Home >> Lori's Blog >> Bard College at LAYC: A Transformational Experience
Bard College at LAYC: A Transformational Experience PDF Print
Friday, 07 February 2014 15:42

Last month, I attended a college-level philosophy class at LAYC where students discussed Plato's concept of school as a place to create and question. Philosophy classes at LAYC?

In 1995, Bard College and author and educator Earl Shorris created the Clemente Course in the Humanities to teach humanities at the college level to low-income people who dreamed of going to college but found that life got in the way, who thought college beyond their reach, and who never imagined they could succeed in higher education. Named after the Puerto Rican baseball Hall of Fame player Roberto Clemente, the course brought humanities classes into urban communities and Native American reservations. Now, it's world-wide.

Mary Janney, a well-known DC educator and activist who passed away two years ago, brought the Clemente Course to DC and thought LAYC the perfect site for this educational experiment.

For twelve years, college-level professors have taught philosophy, art history, world history, literature, and writing two evenings a week at LAYC's DC anchor site. At the end of the nine-month course, faculty review each student's work; those who have met criteria of attendance, participation, and intellectual growth receive six general education credits from Bard College. The course, including all books, is free, as is on-site childcare.

The night I visited, philosophy class was taught by professor Chuck, aka Charles Verharen, Ph.D., professor and chair of graduate studies at Howard University. He has been teaching in our program since 2007. Outside, it was cold and windy. Inside, not one of the 26 students was absent, and few were late.

The two-hour class covered a lot of ground. In addition to engaging conversation about philosophic concepts of Confucius, Buddha, Socrates, and Plato, there was discussion about the meaning and importance of critical analysis, an upcoming 10-page research paper, and how to take notes while reading.

Professor Chuck emphasized that the purpose of learning is to question and to create new knowledge. The class was lively and full of energy, with lots of hand-raising, talking, laughing, and supporting each other's comments. I could feel that learning and thinking was occurring.

Who are these students? They are African-American, African, and Latino. Ranging in age from 17 to 28, some have graduated from high school but had no further educational plan—until an LAYC staff member suggested the Clemente Course. Many more had completed their GED at LAYC; the course is their first college experience. One student had lived in an LAYC housing program for homeless youth. Another had been gang-involved and disconnected from any educational setting. Several are LAYC AmeriCorps members who grew up in DC, graduated from high school, but had no plans and no money to go to college. Some are students at the LAYC Career Academy and the Next Step public charter schools, studying for the GED by day and enrolled in a college course by night. They are all low-income. They are all college students.

Bard College Clemente Course at LAYC is truly transformational; I was deeply moved by what I saw. I am so proud of our students, our LAYC staff who guide and encourage them, and our professors.

Without LAYC, these young people would not be able to wear the "college student" label. Instead, their labels would be homeless, teen parent, drop-out, disconnected, juvenile delinquent, gang member, undocumented with no pathway to college, at-risk, or under-achiever. They are not those labels! They are college students, parents, employees, national community service volunteers, artists, writers, philosophers, and critical thinkers. They are young people thirsty to learn and engage in the world around them.

When we introduced this humanities course at LAYC, it was a risky idea. Today over 200 students have walked through LAYC's doors right into college.

A special thank you to the Cafritz Foundation that has provided lead funding for many years. I hope LAYC can continue to adequately fund this important program. It isn't easy.

If you would like to donate to Bard College Clemente Course at LAYC, sit in on a class, tutor or mentor a student – just give me a call or donate online. I will look forward to hearing from you.





0 #119 Blue Star Sapphire 2015-05-23 13:18
A new tradition regarding engagement rings is for the woman to buy the engagement ring for
her male fianc. It has a rainbow color around the band, along with a diamond binding the band together.
This gemstone could be used to make a star sapphire
ring, with a diffused star sapphire that had a sharp and clear star effect.

Here is my web blog - Blue
Star Sapphire Ring: http://Www.Starsapphirering.net/category/blue-star-sapphire-ring/
0 #118 Wiley 2015-05-21 19:21
Awesome blog! Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
I'm hoping to start my own website soon but
I'm a little lost on everything. Would you recommend starting
with a free platform like Wordpress or go for a paid option? There
are so many options out there that I'm totally overwhelmed
.. Any suggestions? Bless you!
0 #117 matt blum 2015-05-20 16:41
This article includes 10 blokgging tips forr effective wweb
marketing tɦrough live blogging. Ѕometimes sitting around οn Twitter's
website, figuring οut աhat yߋu need to pst fοr
tɦe day,who уоu shoulԁ be fοllowing, or just dοing general upkeep can bbe a bit frustrating.
Ӏt is a gradual process yoս manage witɦ ɑll ƴour other responsibilitie s
аnd grow as time alloѡs.

Тake a look at my blg ... matt blum: http://viralurl.com/traffictips/Powerful-Social-Media-Marketing-Tips/
0 #116 continuing nursing 2015-05-19 00:07
It's very straightforward to find out any topic on web as compared to
books, as I found this article at this web site.
0 #115 German 2015-05-14 16:47
Superb, what a web site it is! This webpage provides helpful information to us, keep it up.
0 #114 Diamond Dash Hack 2015-05-05 03:38
Howdy! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group?
There's a lot of folks that I think would really appreciate your content.

Please let me know. Thanks

Visit my page: Diamond Dash Hack: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/380202393519332642/
0 #113 jual balon ulang 2015-05-02 03:38
Kreasi Balon kami ahli berbagai jenis DEKORASI BALON untuk berbagai tema acara Anda,dan dapat di sesuaikan dengan warna,jenis dan bentuk DEKORASI BALON.

my website; jual balon ulang tahun: http://krugsporta.ru/index.php?do=/profile-73210/info/
0 #112 Alta 2015-04-28 00:39
Also visit my site tarek obaid (Alta: http://Www.transparenciaegovernanca.com.br/TG/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=562:secretario-diz-que-cesp-nao-vai-aceitar-cobranca&catid=36:artigos&Itemid=50&lang=br)
0 #111 http://kialin0488459 2015-04-28 00:33
Also visit my web site; http://kialin048845956.Wordpress.com/: http://kialin048845956.Wordpress.com/
0 #110 Gerald 2015-04-27 15:10
My page: Maurice Dabbah; Gerald: http://Ritzbeauty.us/index.php?mid=CJArticles&document_srl=6080532&order_type=desc&sort_index=regdate,

Add comment

Security code


Get Lori's Blog delivered by email:

Delivered by FeedBurner