2024 COURSE LIST
Here is an alphabetical list of classes offered this summer:
A Horse (or Course) of a Different Color: A Study of Orwell's Animal Farm
When must you stand up for yourself? Or even stand up for others? Are “four legs good and two legs bad…or better?”
Extensive study has been done for decades about the themes and depth of the classic novel Animal Farm. Now, we have a chance to really dive into the meaning of George Orwell's writing to debate and explore the relevant arguments within. We will read the book and clarify its historical/allegorical connection with the Russian Revolution of 1917 (maybe even extending to current events relevance). Then we will study the character motivations, desires, struggles and impact on the overall story arc. This background work will be weaved with the basics about effective debate skills and lead to what should be spirited, fun debates!
So…what kind of animal are YOU?
Achieving Financial Literacy:
A Beginners Guide
In this course, students will use mathematics to analyze real-world decisions that they can expect to make after graduating high school. They will learn how to create a budget, some of the pros and cons of different career paths, the benefits and pitfalls of credit cards, how to plan for retirement, and basic investment philosophy. Students will walk away from this course with a newfound confidence in their understanding of personal finance.
An Exploration of Self and Decision Making
In this course, students will explore their inner workings and their very own decision making process. We make a number of decisions every day, some of them are simple and some are complex. In order for an individual to make a well informed decision they must understand themself. Students will engage in experiences where they will contribute to group or individual decisions. Along with this, students will reflect on their experiences and learn about various decision making models. The objective of this course is for each individual to gain insights into themselves and to develop strategies that can guide their own decision making process.
Beyond the Atom: Finding the Cosmos’ Place within Humanity
In this course, students will learn about the very small. They will delve into the inner workings of what were long considered to be the smallest objects in existence, the atoms. Students will contemplate the quandaries of quantum mechanics, study the structure of the standard model, and examine the dimensions of string theory. They will learn about the very deepest systems that make up the web of all that we experience. Students will walk away from this course with a new perspective of the cosmos’ place within themselves.
Breaking It Down: The Principles and Elements of Art and Design
Art is all about the process of making! To create any kind of art, whether it be drawing, painting, design, animation, fashion, or architecture, there are two things that are needed: practice and exposure to the essentials of aesthetics. This course introduces the fundamental elements and principles of art and design that every proficient artist or designer uses, including movement, balance, contrast, and form. This course will also dive into some visual organization techniques such as composition and color theory that play a major role in any visual experience. These skills will be analyzed and put to practice in projects designed to be unique to the individual’s personality and provide an experience that will help shape artistic endeavors to come.
Ctrl+Alt+Del: Empower Your Mind
Control your thoughts, alter your attitude, and delete negativity. This course is a 3-step process that empowers the young mind to make strides towards their ultimate potential through self-internalization, unpacking self-value, and surrounding oneself with dream champions.
CTRL: Students will explore emotional origins and develop skills to identify and care for emotions.
ALT: Students will articulate the underlying fear of failure and visualize what it means to “shine”.
DEL: Students will define what a friend is while avoiding those who might be dream thieves.
Students will walk away with the tools to nurture their emotions, recognize their value, and protect their dreams.
This course will give students the opportunity to work collaboratively as part of their own film crew while they develop, shoot, and edit a short narrative film. Each student will take on a variety of responsibilities in turn, gaining experience operating a professional cinema camera, recording sound, acting, and directing, with the course culminating in a screening of the finished movie. Skills refined along the way will include visual storytelling, shot design, the essentials of post-production, and the art of successful collaboration and teamwork.
In this course, students will gain a deeper understanding of the underlying meanings and aesthetic properties of the movies and TV shows that so many of us consume. The course will guide participants through a close examination of narrative construction, visual and sound design, and cultural context. Specific time periods, genres, styles, and the work of major directors will be investigated as we analyze scenes from a broad range of movies and TV shows. Students will have the opportunity to expand their media literacy and critical thinking skills, which are vital in a world so dominated by the moving image.
The Good Life
How do we make sense of things we feel, but can’t see or measure? We hear about this thing called “The Spiritual Life”, but is it something that can be known? And how does that relate to the four main questions that all people must answer for themselves: What is Reality? What is a Good Life? Who is a Really Good Person? How Do I Become That Kind of Person? We’ll explore all this and more.
The History of the Universe: Finding Humanity’s Place in the Cosmos
In this course, students will learn about the very large. The primary objective of this course is to fundamentally change the way in which students view the world around them. Students will learn about the four fundamental forces that govern the universe, attempt to visualize the insurmountable scale of time and space, contemplate the mysteries of dark matter and energy, and learn about the life cycles of stars and how the elements of the periodic table were created. Students will walk away from this course with a new perspective of their place within the cosmos.
The Neurobiology of the Teenage Brain
Between the ages of 12 and 24, a number of fundamental, sometimes challenging changes are taking place in the brain, and as such, adolescence is often misunderstood as a period of recklessness, impulsivity and immaturity. But what if the teenage years were an opportunity to lay the groundwork for a life of purpose and adventure?
