Screenshot by Sal Cerrell with permission from Human Rights Seminar
Due to the school’s closure, students in the Human Rights Seminar class were unable to carry out their annual one-day symposium, which has been a tradition since the creation of the course three years ago.
To compensate for this, the class instead came together to construct a digital platform to showcase their work surrounding this year’s theme: “Right to Health.” The platform includes, amongst other things, reports, panels and visual media.
Human Rights Seminar is an advanced research class, where students from Grades 11 and 12 have to be selected to represent human rights scholars and collaborate as a research cohort to delve deep into a selected Human Rights topic.
After choosing an overall theme for the year, students pick individual topics under the umbrella of the main topic to research in more depth.
The class is taught by Social Studies Teachers Terry Gladis and Christopher Wolf over the course of the academic year. Students approach the focus topic exploring a number of lenses including history, international law and human rights theory while also exploring contemporary cases.
Ellie Mankarious (’21), a student in Human Rights Seminar, said that the course contributed a lot to her learning this year and is one of the most interesting classes she has taken.
“At school, all the subjects that we learn like English, science and math are all important, but human rights, I would argue, is probably the most important thing that I can really ever learn,” she said. “If schooling was up to me, I would make sure that everyone was basically forced to learn about human rights.”
Mankarious said that the primary focus of the class is completing a research paper on students’ specific topics. She said that there are many stages and challenges during this process.
“Researching is really the hardest part of the paper because it’s around a 40-page paper, so you really have to plan and consider all the sides and layers to your research,” she said. “Mr. Wolf and Mr. Gladis always say that the more research you do, the easier it is to write the paper. I would definitely agree with that because you very quickly find out that if you don’t have enough research then you will find it a lot more difficult to complete.”
Mankarious said she is disappointed that she and her peers were unable to host the symposium on campus. However, she is proud of their hard work in displaying their research digitally.
“It was really upsetting for all of us when we found out that we weren’t going to come back to school because the symposium is really the one day at ASL where we get to showcase all the work we’ve done and give seminar-style presentations to the school,” she said. “However, we worked really hard together to create a website where we were able to showcase all of our work.”