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New class centers on post Cold War foreign relations

Kavya Desikan, Social Media Manager

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Beginning in the 2018-2019 school year, the History Department at Westford Academy will be offering a new college preparatory course for seniors that centers on US foreign policy after the Cold War. The course will be taught by History teacher Rick McHugh. McHugh plans to spend the first two quarters giving students background on regional foreign policy practices in the US, followed by contemporary foreign policy issues and how they were dealt with at the time to determine whether or not they were the right choices.

“My hope and my design is for this to be a class based in debate and pro-con discovery, and to have very little lecture format to it. It’s a very student-based, interactive course,” McHugh said.

The class, a senior elective, focuses on utilizing tools which students acquire throughout their first three years at WA in skills like public speaking and research.

“I think [participation-heavy courses are] the way of where our college environment is heading. There’s so much more off-class time work that students do. The skills we focus on and teach in grades nine and ten, and even into eleven are important, but I think we also have to recognize the access to information and how students interact with information is changing so fast, and I think a course like this is going to lend itself to sort of support that,” said McHugh.

McHugh acknowledges that this class follows a growing interest in politics and policy by students at Westford Academy.

“I have never had as many students register to vote in my career as I have in the last few years,” McHugh said.

The growing interest in politics amongst Westford Academy students has opened the door for many new conversations about policy and politics, and McHugh hopes that this class will help students not only understand domestic political affairs, but the affairs of US foreign policy in a setting conducive to discussion as well.

Not only does McHugh want to draw students who are already politically engaged, he hopes to pique other students’ interest in policy and help them become more involved in local politics.

“I really want to see students going out and getting internships in government […] maybe down at the statehouse, certainly here in town, maybe even something at the county level,” McHugh said.

Looking forward to teaching the class as a whole, McHugh said: “I haven’t had a senior class in a number of years, so I’m looking forward to the challenge and I hope they bring some enthusiasm.”

 

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