Tributes to Sheldon Seevak

an online extension is a student-created website accompanying a yearlong course in twentieth-century global history at Boston Latin School in Boston, Massachusetts. The site, first created in 1999, emerged from the creation of a new course at the School, Facing History and Ourselves, at its inception one of the first yearlong courses of its kind at a public high school in this nation. Sheldon Seevak, a Boston Latin graduate, enabled the school to create the course and endow the teacher's position for the course. The course focuses on a range of topics, originating in a study of identity, to the practice of othering, discrimination, prejudice, and marginalization, and the escalation from those stages to war, racism, ethnic cleansing, and genocide. It poses essential questions about what individuals can do to change the course of history and to make important, significant differences in society.

In tandem with the course, the learntoquestion website was created to serve several functions. Its primary goal has been to extend the classroom experience far beyond the walls of any given room through virtual lessons, narratives of the classroom experience, archives of student work and primary and secondary source materials for use in relation to the content of the course, and interactive discussion boards. It has become a rich repository of materials and the site has grown exponentially each year.

site organization

Today, the learntoquestion site is divided into three key sections: the BLS class, the Seevak website competition, and resources. The BLS class contains current and archived materials related to the actual class at the school, all work produced in the class (by both the teacher and her students), all documents and readings, examples of student work, a link to the International School of Prague (with whom we have an ongoing partnership), course-related trips to Washington, D.C., New York City, and Eastern Europe, interaction with alumni/ae of the course, a student's eye view of the early years of the course, and discussion boards.

The Seevak website competition serves as the repository for the annual production of student-generated websites on individuals and/or groups who have made a substantial difference in society, The resources section includes virtual lessons devoted to learning to question, another devoted to propaganda, with a particular focus on propaganda in Nazi Germany, and a series of lessons devoted to specific topics on the Holocaust (a product of Judi Freeman's Mandel Fellowship at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., as well as a rich array of primary and secondary source materials, both visual and written, for use in teaching the material covered in the course.