In tenth grade the students begin to look inward, questioning their own individuality within their group of peers, often in dramatic ways. This need to define one’s own identity gives rise to the question “Who?” in eleventh grade. Students seek to know themselves in their essence, beyond heredity and even friendship. One may ask: How do my experiences and my learning shape who I am? What remains unique? Ultimately these questions must be answered for one's self.
The loneliness of the inward gaze can be relieved through subjects of study. Two classics of world literature, Hamlet and Parsifal, present protagonists engaged in an inner journey of self-discovery. Astronomy turns the student’s gaze to the world of the stars. Projective Geometry also presents new concepts of space and time, including that of infinity. Feeling the reality of their invisible yet powerful selves, students meet similar phenomena in Cellular Biology and in Electricity and Magnetism. The individual expression of great artists and convictions of great leaders speak constantly through the studies of Music History and U.S. History.
The student’s individuality is strengthened through inner questioning and the answers of the curriculum. In the end, it is one’s self who knows, who judges, and who chooses. Learning makes a difference; it becomes personal. Life begins at seventeen.