Each summer for two weeks, high school students from around the country join members of the teaching faculty on the campus of Thomas Aquinas College for spirited conversation, engaging firsthand some of the best works of the past 2,500 years. They read and discuss texts selected from the masters of the Western intellectual tradition. They explore the natural and cultural riches of Southern California. They live together in a community immersed in the Catholic faith. And they make friendships that will last a lifetime.
With the start of the new year, the College is now formally accepting applications for the 2014 Summer Program , which will take place from July 20 to August 2. This year’s program will offer a new curriculum, featuring such works as Tolstoy’s Death of Ivan Ilyich, St. Athanasius’s On the Incarnation, and Flannery O’Connor’s “The Enduring Chill.” As usual, the two-week session will also include a full range of recreational activities, from hiking to beach volleyball, swing-dancing to trips to Los Angeles and Santa Barbara.
“This program amazed me,” says Ron McCann, who attended last summer. “The readings were excellent; the trips were excellent; the sports were excellent; the prefects were excellent; the tutors were excellent.” Adds Siena Hsu, a fellow 2013 participant, “I have never been in an environment more open to seeking the truth for the sake of the truth alone, one insistent on doing so as a community, not as isolated individuals.” Highlights from last year’s program can be seen in the slideshow below, or via the Summer Program Blog .
There will likely be about 130 openings this year, so high school juniors are urged to move quickly on their applications  (brief essay, reference letter, and transcript). Total price, which includes books, room, and board, is $975.