Academics » Humanities


English, History, Theology

Mission: Trinity Hall’s Humanities Team empowers students to appreciate and understand the historical, cultural, theological and literary contexts of their global society through an interdisciplinary approach that encourages 21st century skills.

Goals: The goal of the Humanities Team is to challenge students to become:

  • critical thinkers and creative problem solvers through careful research and analysis of information;
  • effective communicators through oral and written means for a variety of audiences and purposes;
  • life-long learners who understand the value of collaboration, diversity and integrity;
  • responsible and moral citizens who apply their understanding of the past to evaluate and respond to present and future issues in society.



GRADE 9:  English I: Literature & Composition

During freshman year, students will explore a wide variety of literary genres, ranging from the classical texts of Homer and Shakespeare to modern-day poetry. Students will also learn to write for different audiences and purposes, with an emphasis on literary analysis, while improving their oral communication and collaboration skills as well through frequent class discussions, group projects, and presentations. English I aims to teach students the foundational skills of close reading, critical thinking and effective writing, including grammar and vocabulary enrichment.


GRADE 10:  English II: Modern Global Literature

During sophomore year, students will study contemporary works from various countries and cultures including novels, short stories, poetry, and non-fiction texts. English II emphasizes 20th and 21st century literature as a representation of historical conflicts and theological events. Students will continue to improve critical thinking and reading skills and utilize writing as a means of self-expression and literary analysis.


GRADE 11:  AP English Language & Composition/American Literature

Complimenting students’ study of US History and the American Catholic Church, this course will focus on
American literature. Through close analysis of canonical fiction and non-fiction texts ranging from our country’s colonial times to present day, students will prepare for the AP Language & Composition exam, which requires a keen understanding of rhetorical style and effective analytical and argumentative writing. As the culminating experience, students will engage in self-exploration and reflection in order to write two autobiographical essays, one of which can serve as the student’s personal statement for college applications.


GRADE 12:  AP English Literature & Composition

This year-long college level course requires students to closely read and analyze a variety of genres and to write for a variety of purposes. Students should expect to read and write often, in class and at home, and to work collaboratively and independently. Students who take this class will be able to carefully read and critically analyze imaginative literature, understand the way writers use language to convey meaning, and write well, focusing on critical analysis of literature and poetry. Thoughtful and thorough completion of the coursework will fully prepare students for the AP English Literature & Composition exam.


GRADE 12: English IV:  Themes in Literature

This senior English course presents a thematic exploration of literature through the study of a variety of genres, ranging from novels and plays to short stories and poems, from both classic and contemporary writers. In addition, through conversations generated by close readings, students will express their interpretations of and responses to the literature through analytical, argumentative, and personal essays while also using the texts as inspirations for their own creative writing and projects. The main goals of the course are to increase students’ appreciation of literature, foster a lifelong love of reading, improve students’ confidence and comfort with writing, and further prepare students for college-level Humanities courses.


GRADE 11/12 Elective: Creative Writing 

This course is designed to be a broad introduction to various forms of writing, such as poetry, short fiction and nonfiction. Students also experiment with writing these genres. Each trimester will focus on one genre, and classes will mainly consist of technique and style discussions, reading assignments and writing exercises. Aside from analyzing the work of established writers, students will participate in writing workshops where they will share pieces with peers in order to give and receive feedback.



History/Social Sciences:

GRADE 9: World History I

The study of history helps us to understand who we are, where we came from and what our future may hold. World History I will help students develop a deeper understanding of the forces that shaped our world and make connections between historical events and the present day. Through a primarily Western perspective, students will explore major social, political, economic, and cultural achievements throughout the world from the dawn of history through the turn of the 20th century. During the course, students will work to develop writing, researching, and critical thinking skills. Students will also build vocabulary, geography, note-taking, and study skills.


GRADE 10: AP World History: Modern

AP World History will provide students with a global perspective on past and contemporary history through an integrated, thematic study of primary and secondary sources. The course will complement the Western
perspective of World History I offered in the freshman year of study, highlighting change and continuity, cause and effect, and comparison and contrast among the major developments of human societies in inter-regional and cross-chronological contexts. By the end of the sophomore year of study, students will be prepared to take the AP exam in World History: Modern.


GRADE 11: US History (AP option)

The US History course will deepen students’ understanding of United States history from the period of
colonization through the present day. Through analysis of various primary and secondary sources, students will build on foundational knowledge learned in their World History courses about the U.S. role in the world and will continue to deepen their understanding of the American identity, social and economic life, and political change and continuity over time. By the end of the junior year of study, students who opt to take the AP level of this course will be prepared to take the AP exam in U.S. History.


GRADE 12 Elective: AP US Government & Politics

This course provides a college-level, non-partisan introduction to key political concepts, ideas, institutions,
policies, interactions, roles, and behaviors that characterize the constitutional system and political culture of the United States. Through the study of U.S. foundational documents, Supreme Court decisions, visuals, political cartoons and additional texts the students will gain an understanding of the relationships and interactions among political institutions, processes and behaviors. Students will be prepared to take the AP US Government & Politics exam.


GRADE 11/12 Elective: AP Psychology 

From the College Board: The AP Psychology course introduces students to the systematic and scientific study of human behavior and mental processes. While considering the psychologists and studies that have shaped the field, students explore and apply psychological theories, key concepts, and phenomena associated with such topics as the biological bases of behavior, sensation and perception, learning and cognition, motivation, developmental psychology, testing and individual differences, treatments of psychological disorders, and social psychology. Throughout the course, students employ psychological research methods, including ethical considerations, as they use the scientific method, evaluate claims and evidence, and effectively communicate ideas.


GRADE 11/12 Elective: Economics 

Honors Economics is a one-trimester course offered in junior or senior year. In this course, students will gain an understanding of what economics is and examine economic problems and institutions. Through discussion and debate they will explore topics in economics, such as supply and demand, scarcity, opportunity costs, market structures and business organizations. Using current events and relevant materials, students will engage in an inquiry-based learning experience. Students will be exposed to a variety of sources as they dive into the world of economics. Using literature, movies and music in addition to more traditional classroom resources, students will develop an understanding of the impact of economics on themselves and the world around them.



GRADE 9: Theology I:  Introduction to Theology

Theology I is designed to help students learn more about the Catholic faith, the church, and their own relationship with God. The course focuses on the foundations of the Catholic Church’s beliefs and teachings, the Old Testament Scripture, and the Christian churches at the time of the reformation.


GRADE 10: Theology II:  World Religions

As students living in a global society, it is important to gain an understanding of other religions. Theology II will explore a variety of religions practiced around the world as well as the church’s response to global conflicts, particularly in the 20th century. Students’ knowledge of world religions will enhance their understanding of the world history and literature they are studying as sophomores.


GRADE 11: Theology III:  Mission of the Church

To complement the students’ study of American history and literature during junior year, Theology III focuses on the American religious experience, highlighting the story of American Catholics. Relative to this study, students will explore contemporary moral issues, such as human trafficking, through a historical lens. The students will conclude their year by studying the papal encyclical, Laudato Si, which focuses on the issue of climate change


GRADE 12: Theology IV:  Contemporary Church

As Trinity Hall students prepare to graduate, they will consider the importance of discernment as they contemplate their role in the Church and in the world. Students will consider current theological developments as they study ecclesial documents that focus on the laity’s role in the life of the Church. They will conclude their year with an individualized analysis of challenging moral issues in preparation for life after the Hall.

Notice of Nondiscriminatory Policy as to Students: Trinity Hall admits students of any race, color, national, and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.