English 11 Students Study Transcendentalist Writers

Recently Mr. Pete Snyder’s English 11 students read essays by the transcendentalist writers Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. In those essays students read about the values and ideas that these writers hold dear, such as living simply, “and sucking all the marrow out of life.”

For their own essays students followed the idea and structure of the “This I believe” essay series. From the “This I believe” website:

This I Believe is based on a 1950s radio program of the same name, hosted by acclaimed journalist Edward R. Murrow. Each day, Americans gathered by their radios to hear compelling essays from the likes of Eleanor Roosevelt, Jackie Robinson, Helen Keller, and Harry Truman as well as corporate leaders, cab drivers, scientists, and secretaries—anyone able to distill into a few minutes the guiding principles by which they lived. These essayists’ words brought comfort and inspiration to a country worried about the Cold War, McCarthyism, and racial division.

In reviving This I Believe, executive producer Dan Gediman said, “The goal is not to persuade Americans to agree on the same beliefs. Rather, the hope is to encourage people to begin the much more difficult task of developing respect for beliefs different from their own.”

If you visit the website thisibelieve.org, you will find hundreds of essays written by people from all ages and demographics on a wide range of topics. Below are essays written by Mr. Snyder’s students who wanted to share some of their thoughts and ideas they hold dear.