Several students in the senior elective course American City: Rise, Fall, Rebirth, developed and taught by Mr. Matthew Joyal '08, attended a variety of lectures outside of school, including two offered as part of the Memorial Hall Library's Courageous Conversations Series.
On Monday, March 25, Mr. Joyal and Mr. Mark Svendsen brought several students to a guest lecture by Dr. Llana Barber, author of Latino City: Immigration and Urban Crisis in Lawrence, Massachusetts, 1945-2000.
Dr. Barber is an Assistant Professor in the American Studies Department at the State University of New York College at Old Westbury. Her work covers the simultaneous trends of deindustrialization and Latin-American immigration in the City of Lawrence.
“I am daily inspired by our students,” noted Mr. Joyal, “but I am especially proud of how Camren Benanti '19, Yoangelis ‘JoJo’ Diaz '19, Giomary Garcia '19, Hector Roman Jr. '19, and Gabriela Vargas '19 represented Central Catholic in the way they interacted with the other attendees before and after the presentation, shared their voices and thoughts during the Q&A part of the program, and stayed after the event to continue the conversation with Dr. Barber.
On April 3, Mr. Joyal brought another group of students to a panel discussion held as part of the Courageous Conversations Series that was called "Voices from Lawrence," led by Dr. Robert Forrant of UMass Lowell and including leaders from the Mill Cities Leadership Institution, Bread and Roses Housing, Groundwork Lawrence, Esperanza Academy, and the MassHire Merrimack Valley Workforce Board.
Prior to those lectures, on March 10, students in the American City course attended an author talk given by historian Dina Vargo entitled "Wild Women of Boston" at the Stevens Memorial Library in North Andover. The lecture focused on the relatively unknown stories of the female reformers, socialites, and criminals that shaped the history of Boston.
Thank you to Mr. Matthew Joyal '08 and all of our faculty and staff for making these types of learning experiences possible and continuing to challenge students and enhance coursework by going beyond the classroom to offer additional perspectives and insights.
About American City: Rise, Fall, Rebirth
This full-year, senior Social Studies elective focuses on the urban and suburban history of the United States from the early-1800s to the Present. Students will have the opportunity to work closely with local historians and community leaders, particularly regarding the history of the City of Lawrence. Major topics addressed in this course include: public health and epidemics, urban disasters and public safety, labor movements and strikes, organized crime and political corruption, suburbanization, gentrification, and gang violence.