Summer Program Blog
Happy news about Philip — the 2013 High School Summer Program student for whom readers faithfully prayed throughout the program. Philip’s family reports that he was discharged from the hospital on Tuesday and is doing very well. Not only is he off of his pain medication (which was only Tylenol!), but he plans to leave Santa Barbara shortly to join his extended relatives for a joyous family reunion.
Thanks be to God!
The Carrescia family is deeply grateful to all for the prayers and support it has received over the last few weeks. Thank you and God bless you!
Be sure to read this reflection on the 2013 High School Summer Program by one of our students!
Saturday officially brought the 2013 High School Summer Program to a close. The first shuttles bound for LAX departed at 5:30 a.m. and continued throughout the morning, returning the high school students to the 32 different states and 3 foreign countries from whence they came. The day brought numerous hugs and tearful goodbyes as the students realized how close they had become to one another over these two weeks of study, activities, and prayer.
During their annual wrap-up meeting, the Summer Program staff unanimously hailed the 2013 program as one of the most successful in recent memory, largely because this group of 136 students (the largest Summer Program in Thomas Aquinas College history) so enthusiastically and fully immersed themselves in the intellectual and spiritual pursuits of the program. Mere days later, the Admissions Office has already begun to receive applications from Summer Program students who are now seeking to enroll in the Thomas Aquinas College Class of 2018.
As a parting note, we present the following video, taken at the final Mass of this year’s program. It features Alex de Pommery (a Summer Program student from France) and prefect Thomas Quackenbush (’14), singing the Ave Maria in French. Enjoy!
Friday evening went very well. After a hearty dinner, dessert, and coffee, Dean Brian T. Kelly greeted the students and thanked them for coming and for enlivening the campus during a quiet summer. Tutor Michael Letteney followed with a brief address, wrapping up the program and explaining some of the connections to be found throughout the curriculum.
At the conclusion of dinner, all moved to the Chapel, where Fr. Sebastian exposed the Blessed Sacrament and the group prayed the Rosary and the Chaplet of Divine Mercy. Students then returned to the Commons, where they danced until nearly midnight, at which time prefects Chris Sebastian and Andrea Florez played an 18-minute slideshow of pictures from the last two weeks. After much hugging and bidding adieu, all turned in to the residence halls and prepared for their journeys back home — with the first van leaving at 5:30 a.m., and the last scheduled to depart just after noon.
After classes ended on Thursday afternoon, a group of the men took to the ponds on the lower campus for a greased-watermelon battle, in which teams attempted to bring said watermelon across the pond and to the opposing team’s goal:
Meanwhile, several of the women took a trip into Santa Paula with their prefects, enjoying coffee at a local beanery and browsing a local thrift store:
That evening, after the last study period on Thursday evening, students gathered in front of the Chapel for a Rosary procession to the Lourdes Grotto, which prefects had prepared ahead of time with candles. Upon arriving at the grotto and completing the Rosary, the group fell silent, deep in prayer. The silence only broke several minutes later, when the students headed back toward the upper campus, singing hymns along the way.
In the remaining time before curfew, some students held an informal dance practice, while others visited in the coffee shop or the recreation room. At 10:30 p.m., all returned to their residence halls, where they enjoyed pretzels with mustard.
The night was not quite over, though. About 15 minutes later, the ladies of St. Monica’s and their prefects arrived outside the men’s residence hall, bearing cakes and singing happy birthday to Summer Program student David Sherwood. Mr. Sherwood gladly accepted the cakes, and then shared them with some of his very pleased friends.
Friday marked the last day of classes, with Euclid in the morning and Boethius in the afternoon. There was a certain exuberance in the air as students departed their classrooms and moved across the quadrangle to gather several gifts from their prefects — Summer Program t-shirts, a book bag, a book, and pictures of their sections and the entire group.
For the remainder of the afternoon, some headed down to the basketball courts for a 3-on-3 tournament. A small group took a trail run with Admissions Director Jon Daly, who found the students to be in far better shape than he! Mr. Daly reports, however, that the run was exhilarating and a wonderful way to round out a great two weeks.
