File photo, Socrates Cafe. Photo: Chris Keating.

On Tuesday, December 3, a group of students from the Untold Stories course at Harwood are hosting a community Socrates Cafe discussion centered around the topic of diversity.

Last year, former Harwood student Hazel Macmillan developed the elective after realizing that the other history classes she had taken only told one side of the story. During the spring of 2018, she worked alongside English teacher Jonah Ibson to create the class which focuses on the stories of African American and Indigenous peoples in the United States. Macmillan and Ibson co-taught the class, which was widely popular during its inaugural year.

This year, seniors Lili Platt and Claire McGeorge have taken the reins from Macmillan, working with Ibson to teach the class of 14 students.

Many of the Untold Stories’ students had been involved in Socrates Cafes before and wanted to challenge community members to explore the unique topics of their class through this open dialogue. Cafe discussions utilize the Socratic method, in which a facilitator guides a cooperative discussion to delve into a philosophical question.

The students all came up with their own questions and combined and revised their ideas to come up with the final prompt: “How does a lack of diversity in our community impact our perspective about ourselves and others?”



Ibson hopes that the question will attract a wide variety of community members to join the student-led discussions.

“We really hope people of all ages from the community come. It would be great to have adults, high school students and maybe even younger kids. We hope to see native Vermonters and people who have moved here. It would just be great to have intergenerational discussions and as much of a cross-section as possible,” Ibson shared.

Platt, who took the course last year, hopes that attendees will leave continuing the discussion and that they will get a taste of the significant topics these students have been learning in the classroom.

“I hope people will be more cognizant of how our community is set up and that they will be more aware of racial diversity and the lack of racial diversity here. I think that it is important that we are talking about something that isn’t often talked about, and I hope that they will leave with a better understanding,” she said.

All are welcome to the event in the Harwood library on December 3 at 6 p.m.