Summer Program Blog
Earlier this morning in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel
The first day of the 2014 High School Summer Program began with breakfast in St. Joseph Commons, followed by a student orientation session in the library. There, the director of the summer program, Dr. Christopher A. Decaen, introduced the students to the program’s tutors — all members of the Thomas Aquinas College teaching faculty. The group then posed for a photo by the Guadalupe Fountain before heading across the quadrangle for a morning Mass in Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel.
For the first day’s classes, students studied Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex and Plato’s Euthyphro. Then came an afternoon of sports and fun on the campus athletic fields:
Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Chapel
Prefects Andrea Florez (’14) and Kathleen Sullivan (’06) prepare for the arrival of the Summer Program students with some final phone calls …
The photo above shows some of the prefects who have arrived early to help set up for this summer’s Great Books High School Program. The 2014 leadership team eagerly awaits Sunday, when this year’s students — 136 in all — will arrive from points throughout the U.S., as well as Italy, Argentina, Canada, the United Kingdom, Singapore, and Mexico. For two weeks, these young scholars will study the great books and participate in rigorous classroom discussions — and enjoy a California summer of faith, fun, and friendship.
Check in regularly at thomasaquinas.edu/summerblog for daily (or more) updates and photos from this year’s program. Or, follow the College on Facebook or Twitter and get the news delivered directly to you.
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!