities for Yale students to work throughout the Middle East. The council is supporting the Yale Pathways to Arts and Humanities Program’s MOSAIC —Minds on Society, Arts, Ideas and Culture — series by organizing workshops under the theme “Demystifying the Middle East.” The series starts on Oct. 27 with a workshop titled “From Damascus to Dunkin: How Coffee Changed the World.”
For five weeks, eight sixth- and seventh-grade students from Barnard have been paired with Yale School of Drama mentors, learning about the craft of playwriting firsthand. Supporting them is a small team of sound, lighting and costume designers, and dramaturgs also from the School of Drama. Some have just graduated; others have just finished their first year in New Haven, and are staying on for the summer.
Some high schools put on an abridged version of Romeo and Juliet. Cooperative Arts High School is staging an immersive, site-specific, feminist rewrite of Hamlet. Written by a drama teacher, Capillary Waves shoves Hamlet out of the spotlight and instead centers the story on Ophelia. In Shakespeare’s version, she’s the jilted lover who commits suicide. In Co-Op’s version, she’s the heroine who talks back to men, rescues Hamlet from his uncle’s plots and is ultimately murdered trying to save him. In its world premiere, Capillary Waves weaves throughout the downtown magnet school, turning locker-lined hallways into a castle’s chambers, an auditorium into a vast lake, a cafeteria into a pub, and a basketball court into purgatory — all leading up to a big reveal at the finale.
Fifteen New Haven high-school students brought playwright August Wilson’s characters to life in an August Wilson Monologue Competition on Friday evening. Before they started, James Bundy, artistic director at the Yale Repertory Theatre, reminded the audience that a little bit of themselves might be in Wilson’s plays.The New Haven branch of the competition was organized by staff from Long Wharf, Yale Rep, in coordination with the competition’s national staff. Sixty high school students from the region auditioned for the chance to perform on Long Wharf’s stage. By Friday, judges had narrowed the field to 15 finalists. They came from Educational Center for the Arts, Cooperative Arts and Humanities High School, Regional Center for the Arts in Trumbull, and Wilbur Cross High School.
The Silence Project served as the final assignment for a Yale seminar, “Introduction to Public Humanities,” which is taught every fall semester by Ryan Brasseaux, who also serves as dean of Davenport College. The course examines the relationship between knowledge produced in a university and the circulation of ideas among a broader public.
Four Pathways to Arts and Humanities students participated in this unique project.
It was fun, and there were games, but the two-week “For a Girl” program was mostly about empowering young women to do and be whatever they dream.
Sponsored by Dr. Lynn Fiellin’s play2PREVENT Lab at the Yale Center for Health and Learning Games, nine girls heard life stories from successful female faculty members at the Yale School of Medicine and elsewhere at the university and designed video games that were meant to educate, not entertain. The three teams presented their games on Friday.
“Listening to other people’s experiences in life and college, I matured a bit from this program and realized, like a girl, I can be somebody someday,” said Kelsey Snedeker, 18, of New Haven, whose team designed a game about adoption.
An adoptee herself, Snedeker said her team was struck by how little information is available to assist adoptees and their parents. Doing a computer search for “another social justice problem, it would pop right up, but ‘adoption’ you can’t find anything,” she said. Snedeker will be a senior at Hill Regional Career High School.
The two other teams focused on women’s rights in a variety of cultures and on immigrants’ rights.
“For a Girl” is a reference to the phrase that is really a put-down of a girl’s abilities, said Fiellin, an associate professor of medicine: “‘You’re really smart — for a girl,’ or ‘You’re really good at that — for a girl.’”
A new initiative of the Yale Center for Health & Learning Games, created by Dr. Lynn Fiellin, ForAGirl is open to young women who are participating in the Yale Pathways to Science program, the university’s long-running summer program aimed at encouraging middle and high school students from New Haven schools to pursue careers in the sciences. Within Pathways, young scholars select a more specific track; ForAGirl is the latest of these specialized pathways. Its focus is to promote the engagement of female high school students in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) fields as well as medicine and research, where even today, women are drastically underrepresented.
“‘You are really smart … for a girl …’ ‘You are really good at math … for a girl’” begins the introduction on ForAGirl’s website. “These statements highlight that sometimes girls and women are seen as being the ‘exception’ if they are smart or talented, while in fact they should be seen as the rule,” said Fiellin, director of the Yale Center for Health & Learning Games.
