Art for Social Change, a Class VIII elective, focuses on politically-conscious art-making, while the school’s Visual Education Program and endowed drama grant enable Nightingale students to see museum exhibitions and plays that deal with a range of vital contemporary issues. The community service program and its Class IX "Agents of Change" seminar has been instrumental in broadening our girls’ perspectives on New York City and their own potential as fully engaged citizens, just as our prize-winning debate program in the Middle and Upper Schools has challenged them to research and ponder complex modern issues while articulating a strong viewpoint from the podium.
In recent years, Spectrum (the Upper School gay/straight alliance) and the English department have co-sponsored an after-school staged reading of Moises Kaufman’s The Laramie Project, and students in Junior English attended a Broadway performance of Disgraced, Ayad Akhtar’s Pulitzer-Prize winning drama about Muslim identity in post-9/11 America. The student newspaper, The Spectator, also covered the controversy over the Metropolitan Opera’s presentation of The Death of Klinghoffer, the opera about the Palestinian hijacking of the ocean liner Achille Lauro.
The history department’s sponsorship of Time Regained, a student journal of art and commentary, provides an opportunity for student reflections on topics from images of women in the media and environmental initiatives to national elections and political unrest around the globe.
Cultural Night, sponsored by CAFE (Cultural Awareness for Everyone), is a popular all-school event that annually celebrates the diverse food, dress, music, and performance traditions of the many races and ethnicities that comprise the Nightingale community.
School-sponsored, curriculum-based trips abroad play a role in developing an outlook on the world beyond Nightingale’s immediate neighborhood. Our Mandarin scholars have toured China during the summer months, Middle School science students have explored the rich ecosystem of Costa Rica, students studying world religions have traveled to sacred sites in India, and others have participated in a leadership trip to Zambia and South Africa.