Upper School Electives

Department:  Upper School

Ancient Roman Literature
The Ancient Roman Literature class will provide students with a first exposure to a the great Latin writers whose works have helped shape our sense of Western Civilization. Students will read works from Catullus, Vergil, Cicero, Plautus, and Horace in translation, while also getting a chance to hear and pronounce bits of the original Latin. Students will be expected to read daily assignments, prepare for and participate in class discussions, write short essays, and deliver a presentation on one of the major authors. The course will fill elective credit toward graduation, and it will serve as one of the minimum of four required academic courses during each term.

In debate class, students learn the basics of forming and presenting an effective oral argument. They spend significant time on value debate and student congress while working to strengthen extemporaneous speaking skills, research skills, and analytical skills. They learn to think quickly and to express themselves well under pressure.  Students have the opportunity to compete in regional and statewide debate tournaments.

Yearbook Staff
The yearbook is a student publication; it is a laboratory for learning. It provides an opportunity for students to define, enlarge, and chronicle the Waterford experience, building each year upon the experience and view of the past. The challenge for the editor and staff is to look beyond the obvious, to capture the individual growth and development taking place. In the book's 160 pages, the staff attempts to portray the broad reach of Waterford from PreK to Class XII. Under the direction of the advisor, staff members develop mastery in photography, theme development, layout, graphics, computer design, writing, editing, proofreading, and marketing. Student editors also learn leadership skills as they work with deadlines that are packed tightly in a six month period.

French Cinema: "Paris in Film"
Since the beginning of film history, Paris has occupied an outsized place in the cosmopolitan cultural imagination: The city has been a source of fascination for both French and non-French directors for decades. This course will examine different representations of the City of Light in the work of an international cast of directors, including (but not limited to) Renoir, Minnelli, Haneke, and Jeunet. We will discuss how different films promote and critique the visual and cultural cliches familiar to anyone acquainted with Paris. We will also delve into the technical aspects of film making to understand better how form (i.e., perspective, narration, lighting, etc.) exemplifies the meaning these films are trying to communicate. Films will be in French with English subtitles; class discussion and assignments will be in English.

Latin: 4
This elective course is an intensive Latin grammar course that will prepare students for a standardized assessment of Latin competency. Students will read excerpts from ancient Roman literature in addition to gaining a thorough understanding of Latin grammar. Participation in this course includes a mandatory lunch lab. Students in this class commit to a rigorous schedule of memorization and testing. Cultural and mythological topics will be tied to the readings in class. Students are expected to have mastered the concepts and vocabulary of Latin I, II, and III in order to continue into Latin IV.  All students are required to obtain permission from the director of the Latin program before starting this class. Interested students should bear in mind that this course will NOT fulfill the World Languages graduation requirement. Students must take three years in Upper School of a modern language (either French, Spanish, or Chinese).

Mexico Through Film
This course will explore the relationship between poverty, emigration, and NAFTA. At a time when immigration reform in the US is a national debate gaining, momentum, we will study Mexico from its Revolution in 1910 through the effects of NAFTA in 1994 and its relationship with the United States today. We will study at least portions of the following films: Los olvidados (film), The other side of immigration (documentary), Excerpts of A Day without a Mexican (mockumentary), Maquilapolis (documentary), and La misma luna (film).