Academics

Polemikon Honors

The Polemikon is an opportunity:

To teach
To develop a passion
To present one’s work to an audience of teachers and students
To pursue fair-minded critical inquiry

There are many academic challenges that are put before the graduating class of Pacifica. These challenges are met with creativity, talent and determination. For those seniors wishing to graduate with honors, one more challenge is available to them. This challenge is the Polemikon, a research project which culminates in an oral presentation in front of the student body. The Polemikon is the capstone of a four-year study of a rigorous liberal arts curriculum.

It begins with a question and then becomes a thesis providing the basis for a course of study. The students then develop their thesis into an argument that is supported by substantial research. Students wishing to graduate with honors must apply to the Polemikon before the end of their first semester. Their research topic must be approved and a faculty advisor is assigned to them. Over the course of the second semester, the students are required to meet with their advisor to check their progress. The faculty advisor then sets benchmarks that the students must meet or they will be disqualified. Oral presentations are done in May.

Students are assessed on several criteria: quality of research, meeting the goals set by the advisor, oral presentation and quality of analysis.
Prerequisite: Students must have a cumulative GPA of at least a 3.7.


The Senior Research Project

Polemikon
This title comes from the Greek, meaning “the trumpet signal for a charge into battle.”

Agema
The Senior Research Team
These students are the group who apply for an honors designation and provide support for each other in the process. The term is Greek for “an elite unit or the leading part of a military formation.”

Prodromus / Prodrome
A Student in the Project
This title describes a student that is engaged in the Senior Research Project. It is a Greek word meaning “someone who has run ahead.”

Arete
The Process and Product
From the Greek word for “Excellence, Distinction, Virtue and Valor,” this word describes how the students prepare (with diligence, creativity, and perseverance and what their results are: excellence and distinction).
“The Polemikon Honors program taught me how to begin research with a question. That is to say, I learned how to approach information as a blank slate. The Polemikon program creates space for students to abandon agendas and the search for ‘answers’ and to focus on academic exploration in its purest form. As I constructed my argument, I realized that Polemikon and its emphasis on examination and questioning enabled me to be an unbiased intellectual which further fueled my willingness to explore assumptions and ideas that were outside of my personal worldview and to reach conclusions grounded in truth.”

– Bella Heshmatpour, Alumni

Past Projects

  • The Living Dead: Why Latin Should Be Taught as a Living Language
  • The Unfinished Sculpture: Biblical Masculinity in the 21st Century
  • Radical Behaviorism
  • The Medical Ethics of Voluntary Euthanasia
  • Postmodernism Philosophy through Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Linguistic Lens

Pacifica Christian High School

A college-preparatory, Christian, liberal arts high school in the heart of Santa Monica.