High School Honors Seminar


0.25 Credits per Seminar

Enrollment is open to all Ensign Peak Academy High School Students

This program is comprised of a series of nine-week seminars and provides material beyond the regular curriculum. Each seminar is designed to engage the student in an in-depth discussion. These seminars are not designed to be harder but a qualitatively different experience with creative and critical thinking. Discussing the material in depth will give the student more confidence across the curriculum by being better able to connect history, philosophy, religion, family values, principles and virtues. Students will be encouraged to bring knowledge gained from their other classes to the discussion.   

Each nine-week seminar meets 1.5 hours once a week and requires one 500 word paper at the end of the nine weeks, answering one question provided by the instructor. Each seminar requires two hours of outside work a week which will include the reading assignment, a movie or short videos. This program is designed to be deep and doable; to enhance, not to replace, the student’s regular classes. Participation in class will be a significant part of your grade. 

High school students are invited to register for each seminar separately, according to personal interest.

Tuition: $95 per Nine-Week Seminar

Elizabeth SmailesMentor: Dr. Elizabeth Smailes

Dr. Elizabeth Smailes is a mentor for serious readers. She believes that edification and education can, in the right setting, support and build on one another. As a seminary teacher for over 15 years she has a broad gospel base. She believes that when this gospel base is used to judge all other literature, the result is electrifying. Dr. Smailes is a graduate and former mentor from George Wythe University. This educational background enables her understand how students can see themselves and the world through the lens of great leaders and thinkers of the past and present. She studied Logotherapy and received a certificate of completion from the School of Logotherapy, located in Dallas, Texas. Logotherapy was developed by neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor Frank. It is founded upon the belief that it is the striving to find a meaning in one’s life that is the primary, most powerful motivating and driving force in humans. She believes that we are here to inspire one another and receives her most tender inspiration from her grandchildren, as she sees hope and joy in their eyes.

2021-2022 Schedule

Seminar 5: Wednesdays, Aug 18, 2021 – Oct 13, 2021, 12:00 – 1:20 PM Mountain Time

Seminar 6: Wednesdays, Oct 20, 2021 – Jan 12, 2022 (no classes on Nov 24, Dec 15, 22, 29), 12:00 – 1:20 PM Mountain Time

Seminar 7: Wednesdays, Jan 19, 2022 – Mar 16, 2022, 12:00 – 1:20 PM Mountain Time

Seminar 8: Wednesdays, Mar 23, 2022 – May 25, 2021 (no class Mar 30), 12:00 – 1:20 PM Mountain Time

Note: Seminars 1-4 were taught during the 2020-2021 school year, and will likely repeat in the 2024-2025 school year. Four seminars are offered each year, for a total of 16, in a four-year rotating cycle.

Seminar Descriptions

Seminar 5: The Hero’s Journey

Throughout history scattered among the countries of the earth are brave men and women seemingly unafraid of risking their lives for others; we call them heroes. They seem to fall out of the sky from nowhere, showing up when and where they are needed. What makes a hero? Is each person a hero? How do I recognize my own heroic contributions? These are some of the questions we will address in this 9 week course. Join with me, on the journey of heroes, finding the treasure of you and your unique gifts.

Course Readings and Films:

  • Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Brontë (You are encouraged to read the whole book. We will be discussing 4 chapters in class)
  • Selections from The Power of Myth, by Joseph Campbell
  • Plato’s Cave from Plato’s Republic Book 7
  • Ring of Gyges from Plato’s Republic Book 2
  • Wizard of Oz
  • Movie clips from Star Wars #4
  • Rocky #1 (Rated PG)

Register for High School Honors Seminar 5