One School One Question

This morning for our 2016-2017 One School One Question event we stopped school for three hours and considered the question: Who Has Power In America’s Democracy?  The whole school first met in the Field House where we heard from current Harvard senior Ana Barros about her journey to find power as a fist-generation college student.  Her message of first recognizing and accepting your own power within, and then finding others with similar interests in order to create change was emotional, thought-provoking, and inspiring.  Students then attended three sessions for the rest of the morning.  One session was a discussion based on the reading choice each student made over the summer, and the other two were self-selected from the following list of options:

  • Comics and Democracy

South students with a deep interest in comics present works beyond Ms. Marvel that deal with government power and democracy, then take questions from the audience.

  • Islamophobia

Willow Wilson said she wrote Ms. Marvel to give power to a minority group that historically hasn’t had it. How does that message resonate in our communities? A panel of Muslim students and community members discusses.

  • Race and the Police

Just as in All-American Boys, several high-profile incidents brought police and minority communities into conflict over the summer. What can we learn from them? How do they connect to relations between the police and the community in our communities?

  • Real Conversations on Race and Power

Race is a powerful factor that affects all areas of life, even in high school. Black and white students who have been trying to lead schoolwide conversations on race discuss their efforts and take your questions.

  • Growing Up Female in Newton

How does gender affect power dynamics at Newton South? A panel of female students discusses their experiences and perspectives.

  • Election 2016

Election 2016 will be less than two months away on 1S1Q day; what do the candidates think about the issues that are important to you? Stand-ins for the Democratic and Republican nominees debate. 

  • MiniHam

Come see a selection of songs from the musical performed by your classmates and talk to them about how getting in touch with these characters has changed their thinking about our nation’s founding fathers.

  • Hamiltonian poetry

Lin-Manuel Miranda uses hip-hop poetry to make sense of both colonial America and our present. Can you do the same thing? Come write some poetry in response to the question of the day.

  • Would Hamilton Be A Democrat or a Republican?

Hamilton and Jefferson’s debate over the fundamental nature of governmental power didn’t die with them; echoes of their battles reverberate even in 2016. Where would these two iconic foes fall on today’s political spectrum? How does it help us understand the current moment? A panel of history teachers takes your questions.

  • Government Surveillance

Resolved: The United States Federal Government should substantially curtail its domestic surveillance in order to promote democracy. Members of the Newton South debate team hash it out.

  • Technology=freedom?

Does technology free us or enslave us? Marcus Yallow uses his technological know-how to triumph, but his opponents use a lot of the same tools. Which way is the real world headed? A panel of experts discusses.

  • Coming to America

Both Kamala Khan and Alexander Hamilton came to the United States as outsiders and found their way to power (through, obviously, much different paths). In what ways do their experiences mirror and diverge from the real lives of the immigrants in our communities? A panel of students and community members who were born in other countries discusses. 

  • Q&A with keynote speaker Ana Barros

Barros, a first generation college student herself, will share more of the lessons she’s learned about power after a college career spent advocating for low-income and first generation students. Barros is the past president of the Harvard First Generation Student Union and has been a key voice in building a movement to support and advocate for first generation students on campus.

We encourage you to keep the conversation going over the weekend…

A big thanks to English Department Chair Brian Baron and the organizers, all of our guests and facilitators, and, of course, our wonderful faculty and student body!