Welcome to History

My name is Susan Shean and I am the Middle School History teacher at St. Mary, Star of the Sea.

I graduated from Loyola University of Chicago. Before coming to St. Mary’s, I taught in Italy at high school and university for over thirty years. This experience of diverse cultures, ways of life, and different governments has given me an appreciation of foreign cultures, something I hope to communicate to my History students.

Since I arrived at St. Mary, Star of the Sea School, I have been impressed by the families, staff and other teachers. There is a friendly and caring atmosphere here that makes my job a pleasure. I love the enthusiasm of the Middle School students, their curiosity and creativity. I look forward to getting to know my pupils and helping them discover the joys of learning.

History is an extremely important subject in our global world. St. Mary’s knows that a grasp of History will contribute to our students' understanding of that world. History opens a window on the many forces, peoples and events that shape our lives. With this knowledge, they will be better citizens and their Catholic or universal identity will become reality.

Each year in Middle School has different objectives. Sixth grade delves into ancient civilizations and cultures, the seventh investigates medieval and renaissance art and architecture while eighth grade explores the history our own nation, and current events. various forms of government found throughout the course of human history, examining their strengths and weaknesses. We also consider the role that religion has played in shaping the various cultures of the world.

I hope the students in my classes learn more than mere dates and facts. An understanding of why events occurred is essential. How decisions and events, seemingly unrelated, can effect an entire civilization for years to come, is one of the aspects of History that is sometimes overlooked. By analysis, discussion, and disagreement students come to understand not only what happened, but why these far off events are important to them.

My aim is to make history come alive for my classes. I would like to introduce them to the men and women who have made up human history so that they may be inspired to adopt their virtuous actions while avoiding their failures. We will take field trips to museums and centers of government. There will also be a visit to Washington, D.C. every two years, including seventh and eighth grades, during spring break. This is an optional trip, but many families take advantage of this trip. It has proven to be a truly educational experience as well as being great fun.

The History curriculum at St. Mary's incorporates many cross-curriculur subjects. The art, music and literature of various civilizations and cultures are examined and cultures are examined and compared. As a Catholic school, our students learn the rich traditions of our Catholic faith and how the Church has developed over the centuries. They do essays on a variety of historical topics and present their research and ideas in projects for their classmates, gaining confidence in public speaking.

As you can see, this is a very full and rich program of History. I am proud of the program and my students' accomplishments. Students are expected to work hard, but the rewards are many.

Please schedule an appointment to discuss our program and any constructive criticism or suggestions you can make.

Susan Shean

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