High School Students Ponder Call to the Noble Life During Arete Program
The 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.