Normally, this blog would be the text of the speech I gave at the Commencement Ceremony. However, since the ceremony is on our social media where everyone can watch it, it seemed redundant to post the written speech when readers who want to share in my “insights” for class of 2020 can hear them by watching the ceremony. So instead, I decided to share my final message of the 2019-2020 school year, which was sent to the young ladies in grades 7 to 11 last week. They’ve all been exceptional during this period of remote learning and I wanted to motivate them to keep up their dedication to their studies during the summer months…
You’ve made it to the last week of the school year. I know it has not been the easiest year, especially from March onward ( and even before March we had our share of “adventures” this year!) but you’ve done an exceptional job and you should each be extremely proud of yourselves.
I wanted to take today, as you begin to daydream about all the “downtime” you’ll have this summer, to share with you- for those that don’t know- that I began my teaching career 20 years ago, in 2000 as an English teacher. While the first two years, I taught SAT prep, from 2002 onward, I have always taught at least one English class during my career. You all know this has not changed, as I continue to teach an English elective at SDA each year.
Nothing was more fun for me, when I taught English full time, than to select the novels that were going to be read over the summer. I always wanted the summer reading to be fun, to be enjoyable and to inspire in each student a love of reading. Your English teachers this year have done the same and have chosen some wonderful works for you to read over the summer months.
Mrs. Good will be sharing the list with your parents, via email and I know your teachers have shared the summer reading lists with you. Because I feel that summer reading is so important and essential- I’m also sharing it here…along with some “thoughts.”
To Kill A Mockingbird- a classic- pure and simple. In my Film class, the father in this novel is considered to be the Number 1 Hero in Film…and when you read the book, you’ll know why!
The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon- In my top ten favorite books of ALL TIME! I miss teaching it so much- anyone who wants to chat about it over the summer…just email me. Ask any girl at SDA who took my 9th honors class about “Trisha” and they can give you an earful! You’re going to LOVE it.
Shoeless Joe- As all American as apple pie. Sports, fantasy, family…I bet you’ll cry at the end. And if you don’t…ask your dads/grandpas if they cried at Field of Dreams!
Love Is a Mixtape- Goodness! I’ve not read it, although I’ve read others by the author. You let me know if I should give it a try!
This Side of Paradise- Anything by Fitzgerald is amazing! If you like this over the summer…wait until you get to the symbolism of the green light at the end of Gatsby’s dock next year!
On The Road- Not going to lie- a hard read, but well worth it. And since we won’t be taking many road trips this summer, a virtual one with a acclaimed author is the way to see America over the summer!
Pride and Prejudice- I love it so much, when Abby was a baby she had the Baby Lit Board book version. It’s romantic, it’s got great leading ladies, and it’s witty. You will enjoy it!
The Metamorphosis- read it for first time as a junior in high school- could not get over the concept so I disliked it very much. Read it again in college- it broke my heart. Don’t wait till college to appreciate this book- it’s short enough that you can read it twice if you need to in order to get over the visual and get to the heart of the matter.
Never Let Me Go- So, you know how Facebook keeps your memories and reminds you of them? When I read this- it left such an impression that I posted about it and every year I am chilled for a few minutes when I reflect on this novel. You’ll like it…it will make you think.
The Alchemist- A must read- for AP for sure, but for everyone!
The Glass Menagerie- know what would be fun? To get on a daily Zoom with your friends and read it aloud! Drama is meant to be read aloud and when you hear the words, you will feel the moods of the characters. The phrase “gentlemen callers” will be a part of your vocabulary forever.
Of Mice and Men- Many have read it before, I know. It has been a “staple” of English classes since I was in high school and with good reason. If you haven’t read it- get tissues for the last chapter. If you have- trust me and do the re-read…its interesting how your view can change in just four years ( see my blog on Wicked for more insights on changing viewpoints!)
Well, ladies- there’s my unsolicited advice on your summer reading and thank you for allowing me, not just as Head of School but as an English teacher at heart the chance to share with you my thoughts on the stories set before you this summer!