Academics

What Does the Pursuit of Happiness Really Mean: Student Perspective by Junior Sabrina Perez

What Does the Pursuit of Happiness Really Mean: Student Perspective by Junior Sabrina Perez
What Does the Pursuit of Happiness Really Mean: Student Perspective by Junior Sabrina Perez

For two weeks in the Upper School, the junior English and history classes joined with guest lecturer Dr. Catherine Little-Hunt, a practicing attorney and Seacrest parent, for an interactive class where we were not only learning about our rights and understanding how the legal system works, but also debating and analyzing the law. The classes were based on Supreme Court cases, and we were taught to voice our opinions with confidence and evidence.

Dr. Little-Hunt cultivated excitement as she brought cases that are influential in our daily lives and focused on the youth, as well as challenged us to articulate our interpretations of the law. She demonstrated how to form an argument from any detail given and therefore defend one's beliefs, as long as it is supported.

Dr. Little-Hunt made learning enjoyable with inquiry-based games that taught us every element in a case matters, and pushed us to debate with her and our peers in order to strengthen our case. It is through hearing other people's arguments that allows us to enhance our own. Her expertise as an attorney allowed her to be ready for any question posed to her, but she always made it clear we can battle her conclusion as long as we use the Constitution to support our claim.

By the end of the week, Dr. Little-Hunt created a bond with the class and sparked new interest in all of our minds. Not only was this experience beneficial in understanding our rights and the legal system, but it taught us how to improve our public speaking and writing skills by defending our arguments with proper evidence both on paper and through speech.

Lastly, the junior English and history classes this year have focused on the topic of the "pursuit of happiness," not only a line in the Declaration of Independence, but a symbol and promise of the United States for all of its citizens. Through understanding the law and giving our thoughts on it, we were able to grasp what the leaders of our country believed to be the rights that produce happiness and created laws to protect it. Most importantly, we were able to reflect upon what we believed to be the most valued rights in our lives and not to be afraid of defending it. We identified whether we fight for the individual or for the majority, and for what rights we are willing to fight. The class was an unforgettable experience that gave us important skills for our lives, and took us closer to identifying what this "pursuit of happiness" means to us.

-Written by Sabrina Perez, Grade 11

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