The Honors College at Yeshiva University High School for Boys hosts three or four events a semester, often with a ‘civic spirit’ theme. In 2019, one of these events included a book discussion on “The Soul of the First Amendment.” On a more ongoing basis, the Honors College introduced lunchtime debates, exploring constitutional parameters related to contemporary civic issues. Students are randomly assigned a “pro” or “con” side and must prepare opening statements, rebuttals, and concluding statements which they edit in the moment, based on the other side’s arguments. After the debates, the students reflect and express respect for their peers’ performances…over a slice of pizza.
In Spring 2019, Civic Spirit educators and Bishop Loughlin High School history teachers, Petrus Fortune and Bill Mason, launched a Civic Spirit Club. The Civic Spirit Club meets weekly and offers a civic project element encouraging students to engage with their municipal community. In Fall 2019, the club members met with Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Martin Maher to discuss a clean-up at nearby Cuyler Gore Park where students often spent time after school.
During the 2020-2021 school year, Civic Spirit educator Rana Aboomar led the Youth Civic Fellowship which is a program of the Muslim Community Network of New York. Rana used multiple exercises she had learned at the Summer Institute including Edward T. Hall’s Cultural Iceberg Model. In addition, three of the MCN Civic Fellows worked with Jewish students at another Civic Spirit school to create a student-led initiative focused on sustainability.