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Danville Independent Schools

Danville High School students listen during an author visit by Erik Reece on March 7 in a Centre College classroom.
DHS students listen during an author visit by Erik Reece on March 7 in a Centre College classroom.

Danville High School students listen alongside Centre College students during an author visit by Erik Reece on March 7. 

Dr. Lori Hartmann talks to the students from the front of the classroom.

Dr. Lori Hartmann, professor of international studies at Centre College, introduces Reece to the students. 


This semester, Danville High School English Teacher Blossom Brosi’s Advanced Placement (AP) Language Arts classes are collaborating with Dr. Lori Hartmann's utopian societies seminar class at Centre College. 

The approximately 50 DHS students across two class periods read a shared text with the class from Centre. The book was “Utopia Drive: A Road Trip Through America's Most Radical Idea” by Erik Reece, which explores utopian communities across the United States, including Shakertown. 

A group of students from Brosi’s AP Language Arts classes visited Centre’s campus on March 7 to join Centre students for an author visit from Reece, who is a professor at the University of Kentucky. 

The DHS students will make another visit to Centre on May 7 to see Hartmann's students' presentation of their final projects. 

“I jumped at the opportunity for my students to collaborate with Dr Hartmann's class,” Brosi said. I want my AP Lang students to think critically about what we read, make connections between ideas and texts, analyze authors' rhetorical choices, and explore thematic ideas. This collaboration has provided the opportunity for Centre students to model those skills for DHS students. Also, having the chance to hear from an author is a priceless opportunity for my students. It has allowed them to take a deep dive into the text, fostered a sense of connection, and provided insight into the author's thought processes.”

“My goal in setting up this collaboration was to provide opportunities for students to improve their reading and critical thinking skills, and see themselves in higher education,” she said. “Some of my students will be first-generation college students. After learning alongside an author who teaches at UK, a Centre professor, and Centre students, I hope all my students feel more confident about their ability to fit in and succeed in higher education.”

Erik Reece reads to the students from his book.
Erik Reece speaks to a group of Centre College and DHS students.

Erik Reece speaks to the group of DHS and Centre College students.

The collaboration between the classes began after Brosi taught a historical analysis class about utopian communities at the Governor's Scholars Program on Centre's campus last summer. 

“Dr. Lori Hartmann happened to walk by and see our notes on the whiteboard,” Brosi said. “She approached me later on campus and told me she also planned to teach a course about utopias. We had a great conversation and decided to collaborate in some way during the spring 2024 semester.”

Hartmann shared what she believes is the value of this collaboration. 

“The value for Danville High School students is that they come to Centre College and can begin to imagine themselves as college students,” Hartmann said. “The value for the Centre College students is that they can see themselves as mentors, either direct or indirect, and perhaps answer questions posed by the Danville High School group.”

Brosi said her students have responded well to this collaborative project.

“They were excited to be on Centre's campus and meet in a college classroom,” she said. “They were very interested to hear the Centre students' questions and comments during Dr. Reece's visit as well as what Dr. Reece had to say about his writing process and the ideas he presented in his book.”

“My students are looking forward to seeing the Centre's final presentations on campus in May,” she said. “As their teacher, I can already see a difference in how they have responded to texts since the first part of the collaboration.”

  • Danville Independent Schools
  • advanced placement
  • ap lang
  • ap language arts
  • centre college
  • dhs
  • disd