As Twelve New Haven high school students who formed its inaugural class prepare to graduate, “Citizens, Thinkers, Writers: Reflecting on Civic Life,” (CTW) a residential summer program and school year mentorship program, is wrapping up its inaugural year and preparing for the sequel. Bryan Garsten, professor of humanities and political science, and Kathryn Slanski, senior lecturer in humanities and Near Eastern languages, started the program last summer to introduce high school students to the trials and joys of college life. Students live on campus in Timothy Dwight college for two weeks, intensely studying and analyzing classical and modern political philosophy, poetry, and literature, especially as the works relate to engaged citizenry in New Haven. After the two-week course, Garsten and Slanski continued to mentor the students throughout their senior year with the help of one graduate student, two undergraduate students, and a collection of New Haven community figures. To find out more about “Citizens, Thinkers, Writers: Reflections on Civic Life,” visit its website.
Yale has many partnerships with New Haven Public Schools, and New Haven students benefit from a wide range of opportunities to engage with Yale resources and programs well in advance of Bulldog Days. Yale’s largest investment is in the New Haven Promise, a location-based program that provides scholarships up to 100% of college tuition for residents and graduates of New Haven Public Schools and approved charter schools if they attend college in Connecticut.
New Haven Promise has disbursed over $5 million since inception and assisted more than 1,000 Promise Scholars since 2011. Yale is the principal funder of these scholarships. Over a five-year, phased-in implementation period, New Haven Promise has had a 165 percent increase in students enrolling and being funded at Connecticut’s public colleges. Promise’s growing internship program will place 100-120 Promise scholars in paid summer career-focused internships in 2017- with the majority of these placements at Yale University, adding another $500,000 in funding to help students reduce college debt.
The Yale Pathways to Science program also serves public schools students in New Haven with free programs, demonstrations, lectures, and laboratory visits at the Yale campus where they learn about cutting-edge advances in science from respected professors. Once students join the program they are invited to attend more than 50 different annual events. There are more than 1,000 students participating in the program and more than 300 program alumni enrolled in college. At the most recently Connecticut Science Fair, 21 Pathways students received distinguished awards, and 14 Pathways students were recently admitted to the Yale Class of 2021.
August Wilson was a Pulitzer Prize winning playwright. His literary legacy is a series of ten plays, The American Century Cycle. Each is set in a different decade and chronicles the African-American experience. During the shadow year, Long Wharf Theatre and Cooperative Arts & Humanities High School have partnered to offer an after-school program focusing on August Wilson’s work. Once a week, CO-OP students work with Long Wharf teaching artists to learn about the plays, how to embody Wilson’s characters through acting exercises, and get to work intensely on performing one of his many monologues. August Wilson’s plays have a particular home in New Haven. On June 16th, there will be a mock competition for the students that have participated in the program this year. The hope is to build excitement amongst the students as well as other New Haven-area schools for next year, when New Haven will officially join as a participating city.
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Jefrey Lopez, whose family hails from Mexico, decided he might vote for Donald Trump because it might result in a free trip back home.
Then he thought better of it.
He made the joke, and then the vote, as he and his 27 classmates in Laura Generoso’s eighth grade class participated in East Rock Community Magnet School‘s mock presidential election Tuesday, one week before Connecticut’s adults cast their own ballots in the official main event.
The election, at least at East Rock School, turned out not to be close.
Democratic Hillary Clinton won in a landslide, with 209 votes. Republican Trump won 19 votes, Green Jill Stein 19; and Gary Johnson 16.
This summer twelve rising seniors from the New Haven public schools were invited to participate in the 2016 seminar from July11th -22nd. Two professors led the seminar, guiding students through discussions of thought-provoking texts by Plato, Thucydides, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Abraham Lincoln, Frederick Douglass, Jane Addams, W.E.B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King, Jr., Hannah Arendt, and others. The seminar discussions focused on questions of enduring importance, linking historical writings on civic life to contemporary reflections on life in our city. What is the best way for individuals to live together in communities? How can citizens think critically about their societies? What basic agreements lie beneath our political communities, and what happens when those agreements are broken? What are the origins of ideals such as “freedom” and “equality” and what prevents us from achieving them?
Two summer programs have returned to the New Haven community this year: Pathways Summer Scholars Program and the Ulysses S. Grant Program. The Pathways Summer Scholars Program is a free, two-week long program for 100 high school students, in which current Yale students serve as teaching assistants and mentors. This summer, workshops on green chemistry, web development and coding, neurobiology, consciousness, and more are being offered for the first time. Virtually all the participants are among the 1,077 students who are involved in other Yale Pathways STEM programs during the school year. A more longstanding program, the U.S. Grant Program, which was founded in 1953, is a six-week summer program for talented middle school students. Each morning, current Yale students teach small, single-grade classes of their own design to challenge and excite the students. The program has 77 New Haven students participating this summer.
