Youth Symposium Curriculum Overview

Wheelock faculty created a special three-week pre-Symposium curriculum for the 500 middle and high school students participating in the 2010 Youth Symposium. All students completed the curriculum before attending the event. Here is an overview of the curriculum.

Purpose: The purpose of this curriculum unit is to elicit young people's stories that reflect who and where they are at this juncture in their lives. Specifically, they will examine the opportunities they have, the barriers they face; identify solutions that help them forge a path forward, and provide advice to their peers. The process they will use throughout is critical thinking.  

Enduring Understanding: By the end of this unit youths should understand that they are shaped by a wide variety of ideas, people, and experiences and that having the skills and strategies to examine and uncover the lessons from each situation will increase the likelihood that they could ably resolve any issues they face in future.

Guiding Question: What if youths had a way to think through and successfully act on issues that they face in their daily lives, or develop strategies for capitalizing on opportunities that came their way?

Products: Youths will select from and engage in a range of activities, including the following:

  • Letter to Hill Harper: In Letters to a Young Brother and Letters to a Young Sister, Hill Harper provides valuable advice and insight to support urban teens facing both opportunities and obstacles. Now that you have read some of the letters, it's your turn!
  • Mentor my peers: We all need to draw advice from people around us who can help us to think differently about the issues we face. You have had a chance to read some of the great advice from Hill Harper in his books. You also may have parents, teachers, adults, and peers who have shared advice with you in your own life. This is your chance to be that mentor for your peers.
  • Letter to my future self: Think about yourself in elementary school, in middle school, and now in high school. Knowing what you know, would you go back and change anything? If you were able to see into the future, what do you think you would see yourself doing? Would you be meeting the goals that you have set for yourself? Will you make the most of the opportunities in front of you? Will you overcome the challenges that you face to become a stronger or healthier person? Who will support you in staying on track?

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