School is almost out, and it’s the time of year for students to choose their summer reading books. Every year, students wake up at the crack of dawn to wait in a massive line outside Mr. Bradford’s room, which is where they choose their books. This year, the line was as long as ever, but the options for books changed. Summer reading will also be different from previous years. Before, students had to read two books, one assigned for their entire English class, as well as a book of their choosing, sponsored by a member of the faculty. Many students also had to read a third due to taking an AP class. Weber has changed its summer reading policy this year.
First, students are no longer required to read a book for their specific English course alongside the faculty sponsored book, and the books they might have to read for their AP courses. Moreover, rising seniors have the option to co-sponsor a book with teachers, thus providing student-chosen books to the other high schoolers. Sarah Lewyn, a rising senior, stated that she likes “kids choosing books so other kids can read them, as opposed to teachers choosing books that no one ever wants to read, or books of a genre that are all the same genre. I think it’s really good that there are a lot of different selections [of books] as opposed to one universal book that everyone has to read. I like that we have choice.”
Ms. Leigh Herman, an English teacher, is also glad that students had the ability to choose some of the summer-reading books. She also agreed that students have more of a say in what they are reading over the summer. Ms. Herman, in particular, co-sponsored the book, “Please Look After Mom,” with rising senior Samuel Weiss-Cowie. Ms. Herman decided to work on this book with Samuel because he was a winner of the Sejong Essay Contest about Korean culture, and Ms. Herman is in a fellowship that is allowing her to travel to Japan, South Korea, and China this summer. Ms. Herman and Sammy’s book is about a mother going missing and the mother’s family needing to find out where she is, learning more about her along the way. According to Amazon.com, “’Please Look After Mom’ is at once an authentic picture of contemporary life in Korea and a universal story of family love.”
Another interesting book that some students will read over the summer is, “Where You Go Is Not Who You’ll Be: An Antidote to the College Admissions Mania,” which is being sponsored by Mrs. Chesser. Regarding her chosen book and its relationship to college applications, Mrs. Chesser stated, “College mania has reached an all time high. The application process is now driven almost exclusively by fear instead of excitement. I chose Bruni’s book, hoping students and parents who find themselves more anxious than hopeful, will join me in a conversation about how we might re-imagine a new, optimistic perspective about college and, more importantly, what comes after.” Other books students might read over the summer are “Ender’s Game,” a classic science fiction novel which is being co-sponsored by Ms. Laura Klingensmith, Izzy Jacobs, and Chloe Deutsch, and “I’m a Good Dog: Pit Bulls, America’s Most Beautiful (and Misunderstood),” sponsored by Spanish teacher Ms. Olivia Rocamora. This book informs people about how pit bulls are sweet animals, and are not as vicious as people think they actually are.
However, not everyone has a positive opinion on the new system. Andrew Freedman, who is graduating from Weber this May and is Co-Managing Editor of this publication, stated, “It makes me a little upset because sponsoring a book means that you’re already guaranteed to get that book. Some people used to have to come early to get the book that they want, and they didn’t end up getting that book.” While some people brave the infinite line to Mr. Bradford’s room, other students just skip it all together and do not need to come early in the morning and brave the longest wait since the last iPhone. However, all rising seniors had the ability to co-sponsor books, but some chose not to.
Both opinions here are valid. While students think that this new policy will allow students to pick more interesting books, others think this is unfair. Regardless, the school still has to see how these newly chosen summer books appeal to the students. Hopefully the Weber students enjoy their chosen books and have a wonderful summer.