Clemente Course inspires underserved students to continue their education

Original Post: University of Utah | College of the Humanities

Utah Humanities partners with the University of Utah to bring the humanities to high school students

Prior her junior year at West High School, Amina rarely spoke up in class and was too timid to join in classroom discussions. Through her participation in the Clemente Course, an interdisciplinary humanities course for underserved high school students, Amina now understands the value of her opinions and lets them be heard in class and freely engages in difficult dialogue and debates.“We have debates on topics you wouldn’t normally speak about in regular classes and the teachers really make us question and talk about everything,” said Amina, who is in her second year of Clemente. “The teachers don’t always give us the answers and they make us think on our own.”

Offered in partnership between Utah Humanities, the University of Utah, Westminster College, Salt Lake Community College, West High School and East High School, the Clemente Course is intellectually rigorous, focusing on significant multicultural works using primary documents, group discussion, writing and group projects as the basis for learning.

The goal of Clemente is to encourage students like Amina to apply for and succeed in college. West High students are also eligible to earn three college credits when they complete the more advanced Clemente 2 course.

“We want to provide equitable services and access to our students,” said Josie Wankier, head counselor at West High School. “This course provides opportunities for students to do concurrent enrollment and to know that college isn’t that scary after all.”

These are the very reasons Chelsea, a senior at West High School in her second year of the Clemente Course, joined the program. A competitive swimmer since the age of six, she has her sights set on a swimming scholarship and wants her college applications to stand out. She also appreciates that the majority of the course work occurs in the classroom.

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