History Elective for Grade 12
Do you feel called to serve others? Is the idea of making a difference important to you? Are you interested in social change? Are you bothered by injustice? Do you suspect that there is more to a good education and a good life than only individualistic or selfcentered pursuits? If you answer “yes” or “maybe” to any of the above questions, Service and Social Justice (SSJ) is for you.
SSJ is a course that will be at turns experiential, academic, and personal. The experiential part of this course centers on hands-on service learning experiences both here at school and out in our Western New York community, where we will often find ourselves off campus partnering with local nonprofit organizations. The academic part of SSJ will, through reading, writing, film, guest speakers, and class participation, encourage students to participate in the ongoing discussions and debates surrounding service and social justice. Finally, the personal aspect of this course will ask students to reflect on their experiences in the classroom and out in the community, to keep a service journal, and to arrive at a personal ethic of service that might help to shape, enrich, and give meaning to their lives after Nichols.
Through all of this work, students will gain practical skills while also arriving at a deeper understanding of injustices such as homelessness, the ongoing refugee crisis, economic, racial, and gender inequities, environmental degradation and pollution, poverty, unequal access to healthcare, and hunger. At its heart, then, SSJ aims to fulfill our shared Nichols commitment to “train minds, bodies, and hearts for the work of life.”