Academics, Park Forest, Schools

One Book, One Marian: School-Wide Summer Reading At Marian Catholic

One Book, One Marian, Marian Catholic High School
It’s One Book, One Marian for Marian Catholic students and staff this summer. (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

Chicago Heights, IL-(ENEWSPF)- Marian Catholic High School started a brand-new reading initiative this summer called One Book, One Marian, an opportunity to engage and enlighten Marian Catholic students and staff, cultivating a sense of community through reading.

The initiative also aims to unite the Marian Catholic community together in reflection and discussion. The book is required reading for students, in addition to the other books in each class’ summer reading lists.

All students must purchase, read and annotate the book. Faculty and staff are also reading the book. Additionally, all members of the Marian Catholic community are encouraged to participate.

The school-wide reading program begins with Tattoos on the Heart by Father Gregory Boyle. Published in 2011 and described by the Los Angeles Time as literature “Destined to become a classic of both urban reportage and contemporary spirituality”, the book is a series of parables inspired by faith in which Father Gregory Boyle distills his experience working in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles running his gang-intervention program, Homeboy Industries.

“This year, we restructured our summer reading program to offer student choice,” Kathleen Mesterharm, Chairperson of the English Department, said. “We also wanted to include an element that would build community and create a shared experience of reading across grade levels.”

Ms. Mesterharm said she learned at something similar at an in-service this past school year, “I felt it was something that would be an asset to our summer reading program and my department and the administration agreed.”

“At Marian, we are ‘scholars with a soul,’ and it was important that we chose a book that would align with who we are and appeal to our diverse student population as well as to our faculty and staff,” Ms. Mesterharm continued. “We also leaned toward choosing a nonfiction book. Greg Boyle’s Tattoos on the Heart fit the bill on every level. It is a highly readable, beautifully written book about the power of compassion, the possibilities of love, and the reality of the shared human experience. It is real, raw, funny, and inspiring.”

A 2001 graduate of Marian Catholic, Ms. Mesterharm said the members of the English Department are looking forward to the “conversations, class discussions, and other possibilities for dialogue that this book and initiative will open up for the Marian community. From staff conversations at the coffee pot to cross-curricular discussions in theology, psychology, or history – this book and its message will provide opportunities for us to engage as a community of readers, thinkers, and lifelong learners.”

Marian Catholic held its “Schedule Pick-up Day” on Friday, July 20. The 2018-2019 school year unfolds beginning the week of August 13 with meetings and training for staff, including a staff Mass on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary. That week culminates with the school’s second annual Marian Catholic Night at the Chicago White Sox on Saturday, August 18. The game is at Guaranteed Rate Field at 6:10 P.M. against the Kansas City Royals.

The Marian Catholic Band will open the night playing of The Star Spangled Banner.

Students will begin to return to classes during the week of August 20.