In this course, students will delve into the intricate workings of the adolescent brain, from synaptic pruning to the maturation of key brain regions, with the goal of examining the impact these changes have on emotions, behavior and cognition. Utilizing a blend of scientific research, real-life case studies, and practical exercises, students will learn how to safely take risks, deal with complex emotions and problems, and lean into the challenges and opportunities that arise during this critical period of development.
The Me Everybody Should Know
Everyone has a story to tell... so don't let someone else be the narrator of yours!
This course will be a simple but compelling exploration of the most interesting person you know (or don't know...yet): YOU!! We will take a look at your life so far, your highs, your lows, your fears and your goals. We will also address key points to consider as you develop into amazingly dynamic human beings. All of this will culminate in a powerful written introduction to the world of the force of nature that is you.
This is the time to start developing your personal statement. It is what high schools as well as colleges & universities will ask from you... So why not work on a masterpiece that introduces you in all your humanity and glory? Your story matters!
Public Speaking and Civil Discourse
It happens from the moment you're born to the moment you die. You want to talk. It's a truism, you find that human conversation, despite many other ways and technologies used to connect, will uniquely follow you into the most important times of your life (and all the other ones, too!). We all know there are good conversations and ones that we would like to improve. For over thirty-five years, Drew Kugler has traveled around the world conducting coaching better conversations in some of the biggest companies and with small teams of people in not-for-profits. He also taught and lectured on conversation, leadership, and collaboration at preeminent universities, high schools, and elementary schools, always focusing on helping his audiences discover the distinctive possibilities that the right kind of conversation will create in your life and the lives of people you care about.
Drew's course for Reach Academy is called Public Speaking and Civil Discourse”. In it, Drew and his students will dive into a deeper understanding of why conversation plays such a large role in our lives while looking candidly at the obstacles that can diminish a conversation. Finally, each student will have the opportunity to design and practice their “Right Conversation Strategy”, which will guide them in their conversations ahead.
The Screenwriter’s Craft: Action Screenwriting
It all starts with a script! Screenplays are at the heart of almost every film production, from summer blockbusters to long-running TV series. Screenwriting is also an exciting practice for anyone interested in honing their storytelling skills. This course introduces the fundamental tools and elements every adept screenwriter uses, including the three-act structure, professional screenplay format, brainstorming and character development techniques, and dialogue writing. These skills will be put into practice during the writing of short action sequences, giving students the experience of crafting high-octane cinematic thrills via the written word.
Superheroes Among Us
Superheroes are all around us.
The tough part is recognizing what it means to be a “superhero” in the real world. What is a “code of ethics”? If you have more access or abilities than the next person, are you held to a different standard? Do you hold yourself to a different standard in that situation?
This course will approach these and other interesting topics about our world through the lens of traditional written literature, comic books and even comics-based movies. We will use these dynamically different means of communication to determine possible answers to some tough questions about the world around us. We will write our views on these subjects and share them to help understand different perspectives in very creative ways, helping us grow as writers, academics and collaborative individuals overall.
So what happens when someone (or a society) says "Enough!" to unscrupulous powers-that-be? Who was really right in the film Captain America: Civil War… Iron Man or Captain America? Was Thanos right? How is Superman both a model of all that’s good AND a nod to things we don’t want to admit about ourselves?
Because believe it or not, many times art can imitate life. So who is ready to be a superhero?
What Do You Want To Be (When You Grow Up?)
It's a question that plagues us from early in our lives and continues to pursue us as we get older. As a result, many of us think of a career as having a title, climbing the corporate ladder, or falling into a job. We’re also told that if we just do what we feel passionate about, our purpose will eventually reveal itself. Regardless of whether you believe in passion or purpose, progress begins with action.
In “What Do You Want To Be?” students will utilize a series of practical tools and exercises to reveal their natural talents and figure out how and where to apply those skills to future endeavors. By tapping into the desires, fears and resources that propel us forward (or backwards), students will walk away with a greater sense of confidence in their ability to face the important decisions that lay ahead, whether that be in their careers or personal lives.
Writing for Superheroes
Love superheroes? Don't we all! Get excited true believers! Because this course is going to put YOU into the creator's chair and invite your imagination to run wild. Do you daydream about crafting your own unique Batman story featuring your favorite villain? Or maybe you've got a completely original superhero that you're dying to breathe life into. But how? Here's how!
This course will cover a brief history of when and how superheroes first appeared in comic books and the evolution of the characters through the years. We'll break down the elements that make up a great hero and the world they live in. Then, we'll craft our personal heroes: Their powers. Their uniforms. Their allies. Their villains. And what they believe in. Finally, we'll design a short sample story introducing that hero and breathing life into them! By the end, you'll have a blueprint for an 8-page comic starring YOUR creations.
You Be the Judge
Put on the black robe. Hear the case. What are the sources of law that will inform your decision? How will you determine the facts? What is the evidence that will guide you? Will the lawyers help or hinder?
Using scenarios relevant to your lives and the society we are all living in together, we will explore these important issues and many more—all through your eyes, the eyes of a judge.