One School, Many Books

Last year, English Chair Mr. Todd Gilbert announced a change in the summer reading policy: students would read one book of their choosing from a list of of many genres and discuss it with the faculty member who selected it. This message was met with many different responses. Some students supported the idea, and other students really supported the idea. For those curious and motivated young scholars who always do their assigned reading, it was a chance to find a book that they felt like would really stimulate their minds. Or, if you were like me, it was a chance to completely blow off the assignment and watch the movie instead (Just kidding Mr. Gilbert and my parents, I definitely read). Regardless of reasoning, the One School, Many Books initiative was a big hit for all the students. However, more than just the students benefited from the new summer reading program. Mr. Ong had this to say regarding his Ong School, Many Books experience: “For me, I like to read every summer anyway, and I never read as much as I want to, especially during the school year. So I appreciated that [One School, Many Books] motivated me to take this book that I had wanted to read for a while and have a relatively interesting discussion with the kids who also read it.” Mr. Ong’s book, The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, highlighted the negative effect that humans have regarding life on Earth. Other popular books included Born a Crime by Trevor Noah and Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg, which both had great topics of discussion for students to partake in. However, people like Ding Ma ‘20 will never know. “I didn’t even buy the book,” Ding says. “Why would I do all that reading when I could just watch the movie?” I asked Ding whether he actually watched the movie or not. “Eh, kind of,” he said, with a big grin on his face. On the other hand though, plenty of students actually absorbed the information that the program was meant to put out. Max Slotnik ‘20 says “I really enjoyed spending an hour and a half with Mr. Closen, but I also found the discussion I had with him and my classmates regarding the holocaust and it’s affects really intriguing.” With success like this, The One School, Many Books program is sure to continue many years into the future.

Noah Frato-Sweeney ’20

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