This is the first semester our Hostos Lincoln Academy seniors took the Hostos Capstone course – The Bronx is Beautiful. We are privileged to have it taught by Professor Cynthia Jones a founding member of the partnership between Hostos Community College and Hostos Lincoln Academy. She is a pillar of the Hostos Community. The students and I are both lucky to get to work with her for our pilot year of incorporating this class into our program. The description of the course is below:
This liberal arts capstone course will engage students in an in-depth study of the Bronx and challenge students to question and re-evaluate their perceptions of the borough. The course will explore questions such as: What reputation does the Bronx have? How did it get this reputation, and is the reputation grounded in reality? Are the needs of the people of the Bronx, in terms of the environment, health, infrastructure and education, met by the resources of the borough? In what ways can we see the Bronx as a beautiful and culturally rich borough? How can we contribute to the shaping of the future of the Bronx? Studying the Bronx from various disciplinary perspectives will enable students to understand how their education can help them become more aware, educated, and involved members of their communities, and therefore empower them to become agents of change.
This is an important lesson and perspective for our seniors as they transition out of Hostos (both the high-school and the college) and into their next institutions. After seeing some of their extraordinary presentations this morning two messages stuck out to me.
The first one was from a young woman who started her presentation by explaining that her visual presentation wasn’t a square – “because the Bronx isn’t perfect either.” The second from another young woman who ended her presentation with “We can’t normalize the bad things we see because they are not normal – we can make things better for ourselves.” Both of these statements hold so much truth.
This semester the students learned the beauty in Bronx, the power in the Bronx – but importantly the beauty and power in themselves.
With these students leading the way – our future is bright.
Here are a couple of pictures from the visual portion of their presentations.
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I really love how the visual presentations showed art, youth culture, music, food, dancing, parades, protests. Normal life, beauty, art, folks making the Bronx beautiful, not only the famous landmarks nor the only the burning of the Bronx. HLA makes the Bronx beautiful!
-Elizabeth Wilson, Director of School-College Partnerships, Hostos Community College