Challenging Courses of study

The De La Salle Scholars Program provides the highest-achieving students an opportunity to mature intellectually beyond the traditional classroom. De La Salle Scholars emerge as young men and women who are faithful, engaged and committed to progress in the world.

These students engage in critical inquiry in religion, literature, philosophy, ethics and the social and natural sciences. The program bridges the scholastic knowledge of St. John’s faculty and experts in various fields with experiential and interdisciplinary learning components.

Above all, the Scholars’ journey will culminate in an understanding of the progressive learning process. Upon graduation from St. John’s, Scholars will be able to utilize practical and theoretical knowledge effectively to serve others and successfully navigate an ever-changing world.

List of 9 items.

  • What is the De La Salle Scholars Program?

    The Scholars Program combines an emphasis on broadly rooted intellectual curiosity with the belief that philosophy is the foundation of learning. The definition of philosophy is the study of the fundamental nature of knowledge, reality and existence. Scholars will confront questions revolving around these concepts. Understanding the human condition, living a just life of faith and service and finding happiness and fulfillment are all challenges that define human existence. What does it mean to participate in society in an active and positive way? How and why should we find connectedness with the people around us as well as with our natural world? Scholars will engage in critical inquiry and examine various points of view in science and the humanities, and they will accept the unknown in order to understand what is true and possible. The Scholars’ journey prepares them to face these questions as they persevere through their lives.

    The program requires students to enroll in Honors and Advanced Placement courses in their core subjects during their four years at St. John's. This includes Honors Sacred Scripture in freshman year and Scholars' Socratic Seminar during senior year. In addition, all Scholars complete an independent study project during their junior and senior years. The director of the Scholars Program acts as an academic advisor for these students throughout their four years and serves as their college counselor during their junior and senior years.
  • Program Goals

    Intellectual Development
    As they progress through their academic program, De La Salle Scholars will:
    • Build and strengthen their understanding of the importance of foundational learning
    • Develop superior analytical and communication skills
    • Solve complex problems
    • Understand the fundamental importance of reason and logic in intellectual inquiry
    • Practice collegiate-level research skills
    • Master essential writing styles and skills
    • Utilize experiential learning to link scholastic theory to practice

    Emotional, Social and Spiritual Development
    Scholars will also emerge with enhanced emotional, social and spiritual development rooted in the Lasallian tradition as follows:
    • Recognize the presence of God and faith in their lives and the intrinsic value of love and community
    • Celebrate their individuality and accept others for their uniqueness
    • Appreciate the importance of using their gifts and talents to serve others who may be less fortunate
    • Understand their collective responsibility to help create a better world and live as caring and productive citizens
    • Learn to maximize their potential and prosper throughout their lives with humility and righteousness
  • Required Courses

    Required Courses:
    • Grade 9 – Honors Scripture, Honors English, Honors Math and Honors Biology
    • Grade 10 – Honors English, Honors Math, Honors Chemistry and AP US History, along with Sophomore Field Experiences
    • Grade 11 – AP English Language and Composition or Honors British Literature, as well as a combination of three or more additional honors and/or AP classes and part of their Independent Study Project
    • Grade 12 – Socratic Seminar, a minimum of four honors and/or AP classes and completion of their Independent Study Project
  • 9th-Grade Orientation

    Scholars will embark on two orientation activities, one in the spring of their 8th grade year at a team-building outdoor adventure, and the other just before the beginning of their freshman year. The orientations will assist Scholars in their acclimation to St. John’s and give them a better grasp of the challenges and opportunities that lay ahead.
  • Sophomore Field Experiences

    These field experiences will help Scholars evolve into more active learners. The four core areas of experiential learning revolve around faith, reason, art and politics. Scholars will visit exhibitions and museums, see performances, conduct experiments in real-life settings and engage in scholarly discussions with experts.

    Some of the field experience destinations that Scholars have explored include:
    • Shakespeare Theatre (student matinees)
    • Newseum
    • The Corcoran Museum of Art
    • Marian Koshland Science Museum
    • Smithsonian Museums (National Gallery, Dulles Air and Space Museum)
    • Forensic labs in the Natural History Museum
    • United States Supreme Court
    • National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception
    • Franciscan Monastery
    • Mount Vernon
    • Camden Yards
    • The National Cathedral
  • Honors Senior Seminar

    The ancient Greek philosopher Socrates guided his students by constant questioning, forcing them to think and develop opinions for themselves. In their senior year, Scholars will question themselves and each other in order to gain knowledge. They will come to their own conclusions about education, reality, materialism, justice, morality and other values by defending their viewpoints, as well as by questioning the stances of their classmates. Scholars are encouraged to learn for the sake of knowledge itself and not to simply identify the “right” answer and move on. Students will learn to think on their feet with confidence, question without prejudice or bias and scrutinize their opinions in order to gain a stronger grasp on their own independent-mindedness.
  • Independent Study Project

    The culmination of the Scholars Program is the Independent Study Project. Students will link the pieces of their scholastic journey together to create this project, which provides the ultimate opportunity for experiential learning. Scholars may create and test a hypothesis, create a work of cultural expression, investigate a possible career or area of interest or choose another area on which to focus. The project topic is chosen in their junior year, and Scholars work throughout that year and the first half of their senior year to complete the project. Students will work with several mentors and present their projects to members of the school community.

    Examples of past projects:
    • Creation of a human-powered generator
    • Measuring the carbon footprint of the produce purchased in Montgomery County
    • "ACL/MCL Injuries in Women’s Soccer: Causes, Prevention and Rehabilitation"
    • Creation and implementation of a school newspaper at San Miguel
    • "The History of Pattern in Math and Music"
    • Connection between Nigerian food and culture
    • Understanding a political campaign through the eyes of the executive director of Teen Democrats of Maryland
    • The question of creating a sustainable food source for Nauru, a small island in Oceania
    • A drinking and driving awareness program for high school students
    • A low-cost, “FDA-approved” healthy cookbook and a study of current nutritional needs
    • "An 'Amigos' Experience: Connecting American and Panamanian Culture"
    • Creation of a website surrounding bi-racial identity
    • Documentary film on the indigenous culture of Maryland expressed through food
    • Development and implementation of Model United Nations as an extracurricular activity at St. John’s
    • Creation of a high school history course entitled "Women in World History"
  • Voyages to Ancient Civilizations

    Every two years, Scholars will have an opportunity to travel internationally during spring break. The trip will take students to the sites at the center of the ancient world, where culture, early democracy and civilization flourished.
  • College Counseling

    De La Salle Scholars have access to college counseling through interaction with the director of the program, who is their college counselor during their junior and senior years. Beginning junior year, Scholars will have access to Naviance, an online database for college and university information. During the junior and senior years, Scholars have the opportunity to make college visits to several areas on the East Coast. Specifically, the De La Salle Scholars college counseling services are as follows:
    • Junior Year - The director meets with parents and students in the fall of their junior year to begin discussion of the college application process.
    • College Visits – These trips generally take place in the student's junior year. They serve as an invaluable tool to assist scholars in their understanding of the college application process and the vastly different choices for higher education.
    • Senior Year - Students receive step-by-step counseling, mentoring and guidance through the application process and work closely with the College Counseling Office and members involved in the student's college decision-making process.
    • St. John

      St. John's Scholars visiting England during their 2015 spring break.

De La Salle Scholars Program Faculty

List of 1 members.

  • Anna Garland 

    Dean of Academic Services; Director of the De La Salle Scholars Program; Introduction to Sociology
    202-363-2316 x1095