The Pathways to the Arts & Humanities program was created last year aiming to link young students to programs and opportunities at Yale. Already gaining traction, the Pathways to the Arts & Humanities program has created an infrastructure to allow faculty and students on Yale’s campus to better reach their audiences.
Reporters from the East Rock Community Magnet School newspaper, The East Rock Record, attended a press conference this week, to get the dirt from politicians about New Haven Reads’ new location on Willow St. New Haven Reads is mainly focused around one-on-one tutoring, but also includes a summer program, clubs, and a book bank. Already serving 500 kids with 400 tutors, the program has still been forced to turn away a large amount of kids. Now the program has just been upgraded, with an entirely new location, in a brightly renovated space on the second floor of the old Marlin firearms factory. After its opening in early April, 150 more tutors and their new students from Kindergartners to Fifth Graders will hold sessions there each week. Access to tutors will now be much easier for a large amount of Fair Haven students in the program. At the press conference, East Rock Record reporters grilled speakers, including Mayor Toni Harp, New Haven State Representatives Roland Lemar and Toni Walker, and State Senator Gary Winfield, who were largely involved in securing grants for this space.
This July, Yale’s Humanities Program will kick-off its two-week pilot program “Citizens, Thinkings, Writers: Reflecting on Civic Life,” where twelve NPHS high-school students will live on the Yale campus and participate in the seminar along with supplementary workshops and activities. Here students will connect historical writings on civic life to contemporary life in New Haven. This program is catered to future first-generation college students who are interested in discussing “big human questions.”
Two evenings of plays created by New Haven middle-school students and Yale School of Drama students will be staged on Friday and Saturday, June 19 and 20 at 7 p.m. in the Off-Broadway Theater, 41 Broadway. The performances mark the culmination of the 2015 Dwight/Edgewood Project (D/EP), a collaboration between the Yale Repertory Theatre and the School of Drama. Admission is free; seating is available on a first-come basis.
D/EP pairs eight 6th- and 7th-graders from the Barnard Environmental Studies Magnet School, who are selected based on their interest in writing and storytelling, with mentors from Yale School of Drama. During the month of June, the students work one-on-one with their mentors and a teaching artist to learn about theater and playmaking through interactive games and writing exercises. Each student then writes an original one-act play, which is designed, directed, and performed by the same Yale School of Drama artists who have served as teachers and mentors to the young playwrights.
Four plays will be presented each night. Friday’s program features “The Woods” by Justin Threet, “Spy Guy” by Divine Wilkins, “Two New Worlds” by Marielys Bodden, and “The Appearance of Kelly, Queen of Zutarc” by Jalen Chandler. Saturday’s program features “Chipskunk” by Angel Rovira, “Fearfull” by Jamiah Green, “The Unlikely Friendship” by Gianna Pressley, and “It’s Hunting Time!” by Jayden Jimenez.
On Thursday, January 30, twenty-six students from local middle schools and high schools will arrive at Yale to compete in the Open Round of the 2014 North American Computational Linguistics Olympiad (NACLO). Each student will take a written test consisting of linguistics puzzles. Some of these problems might look familiar from introductory linguistics assignments, while others involve developing a computational procedure to solve a linguistic task, and still others require students to decipher writing, numeral, calendar, or kinship systems. The top achievers across North America will then advance to NACLO’s Invitational Round; the finalists there form teams that compete in the International Linguistics Olympiad. This is the first year that the Yale linguistics department has hosted the competition, organized by professors Raffaella Zanuttini and Bob Frank and two undergraduates, Aidan Kaplan and Tom McCoy, who participated in NACLO in high school and earned gold medals at the International Linguistics Olympiad in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
Eight original plays — written by local middle-school students, and designed, produced, and performed by Yale School of Drama (YSD) students — will be staged on Friday, June 21, and Saturday, June 22.
The production is part of the 18th annual Dwight/Edgewood Project (D/EP), an after-school initiative which pairs the middle-school students with Yale School of Drama mentors, designers, and directors. The students spend the month of June learning about theater and writing original plays. The program culminates in performances of the students’ work at 7 p.m. in the Off-Broadway Theater, 41 Broadway. The shows are free and open to the public.
D/EP 2013 will include students from Augusta Lewis Troup School, who were chosen, based on their interest in writing and storytelling, by school administrators and teachers, along with Boost! Service Corps member Lizzy Anderson. This year’s playwrights include 7th graders Bianca Pagan, Dejae Barnes, Kyasia Sharpe, Synquea Jenkins, and Tah-Janay McKnight, and 6th graders Eliza Rayne Vargas, José Thomas, and Tyrease Pouncey Jr.