Lighting The Fire: High School Summer Programs at Thomas More

by Thomas More College on August 1, 2013

“Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire.”

 -William Butler Yeats

Thomas More College recently said goodbye to a fantastic group of young high school students who attended this year’s Great Books Summer Program and Catholic Leadership Institute. These two week summer programs were filled with laughter, joy and a high level of energy and excitement. It was amazing to see the drive and zeal of the high school participants in everything from classes and article writing assignments to learning new dances, folk songs and roasting smores around the fire pit.  The two weeks culminated in a rendition of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar complete with extensive line memorization, togas, and, spoiler alert, the dramatic death of Caesar.DSCN8102

The Thomas More summer programs are geared towards prospective scholars and lovers of truth of the High School age. These participants are challenged to not merely read great literary works, but to immerse themselves in the pages, drawing from them something new and exhilarating, yet simultaneously timeless and comforting. Through discussions, writing assignments, and extracurricular activities they are guided to develop and refine their thoughts. These young men and women are given a glimpse into something unique; a community grounded in faith, offering an education of mind, body and soul, which aims to enrich them wherever God calls them in life.

The Great Books students took classes on literature, political science and philosophy. They balanced their love of fun with engaging and demanding reading assignments. With zest and cheerfulness they rose to the occasion to meet new standards of expectation. Learning to read the great books with new eyes, interpreting poetry, and writing responses surrounded by the great books themselves in the colleges beautiful library. They took their first steps into the ongoing conversations, refined by the masters of thought and Truth, which span the centuries. They also got a taste of the Chefs delicious food, satisfying both mind and body.

Meanwhile the Catholic Leadership Institute participants had challenges and demands of their own. They filled their days with volunteer work, including time spent at a soup kitchen. In the classroom they discussed theories and sought solutions about how to combine good leadership with Christian morals. They had both theoretical as well as hands-on training to make a difference in the world; to learn to help themselves and others to live better lives. Finally they learned to articulate what they experienced volunteering and in the classroom by writing and sharing articles on a blog especially created for them. >>>>Read Here IMG_0963

Both programs complemented one another well and while these high school students were called to tackle some hard work, they also had the joy and vivacity to grow in good friendships and have fun. They visited Boston for the day taking in the historical sites with interest as well as a sense of humor. Back home on campus they braved the scorching sun several times to play outdoor games because they “just had such a good time”. For those who were not up for the heat, there were many relaxed “jam sessions” where a few would play guitar and all would sing whatever songs everyone knew, from “Under the Sea” to Irish Folk Ballads.

For participant Jacquelyn Oster this is the second year she has attended a Thomas More Summer Program.  She said she would definitely recommend the summer programs to others as “They offer a challenging start to those seeking truth”.  “I can honestly say that it changed my life” said Catholic Leadership Institute participant Matthew Wiessing.

Altogether, both programs were a joyful experience for those attending and those in the college community. Here’s to another fabulous summer with more to come.

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