This course will cover Aristotelian formal logic, also known as “traditional logic,” which is different than the various forms of modern logic. In traditional logic our focus will be on formal, rather than material aspects of rational thought. A big part of this pertains to the study of the classical syllogism as it is applied to, and is in service to the truth. This form of logic was essential to the ancient philosophers before they went on to study other subjects, like physics or metaphysics. It became a necessary subject as well to the medieval masters of philosophy and theology, like Bonaventure and Aquinas; again, in service to the truth as a whole and as a credible tool for discerning “right reason.” One can see in the works left by the ancients and medieval masters traces of their formation in logic as it served their thought as an indispensable tool. The study of formal logic has become an essential tool in any classical curriculum as that logic serves as a foundation for the way students will approach and grapple with the various forms of knowledge they encounter.
Writing (Written Rhetoric)
William Fulkner said it best, “Don’t be a writer; be writing.” As such, so we will be writing. This course will progress with singular attention to writing, by drawing focus to the deliberate use of words; the detailed process of writing and revision, revision, revision. The primary objective this course is to provide the student with an appreciation of language; the intentional and proper use of language and finally, an understanding of an efficient writing process. There is nothing more lasting than the impression from the written word. This course strives to create effective and efficient writers. This course introduces the student to the Excellence in Writing Program and implement the tested, quality practices of this program.
This course seeks to refine students’ writing skills, particularly with regard to their ability to write poetry and short fiction, and to allow students to continue practicing the techniques of literary analysis and criticism learned in their literature classes in a more relaxed, conversational setting. The course covers the following topics: the vocation of the Catholic writer, remedies for writer’s block, editing and peer criticism, reading and analyzing poetry, writing poetry, reading and analyzing short fiction, character development, writing short fiction, and submitting work for contests and/or publication. The school year will be divided into roughly two major units, Poetry (fall semester) and Short Fiction (spring semester).
Intro to Public Speaking
This course will provide students with a basic introduction to public speaking and drama. Effective oral communication with an emphasis on speech preparation and presentation skills is important for students as they leave middle school and move into high school academia. This course offers students the opportunity to practice and enhance such skills in a safe environment.
Speech & Debate
Ancient philosophers heralded rhetoric as the art and science of defending truth in the public square. Participation in speech and debate allows students to apply their grammar and logic skills with a higher order of critical thinking and analysis. In preparation for formal speech and debate competitions, the Speech & Debate class will focus on Lincoln Douglas debate and various speech events as two modes of oral presentation. Advanced Speech and Debate students will work to specialize in events practiced in previous years, and take on new speaking responsibilities, to highlight the best of their skills in public rhetoric and performance. In all things, the class will work to glorify God, especially through public witness to all that is good, beautiful and true.
The senior capstone allows the graduating class to publically display the mastery of their academic formation at JPG. Outside of the capstone project, the scope of this seminar course is vast, seeking to cover an array of topics as a culmination of JPG student preparation for higher education. Other topics of study include civic education, college preparation, standardized testing practice, and others, specific to the graduating class of JPG each year.