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Our Collaboration with Queens College

Since 1984, the Collaboration between Queens College and Townsend Harris High School has been a successful, thriving example of a secondary/higher education partnership; and, as of 1995, the opening of THHS on the QC campus has enhanced that relationship. The Collaboration is administered by the Office of College Preparatory Programs.


Each year, College Preparatory Programs (CPP) supports various collaborative projects – some have become annual “events” and some vary with interest, opportunity, and budget.
CPP also coordinates the “Bridge Year” program for Townsend Harris seniors, which includes a year-long team-taught Humanities Colloquium at the College and enrollment in QC electives.

One of the highlights of the Queens College / Townsend Harris High School Collaboration is the Bridge Year program. During their fourth Year at THHS, all the seniors are enrolled at the College as non-matriculated Queens College students, taking up to six credits per semester of college-level courses on campus with other Queens College students. These courses are accredited and are beyond the usual Townsend Harris curriculum requirements. THHS offers fewer Advanced Placement classes than other high schools because of this opportunity. The college courses are more demanding and offer more preparation for college than the usual AP courses. Three of each semester’s QC credits are earned in college electives of the student’s choice. The other three are earned in Honors in the Humanities (HTH) 101 & 102: the Freshman Humanities Colloquium — a “great books” honors course that is team-taught in a seminar setting by a member of the Queens College faculty and a member of the THHS faculty. The HTH classes are supplemented by an eight-lecture series presented by QC professors from the Humanities and Social Sciences Divisions to the entire senior class and Colloquia faculty. The seminars emphasize reading, writing, and student-led discussion. They are patterned on Queens College’s Honors Program seminar, as well as the seminar programs at St. John’s (Annapolis) and the University of Chicago.

The main goals of the Bridge Year are to ease the students’ transition from high school to college and to give them an opportunity to do college-level work. They are able to adjust to the much greater freedom that exists on college campuses and at the same time to learn the responsibility necessary to handle that freedom. Thanks to the Bridge Year program, seniors can get a real taste of college life while still in high school.

The Freshman Humanities Colloquium, commonly referred to as the “Humanities Seminar,” is the centerpiece of the Bridge Year. Each Townsend Harris High School senior is required to take a two-semester seminar that is team taught by a member of the Queens College faculty and a member of the THHS faculty. Together, in a unique setting where teachers facilitate but do not dominate, students engage in a series of discussions. The seminars are patterned on Queens College’s Honors in the Humanities senior seminar, as well as the seminar programs at St. John’s (Annapolis) and the University of Chicago.

The texts under study and discussion include many traditional “great” works as well as a number of more recently recognized works of intellectual value.

The seminar discussions are based on textual analyses and writing assignments that lead students to develop critical thinking and analytical skills. The teaching team provides a rich mixture of intellectual and pedagogical possibilities not readily found in a more traditional setting.

Townsend Harris High School at Queens College
Townsend Harris is a young school with an honored past. In 1848 the New York Free Academy, our first municipal institution of free higher education, was established by the Board of Education due largely to the effort of Townsend Harris who was, at the time, the president of the Board. The Free Academy later became the City College of New York. The “introductory year” of the Free Academy grew into Townsend Harris High School which flourished until 1942 when it was closed by Mayor LaGuardia because of budgetary constraints.
In 1984, Townsend Harris was reopened with a new location and student body but the same spirit and desires as before. Beginning with the first new class, a tradition of expressing this spirit is found in the pledge the Townsend Harris student makes during his or her first year, known as the Ephebic Oath. The present school has had, from its inception, this rich tradition supported by an active group of alumni. The alumni arrange internships for students, serve as advisors and mentors and raise funds for special projects.

School Vision
To enrich academic excellence within a humanities context, the instructional program is supported by a required service component. In addition, the academic program is supported by an extra-curricular program, designed ideally to tap the talents and interests of each student and to bring to traditional learning situations other valences – creativity, participation, pleasure. The nature of the student body calls for a challenging program, which affects instructional offerings. All students study courses well beyond the requirements of a Regents-endorsed diploma and all seniors study college-credit courses at Queens College as well as participate in the Humanities Seminar

Mission Statement
The mission of Townsend Harris High School is to foster a love of learning, to instill the habit of inquiry, and to promote an awareness of beauty in nature and in the arts. We expose our students to multiple perspectives so that they will be able to appreciate various points of view. We enable our students to achieve their potential and to become articulate and responsible adults who respect others and are productive members of our society.

In order to prepare our students for ethical and intellectual challenges, we provide a rigorous curriculum with an emphasis on the humanities and classics, bolstered by mathematics, science, and the integration of current technology. Our instructional program promotes respect for people and ideas, critical and creative thinking, and precision of language. We encourage our students to strive for excellence, to make sensible decisions, and to develop an enduring commitment to serving the community.

We seek to graduate talented and motivated students who reflect the diversity of our city, become lifelong learners, and make meaningful contributions to the world.

The Ephebic Oath
Our school was founded on the traditions of scholarship and service to community. The Ephebic Oath was administered to the first new class of Townsend Harris High School at the convocation held on October 25, 1984, at Queens College. Each class of Harris students renews this pledge on Founders’ Day, when the entering class is administered the oath by members of the senior class.

The Ephebic Oath reads:

I shall never bring disgrace to my city, nor shall I ever desert my comrades in the ranks; but I, both alone and with my many comrades, shall fight for the ideals and sacred things of the city. I shall willingly pay heed to whoever renders judgment with wisdom and shall obey both the laws already established and whatever laws the people in their wisdom shall establish. I, alone and with my comrades, shall resist anyone who destroys the laws or disobeys them. I shall not leave my city any less but rather greater than I found it.

