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Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

The Student News Site of The Webb Schools

Webb Canyon Chronicle

Webb humanities classes should emphasize current events more

Kathy Duan
An American Idea class discusses the ideas of freedom during the Cold War. However, as emails on STAS begin to rush into their inboxes about Webb’s new name, students’ attentions get diverted. There seems to be a sense of distance from the topics students learn about and their everyday lives.

Let us play a game of “Do you know this event?” The Boston Tea Party? Probably yes. The Nashville school shooting? Probably not. The New Deal? Probably yes. Julie Su’s nomination? Probably not. It’s not a coincidence that the two you probably do not know about are current events. 

On March 1st, President Biden introduced Su as his nominee for Labor Secretary after Martin Walsh’s departure. Su is supported by the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus and the National Education Association, the world’s largest labor union. Biden has strong beliefs in Su for the role because of her expertise in the field. 

“If in fact you are not picked for Secretary of Labor, I will be run out of town,” said President Joe Biden during his nomination speech for Su. 

Su’s past work contributed to Biden’s convictions. Serving as the deputy labor secretary, she headed California’s labor and workforce development agency and before that, she oversaw California’s labor enforcement. She was known for cracking down on garment factories, restaurants, car washes, and trucking companies for underpaying their workers. 

On March 11th, Julie Su became the Acting Secretary of Labor, making her the first Asian American cabinet secretary of the Biden administration. Considering that Su represents both Californians and Asian Americans, this should have been big news at Webb, right? Wrong. 

Upon asking many students about Julie Su, they expressed to me that they did not know much about her nomination, and many even stated that this was the first time they heard about it. 

“Honestly, I heard about Julie Su for the first time when you asked me,” Izzy Kim (‘24) said. 

Webb students’ lack of awareness of important news like Su’s nomination reflects a general lack of awareness young people have of news and current events. Though high school students across the country may have a similar issue, Webb’s environment definitely has its effects.  

“I feel like a lot of students here associate politics with academics,” Yvette Shu (‘23) said. “When Webb is already such an academically intense school, it’s hard to get conversations going because students just want to do things that take less effort. For example, students would much rather talk about Tik Tok or memes instead of what is happening in Congress.” 

Such an attitude has stifled the awareness of and conversations around the limited news stories that Webb students do know. Though we have activities like debate, these activities are ultimately a smaller part of the overall Webb curriculum.  

The role the Humanities Department can play in helping students gain awareness is critical. Currently, most of the courses are history based. When students do not see or feel the effects of something, it is hard to care about it. Having debates about contemporary issues can help students learn more and most importantly, care about, the rest of the world by showing students the impact of what is happening. Without sparking interest inside the classroom where students spend the most time learning, it becomes harder to create conversations outside the classroom. Therefore, humanities classes should emphasize contemporary events and issues more. 

As the upcoming generation, it is time for us to step away from apathy and become more in tune with what is happening around us. 

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About the Contributor
Kathy Duan
Kathy Duan, Copy Editor
In both the classroom and at your local law firm, Kathy Duan (‘25) radiates an aura of unwavering positivity, always prepared to offer a listening ear or a supportive shoulder to those in need. Serving on the Honor Committee and contributing to the Webb Canyon Chronicle as a Copy Editor, Kathy showcases her dedication and dependability, readily addressing any questions from political theory and philosophy to the finer points of the Webb Canyon Chronicle’s style guide. During the summers of her sophomore and junior years, she immersed herself in an internship at a community law firm, deftly managing client communications. Beyond her legal pursuits, Kathy shines as a passionate debater, and is an integral part of the Webb debate team. Most notably, she founded a non-profit organization, Roundtable Debate Academy, that makes speech and debate classes more accessible. Apart from the newsroom, leadership, or debate, you may sometimes find Kathy at the pool practicing water polo with friends or in Fawcett Library researching the next big story in today’s political scene. As a passionate advocate for rectifying injustices around educational equality, Kathy dedicates herself to finding solutions constantly. The next time you walk by the Fawcett Library or take a nice stroll by Stockdale Center, be on the lookout for Kathy’s next big article! Favorite Song: "Passionfruit" by Drake

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