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School of the Future

by Adam Kinory
Walk through the door, of this secondary school located in Gramercy Park and, if itís Friday, you will find yourself engulfed in a crowd of suit clad adults, reminiscent of an evening soiree at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Addressing the crowd, Principal Kathy Pelles, offers advice to parents seeking admission to this public school known for its private school quality education.

One floor up, ninth grade students are exploring the evolving nature of American communities in an increasingly technological age. At age 14, energy far outpaces their experiences. Retired stage actors and producers, such as Florence Kugel, work with the students to enrich the dialogue and expand upon the collective frame of reference for discussions. Utilizing 20th Century American Drama as a shared frame of reference, the discussions range from the pedestrian to the sublime. In discussing Our Town, Ms. Kugel volunteers that George Gibbs is often viewed as a sympathetic character. A resounding murmur of disagreement engulfs the classroom as the students dissect his pre-post- feminist dating behavior. Moments later the class is engaged in a heated discussion. A student has proposed, that Wilderís tenet suggesting that beauty is found in the mundane moments of existence, may absolve the individual of the need to take dramatic action to assist the less fortunate.

As evidence of this argument, Wilderís treatment of Simon Stimson, a drunken character, is explored in a minutiae usually reserved for a Talmud class. This program was organized by The Center for Ethics and Technology at The School of the Future, the director of which is the writer of this article. The center strives to redress the growing chasm between the rate of technological evolution and the maturation of man-kindís sense of responsibility. It continually seeks to establish a dialogue between artists, corporate representatives, writers and students. This particular dialogue was arranged with the assistance of Elise Slobodin of The Sol Goldman Y.M.-Y.W.H.A. of The Educational Alliance. Instructional leaders include Adam Kinory and David Barnes, who enjoy the cooperation of many other teachers. The center is enthusiastically soliciting inquiries at (212)475-8086 Ext.525.

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