Sunday, August 14, 2005

Celebrating academic excellence

High schools are not all dismal. They can be places of extraordinary achievement.

It’s refreshing that not only athletes get all the attention. Students who write exemplary history essays have a place to get recognized and published -- in The Concord Review. The Concord Review believes “that the pursuit of academic excellence in secondary schools should be given the same attention as the pursuit of excellence in extracurricular activities…” What a great departure from the jock culture!

The result is a wide range of essays on historical topics as this selection of sample essays indicates.

Here you can learn about the devastating influenza epidemic of 1918, Kerensky and Kornilov, and Spanish fascism among many other topics.

I was particularly intrigued by AN INQUIRY INTO THE DEMISE OF THE TEMPLARS by Michelle Mann

Here are the opening lines:

Circa 1310, 113 knights, belonging to one of the most
powerful military religious Orders of the 12th and 13th centuries,
were slowly burned at the stake in Paris. Others were put to the
torch in Lorraine and Normandy.1 The Knights Templar were
charged with heresy, sodomy, denunciation of Christ, having vows
which put the benefit of the Order before morality, cat and idol
worship, and other various sins. Those who were not burned were
sentenced to life in prison,2 or during England’s more lenient
trials, life in a monastery.3

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