Agora Days 2017
February 14, 2017
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Agora Days is approaching (Feb. 21-24) and there are a few differences in this upcoming Uni High tradition. One of the biggest additions this year is the new cultural awareness (CA) class category which was requested by the Multicultural Parents Advisory Group (MPAG). Although there are a variety of new classes this year, there are very few electronic gaming classes.
Most of the 2017 Agora class sign-up requirements are the same as those of previous years. There were a few new changes two years ago when Chris (Fing) Guyotte took over Agora week for Rebecca (Merf) Murphy. In the 2014-2015 school year, Guyotte implemented an online method of signing up for classes through an email link and established first period as one of the two free periods allowed per student. This is Uni’s third year of those new changes which have gone well for the past Agora Days, according to Guyotte.
MPAG brought up the Cultural Awareness class suggestion to Jeff Walkington. The goals for implementing the CA classes is to “help to create a more positive learning environment for students of all backgrounds and characteristics” and “give students valuable skills and experiences that will benefit them in their life after Uni” said Ashley Greer, a member of MPAG.
Previous Agora Days’ classes fit MPAG’s CA description, so this year “[MPAG] wanted to build upon that foundation and bring more intentionality to taking classes with cultural awareness classes. We discussed many options that could encourage students to increase their cultural intelligence,” Greer said. “Ultimately, it will be up to faculty and staff to determine the “what, when and how” of any changes to Agora Days.” Some examples of this year’s Agora CA classes are “Exploring the Cultural Diversity in Different Regions in Africa,” “Bollywood Dance,” and “Hamilton: An American Musical.”
Greer explains that “there are many aspects of cultural awareness education already at Uni … But there are occurrences of Uni students being harmed, from instances of insensitivity to instances of aggression. The suggestions for Agora Days are one way to help address the issues and to build on the good that is already occurring.”
To the disappointment of many Uni students, there are very few electronic gaming classes compared to other years. The few video-gaming classes this year are “Speedrunning the First Generation Pokemon Games” and “Extreme Mafia – Town of Salem.” One anonymous source’s response to the low number was, “I feel like they are being way too strict with the class restriction and are ruining the idea of agora by limiting the amount and variety of classes allowed.” Despite the lack of electronic gaming classes, there are a few new non-electronic game classes like “Cribbage: The Card Game,” “Native American Games,” and “Poker.” The Agora Days Committee felt that video-gaming classes were not always educational as most students who sign up are presumed to already know how to play the game and are not learning as much.