What it Means to be Human

Dublin’s Humanities Series
By Rachael Jennings

Ms. Nicole Sintetos, Director of the Humanities Series, establishes the goal of Humanities as “invit[ing] students to consider how an investigation of art, literature, poetry, dance, and theater can expand our perception of what it means to be human.” Anyone who has had the opportunity to study alongside Ms. Sintetos in English 9 or AP Literature knows the feeling of meeting a perplexing question head-on, which often creates a space big enough to consider what it means to be a human—indeed, what it means to be a human addressing such questions together. Through the Humanities Series, the entire Dublin community has the opportunity to question and investigate—to expand its collective soul, to listen to a new perspective, to rely on its critical thinkers as they grapple with art that strikes chords and inspires even more questions. Past events—organized by the previous director, Jenny Foreman—touched on a large range of genres and media, includingDala (Canadian folk duo), Taylor Mali (slam poet), Odds Bodkin (musician/storyteller), Pete Mamos (hypnotist), John Cariani (playwright and author of Almost, Maine), Sy Montgomery (nature writer) and New Works/World Traditions (an African Dance/Drumming based out of Providence).
    This year’s events include speakers like Edwin Torres, a photographer and photojournalist who freelances for the New York Times, volunteers at the Bronx Documentary Center, belongs to the BX200 visual artist collective in the Bronx, and was a recent winner of the 2015 BRIO (Bronx Recognizes its Own) Bronx Council of the Arts Award, who will be speaking in the Shonk Recital Hall at 7:30pm on Friday, September 18. On December 4, Jim Pensiero, Editor of Talent at The Wall Street Journal and recipient of the 2002 Pulitzer Prize on behalf of The Wall Street Journal’s coverage of the 9/11 attacks, will share his story with the campus. Later events include Finn Campman’s astonishing puppetry, a Poetry Out Loud showcase and Open Mic Night, a Swing Dance Marathon, and an entire-school showing of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet at Keene’s Redfern Theatre.
    Some students might be witnessing a professional play or hearing a compelling speaker address a new topic for the first time. The programming that Ms. Sintetos has organized promises to be exciting and certainly thought-provoking. Just considering the range in sociopolitical beliefs motivating the speakers promises to expose students to the productively uncomfortable. “Though sometimes ineffable, there is a change that occurs in a young scholar when confronted with a new experience—be it a live performance of Shakespeare, a transformational puppeteer, or even simply a peer reciting poetry,” remarks Sintetos. “There is a particular bravery to the Humanities when seen live and in person. [...] As a teacher I want my students to see how their studies can (and should!) jump off the page. Hence, this year’s program ranges from journalism to swing dance, from the serious to the silly. The program is meant to be a classroom large enough to encompass the entire school and dynamic enough to keep us thinking well beyond the demarcation of an academic day.”