As of this writing, students and prefects are readying for tonight’s banquet and dance. A slideshow with pictures from the dance and entertainment will come soon!
Wednesday was a full day! The students worked through their second morning of Euclidean propositions, then moved on to a discussion of Boethius’ Consolation of Philosophy in the afternoon. Tutors Dr. David Appleby and Dr. Phillip Wodzinski opened their section’s discussion by noting that Boethius presents Lady Philosophy as a physician or a doctor. So what, the tutors asked, is Lady Philosophy’s diagnosis of the patient?
From that starting point, the conversation progressed into an inquiry into what kind of treatment Lady Philosophy has to offer. Dr. Appleby noted that the class discussion went “very well indeed!”
After class all joined in St. Joseph Commons for one last afternoon practice for Friday’s post-banquet dance. Then, during study period, there was practice of a different sort: Students and prefects left the library and headed for the classrooms, where they worked their way through the next day’s Euclidean propositions on the chalkboards.
Later on, after evening Rosary, the group met up in the Commons for Open-Mic night. Students performed some 20 songs in all — many of them original — in English, Spanish and French. One of the more extraordinary numbers was “Ars Poetica,” a stunning 32.4-second recital of the periodic table of elements! At the end of the performances, students returned to their residence halls, where prefects cooked up hot dogs to stave off pangs of hunger before bedtime.
Thus concluded Day 11 of the 2013 Thomas Aquinas College High School Summer Program, which, alas, is quickly drawing to a close …
Thank you for all your prayers!
According to Mrs. Carrescia, Philip’s neurosurgeon has successfully removed a cavernoma (an aneurysm-like structure) from his brain. He is awake, alert, and talking (which was a pre-surgery area of concern). Mrs. Carrescia reports that he looks better than he did when she first arrived at his California hospital earlier in the week.
Thanks be to God! And please continue to keep Philip and his family in your prayers.
Participants in the 2013 High School Summer Program, members of the faculty and staff, and student workers will meet in the Chapel at 12:50 p.m. to pray for Philip Carrescia, who will be undergoing surgery at 1:00 p.m. Summer Program Chaplain Rev. Sebastian Walshe, O.Praem. (’94) will lead the community in the Chaplet of Divine Mercy.
If possible, would you please join us in prayer at that time?
All are hopeful that the operation will go well, but it is serious surgery and prayers, as always are needed. The Carrescia family is grateful for the many prayers that have been offered so far, and ask for continued prayer for Philip’s full recovery.
Summer Program students pray the Chaplet of Divine Mercy for classmate Philip Carrescia earlier this afternoon. Please keep those prayers coming!
On Tuesday morning, the High School Summer Program students got to demonstrate their knowledge of Euclidean geometry for the first time, taking to the classroom blackboards to work their way — step by step — through several propositions. Then, after the jubilation of clearing what, to many, may have once seemed like an insurmountable obstacle, the students readied themselves for a journey into the big city. Following Mass and lunch, they loaded into three 55-passenger buses and headed to Los Angeles.
The first stop was the J. Paul Getty Museum in the Santa Monica Mountains, with its panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and the vast expanse of metropolitan L.A. The students wandered the campus, gazing upon paintings, illuminated manuscripts, statues, photographs, and beautiful gardens. The sights spurred discussions about beauty and whether it can be objectively defined.
Next, all piled back into the buses to go the Hollywood Bowl, stopping briefly in the parking lot to consume a dinner of 55 pizzas. Upon entering the storied amphitheater, the students settled in for a concert by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, which performed several classical pieces, including the overture from Mozart’s Marriage of Figaro, Mendelssohn’s Overture in E for Two Pianos, and Schubert’s Symphony No. 5.
At the end of the concert, the group returned to the buses, where they prayed a Rosary for their classmate Philip, and caught up on reading for the next day’s classes. The next morning, they were up bright and early to demonstrate more propositions in their first class, and then to discuss Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy in the afternoon.
Next up: dance practice and open-mic night in the coffee shop …