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Academics

Senior High Elective Courses

Senior High students at St. Ambrose Academy are encouraged to explore elective studies outside of the core curriculum of English, History, Latin, Math, Religion, and Science. For students whose schedules allow it, wider exposure to more elective topics of interest will be of great benefit to their intellectual and personal formation. 

Art

Students are introduced to a variety of media with an emphasis on fine arts skills. Freshmen and sophomores work on principles of design, form, and space to have a solid foundation for visual expression. Juniors and seniors develop techniques for college art classes and create pieces suitable for a portfolio.

Band

Band electives include individual instrument lessons, group lessons, end-of-semester performances, and other opportunities for playing publicly. Students in these programs also prepare for Solo/Ensemble competitions.

Drama

The first semester of this course focuses on acting skills. Students will develop concentration, characterization, physical agility, and creativity through the use of improvisation, pantomime, monologues, and directing. The second semester focuses on bringing great literary texts to life, from Greek tragedy to Shakespeare to modern theater, using the skills built in the first semester. The year will culminate in presenting rehearsed scenes. 

Music

Music courses offer students an opportunity to focus on choral, solo, and ensemble singing. Music theory and the history of music in the Church are also taught. 

Chamber Choir

Chamber Choir is an auditioned choir at the high school level. Students will grow in technique, theory, and ensemble singing at an advanced level. This ensemble is expected to have prior musical knowledge. Much like Concert Choir, Chamber Choir will perform in two concerts throughout the year: Lessons and Carols in the winter, and a cycled* spring concert.

Concert Choir

Concert Choir is a non-auditioned choir at the high school level. Students will grow in technique, theory, and ensemble singing at an intermediate level. This ensemble will perform in two concerts throughout the year: Lessons and Carols in the winter, and a cycled* spring concert. Students are always welcome to audition the following year for Chamber Choir or continue to grow in their skills in Concert Choir.

*Cycles
Through a 4 year cycle, students will learn music, theory, and techniques at different levels from following genres/periods: Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque, Classical, Romantic, Modern, Sacred music, American, South American, and European composers.

Philosophy

Ancient Philosophy

This course focuses on the greatest of the ancient Greek philosophers, Socrates, Plato, & Aristotle. Smaller selections of the Roman philosophers Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius, and Cicero are also included. The course culminates in a close reading of the classic work On the Consolation of Philosophy by Boethius.

Advanced Logic

This course is a continuation of the study of formal logic that is offered as part of the Cycle II Religion course. Students will review the basic laws of logic, but with a much deeper exploration of its philosophical foundations in the nature of the human mind and the nature of truth itself. More advanced and complex forms of argument will also be learned, analyzed, and practiced.

Medieval Philosophy

The focus of this course is on the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, giving students the opportunity to delve much more deeply into Thomistic metaphysics, natural theology, ethics, psychology, and more.

Modern Philosophy

Unlike most modern philosophy courses, which focus on the writings of those who have had the greatest influence on modern thought, this course focuses on less famous writers, such as C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton, who have made the most interesting contributions to philosophy from a Christian point of view.

These courses are available to Juniors and Seniors.

Physical Education

The “good, true, and beautiful” can be learned through physical exercise and sport as well as in academic courses. Students are introduced to a variety of games/activities throughout the year which include: volleyball, kickball, capture the flag, dodgeball, bowling, ice skating, pickleball, basketball, floor hockey, soccer, ultimate frisbee, sledding, badminton, touch football, and dance.

Introduction to Rhetoric

This course is for anyone who loves, or wants to learn to love, public speaking.  Our emphasis is on persuasion, and students will learn the art of rhetoric through exposure to Aristotle’s Rhetoric, reading and listening to great speeches, practicing impromptu speeches, and delivering an 8-10 minute persuasive speech at the end of the semester.  This would be a great course for anyone interested in apologetics, law, advertising, marketing, or who just wants to develop self-confidence and improve their writing and public speaking.

This course is available to Juniors and Seniors. It is not offered every year.

Shakespeare

In this course on Shakespeare, students will meander through one play each quarter, a comedy, a tragedy, a history play, and another that doesn’t fit nicely in any of these categories. We will look closely at the language of the plays and themes with the goal of presenting staged readings on chosen scenes.

This course is available to Juniors and Seniors. It is not offered every year.

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