Since 1984, the Collaboration between Queens College and Townsend Harris High School has been a successful, thriving example of a secondary/higher education partnership; and, as of 1995, the opening of THHS on the QC campus has enhanced that relationship. The Collaboration is administered by the Office of College Preparatory Programs.

Each year, College Preparatory Programs (CPP) supports various collaborative projects – some have become annual “events” and some vary with interest, opportunity, and budget.
CPP also coordinates the “Bridge Year” program for Townsend Harris seniors, which includes a year-long team-taught Humanities Colloquium at the College and enrollment in QC electives.

One of the highlights of the Queens College / Townsend Harris High School Collaboration is the Bridge Year program. During their fourth Year at THHS, all the seniors are enrolled at the College as non-matriculated Queens College students, taking up to six credits per semester of college-level courses on campus with other Queens College students. These courses are accredited and are beyond the usual Townsend Harris curriculum requirements. THHS offers fewer Advanced Placement classes than other high schools because of this opportunity. The college courses are more demanding and offer more preparation for college than the usual AP courses. Three of each semester’s QC credits are earned in college electives of the student’s choice. The other three are earned in Honors in the Humanities (HTH) 101 & 102: the Freshman Humanities Colloquium — a “great books” honors course that is team-taught in a seminar setting by a member of the Queens College faculty and a member of the THHS faculty. The HTH classes are supplemented by an eight-lecture series presented by QC professors from the Humanities and Social Sciences Divisions to the entire senior class and Colloquia faculty. The seminars emphasize reading, writing, and student-led discussion. They are patterned on Queens College’s Honors Program seminar, as well as the seminar programs at St. John’s (Annapolis) and the University of Chicago.

The main goals of the Bridge Year are to ease the students’ transition from high school to college and to give them an opportunity to do college-level work. They are able to adjust to the much greater freedom that exists on college campuses and at the same time to learn the responsibility necessary to handle that freedom. Thanks to the Bridge Year program, seniors can get a real taste of college life while still in high school.

The Freshman Humanities Colloquium, commonly referred to as the “Humanities Seminar,” is the centerpiece of the Bridge Year. Each Townsend Harris High School senior is required to take a two-semester seminar that is team taught by a member of the Queens College faculty and a member of the THHS faculty. Together, in a unique setting where teachers facilitate but do not dominate, students engage in a series of discussions. The seminars are patterned on Queens College’s Honors in the Humanities senior seminar, as well as the seminar programs at St. John’s (Annapolis) and the University of Chicago.

The texts under study and discussion include many traditional “great” works as well as a number of more recently recognized works of intellectual value.

The seminar discussions are based on textual analyses and writing assignments that lead students to develop critical thinking and analytical skills. The teaching team provides a rich mixture of intellectual and pedagogical possibilities not readily found in a more traditional setting.

Townsend Harris High School at Queens College
Townsend Harris is a young school with an honored past. In 1848 the New York Free Academy, our first municipal institution of free higher education, was established by the Board of Education due largely to the effort of Townsend Harris who was, at the time, the president of the Board. The Free Academy later became the City College of New York. The “introductory year” of the Free Academy grew into Townsend Harris High School which flourished until 1942 when it was closed by Mayor LaGuardia because of budgetary constraints.
In 1984, Townsend Harris was reopened with a new location and student body but the same spirit and desires as before. Beginning with the first new class, a tradition of expressing this spirit is found in the pledge the Townsend Harris student makes during his or her first year, known as the Ephebic Oath. The present school has had, from its inception, this rich tradition supported by an active group of alumni. The alumni arrange internships for students, serve as advisors and mentors and raise funds for special projects.

School Vision
To enrich academic excellence within a humanities context, the instructional program is supported by a required service component. In addition, the academic program is supported by an extra-curricular program, designed ideally to tap the talents and interests of each student and to bring to traditional learning situations other valences – creativity, participation, pleasure. The nature of the student body calls for a challenging program, which affects instructional offerings. All students study courses well beyond the requirements of a Regents-endorsed diploma and all seniors study college-credit courses at Queens College as well as participate in the Humanities Seminar

Mission Statement
The mission of Townsend Harris High School is to foster a love of learning, to instill the habit of inquiry, and to promote an awareness of beauty in nature and in the arts. We expose our students to multiple perspectives so that they will be able to appreciate various points of view. We enable our students to achieve their potential and to become articulate and responsible adults who respect others and are productive members of our society.

In order to prepare our students for ethical and intellectual challenges, we provide a rigorous curriculum with an emphasis on the humanities and classics, bolstered by mathematics, science, and the integration of current technology. Our instructional program promotes respect for people and ideas, critical and creative thinking, and precision of language. We encourage our students to strive for excellence, to make sensible decisions, and to develop an enduring commitment to serving the community.

We seek to graduate talented and motivated students who reflect the diversity of our city, become lifelong learners, and make meaningful contributions to the world.

The Ephebic Oath
Our school was founded on the traditions of scholarship and service to community. The Ephebic Oath was administered to the first new class of Townsend Harris High School at the convocation held on October 25, 1984, at Queens College. Each class of Harris students renews this pledge on Founders’ Day, when the entering class is administered the oath by members of the senior class.

The Ephebic Oath reads:

I shall never bring disgrace to my city, nor shall I ever desert my comrades in the ranks; but I, both alone and with my many comrades, shall fight for the ideals and sacred things of the city. I shall willingly pay heed to whoever renders judgment with wisdom and shall obey both the laws already established and whatever laws the people in their wisdom shall establish. I, alone and with my comrades, shall resist anyone who destroys the laws or disobeys them. I shall not leave my city any less but rather greater than I found it.