High School Students Ponder Call to the

Noble Life During Arete Program

Arete Geek OlympicsThe Texas heat couldn't keep 31 high school students from 15 different U.S. states and Canada away from UD's sixth annual Arete program on July 14-27. Directed by Bainard Cowan, Louise Cowan Chair of Literature, the two-week liberal arts introduction features faculty lectures, seminars and activities centered around the theme: "to see truly, to act rightly."

"The two main elements of a noble life are seeing truly and acting rightly. This process has formed the basis of liberal education and constitutes the foundation on which civilization rests," said Cowan. "In introducing young students to the essential texts of Western Civilization and spurring them to reflect on works of fine art and film, Arete offers a taste of how education frees us."

The students, who lived on campus and ate their meals in the cafeteria together, read and discussed excerpts from many texts familiar to UD students, including Plato's "Republic," the Book of Job, Flannery O'Connor's short story "Revelation," and Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" and "Henry V."

UD faculty members guided students through the texts during lectures; the seminars were directed by Braniff Graduate School doctoral candidates in politics and literature.

The rigorous academic schedule culminated on July 25-26 with the presentation of papers written during the program. The rising high school sophomores-through-seniors wrote on a wide variety of topics from "Oedipus Rex" to Elizabeth Sims' paper "Sarty Snopes and the Educative Power of Beauty," in which the sophomore from Memphis, Tenn., traced the way the boy in William Faulkner's story "Barn Burning" is led by his perception of beautiful order to take a stand against his own father's wanton act of destruction.

PHOTO: Students had time to relax, as well, with visits to Shakespeare in the Park, the Kimbell Museum and their own version of the Rome Program's traditional Geek Olympics.

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