Humanities Program

Starting next year, the new Humanities Research Program will welcome its first students who will learn from local artists and humanities scholars. The two-year long program will culminate with a real-world project guided by an off-campus mentor.


Itziar de Pedro

Starting next school year, sophomores, juniors and a senior will join Laguna’s newly created Humanities Research Program, a two-year honors opportunity designed to complement the existing STEM initiative. Writers, painters, performers, theater and film lovers and anyone who loves art is welcome to join.
Charles Donelan, AP English teacher, and director of the program said, “For years, advanced students have demonstrated a positive response to real-world opportunities through the senior projects and, more recently, through the mentorships arranged by Staci Richard in the STEM program.
“In the Humanities Research Program, students will experience the same type of opportunities, only with artists and humanities scholars, rather than with scientists and business people.”
Not only will students experience the culture of one of the world’s most artistic cities — Santa Barbara — by going on unique field trips to plays, concerts, museums, galleries, artist studios and public lectures, but they will also receive the Humanities Honors designation on their transcript after successfully completing both years.
Collaborating organizations such as the Santa Barbara International Film Festival, UCSB Arts and Lectures, the Granada Theater and the Santa Barbara Museum of Art will enable students to experience unique behind-the-scenes opportunities with directors and artists.
“Students will gain experience in appreciating and evaluating the world of art and performance as it exists now in our community. They will also develop unique personal stories that will strengthen their case for admission to highly selective colleges and universities,” said Donelan.
This two-year course starts with the Foundations class (sophomore year) where students will create connections with local artists, perform for the rest of the Upper School in Spaulding Auditorium and publish Laguna Blanca’s Portfolio Literary and Arts Magazine.
Upon successful completion of the first year, students will move on to the Humanities Capstone class that will culminate with a capstone project.
Juniors will specialize and further pursue their interest in art by doing a project of their choice guided by an off-campus mentor and presenting it to the school community.
For the 2018-19 school year, a group of 10 students is enrolled in the first generation of this new program, and next year, another group of 10 students will join them and enter the course.