Charles Wright Academy Blog

Summer Reading: Native Guard

Summer Reading: Native Guard

Even the students are excited to read poetry this summer!

Native Guard: Poems by Natasha Trethewey

Growing up in the Deep South, Natasha Trethewey was never told that in her hometown of Gulfport, Mississippi, black soldiers had played a pivotal role in the Civil War. Off the coast, on Ship Island, stood a fort that had once been a Union prison housing Confederate captives. Protecting the fort was the second regiment of the Louisiana Native Guards -- one of the Union's first official black units. Trethewey's new book of poems pays homage to the soldiers who served and whose voices have echoed through her own life.

The title poem imagines the life of a former slave stationed at the fort, who is charged with writing letters home for the illiterate or invalid POWs and his fellow soldiers. Just as he becomes the guard of Ship Island's memory, so Trethewey recalls her own childhood as the daughter of a black woman and a white man. Her parents' marriage was still illegal in 1966 Mississippi. The racial legacy of the Civil War echoes through elegiac poems that honor her own mother and the forgotten history of her native South. Native Guard is haunted by the intersection of national and personal experience.

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

In the comments below, tell us why you read poetry!

The Bon Life: A Day in the Life of Working at Cavalia

The Bon Life: A Day in the Life of Working at Cavalia

By: Tobi Keers '07

Alumna Tobi Keers ’07 began touring the globe as an assistant veterinary tech with world-renowned equestrian show Cavalia two years ago. When she’s not busy caring for more than 40 horses or continent hopping with a literal stable of animals and colleagues, she’s studying remotely for a vet tech degree from Purdue University. Having finished a run of shows in Brussels this spring, she and the Cavalia crew are spending the second half of August in Singapore. Below, she outlines a typical day in her utterly atypical life.

Currently the horses are on vacation at a small farm outside Brussels. Our head veterinary technician is on a two-week holiday touring Europe, which leaves me, the assistant vet tech, in charge of managing the health of all 43 horses. I'm living in the apartment just above the stables—when I'm half asleep in my bed, I can hear the horses snorting, snuggling into their shavings, and licking their salt blocks. If anything happens to go wrong in the night, I'll be sure to hear it.

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Summer Reading: A Sand County Almanac

Summer Reading: A Sand County Almanac

The Charles Wright faculty is devouring this summer reading book at lunch!

A Sand County Almanac and Sketches Here and There by Aldo Leopold and Charles W. Schwartz:

Admired by an ever-growing number of readers and imitated by hundreds of writers, A Sand County Almanac written by Aldo Leopold serves as one of the cornerstones for modern conservation science, policy, and ethics. First published by Oxford University Press in 1949 – one year after Leopold’s death – it has become a classic in the field equaled in its lasting stature only by Henry David Thoreau’s Walden.

The Aldo Leopold Foundation

What classic writing inspires you?

Summer Reading: Winter Bones

Summer Reading: Winter Bones

Make no bones about it, this group is reading Winter's Bone this summer!

Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell:

Ree Dolly's father has skipped bail on charges that he ran a crystal meth lab, and the Dollys will lose their house if he doesn't show up for his next court date. With two young brothers depending on her, 16-year-old Ree knows she has to bring her father back, dead or alive. Living in the harsh poverty of the Ozarks, Ree learns quickly that asking questions of the rough Dolly clan can be a fatal mistake. But, as an unsettling revelation lurks, Ree discovers unforeseen depths in herself and in a family network that protects its own at any cost.

Hachette Book Group

What are you reading right now?

Character Development: Set a Powerful and Practical Example

Character Development: Set a Powerful and Practical Example

By: Diane Hunt, Head of Lower School

Here is a link to an interesting character development article from the Washington Post website: Are you raising nice kids? A Harvard psychologist gives 5 ways to raise them to be kind. What I appreciate about this article is that it provides powerful strategies, explanations of why they are important, and very practical examples of ways to implement them.

Are you interested in modeling kindness for your child? When you are out shopping for school supplies with your kids, why don't you have them pick up one extra item to donate to a local child for whom new school supplies may not be possible. If our Lower Schoolers bring these extra items to school sometime between now and the Open House/Family Picnic on August 25, we can offer the crayons, pencils, loose leaf paper, and such to the four public school teachers in our CWA Lower School parent body. You can bet that each of these teachers knows several students for whom new supplies would be a real treat. To see typical public supply lists you can do a quick websearch.

Summer Reading: Beautiful Souls

Summer Reading: Beautiful Souls

These beautiful souls are excited about summer reading!

Beautiful Souls: The Courage and Conscience of Ordinary People in Extraordinary Times by Eyal Press

History has produced many specimens of the banality of evil, but what about its flip side, what impels ordinary people to defy the sway of authority and convention? Through these dramatic stories of unlikely resisters, Eyal Press’ Beautiful Souls shows that the boldest acts of dissent are often carried out not only by radicals seeking to overthrow the system but also by true believers who cling with unusual fierceness to their convictions. Drawing on groundbreaking research by moral psychologists and neuroscientists, this deeply reported work of narrative journalism examines the choices and dilemmas we all face when our principles collide with the loyalties we harbor and the duties we are expected to fulfill.

Macmillan

Do you see yourself or those around you in any of the roles described in this book? Comment below!

Steve & Kate's Camp: A Few of My Favorite Things

Steve & Kate's Camp: A Few of My Favorite Things

By: Delany Hagerstrom '25

Rising Charles Wright Academy second grader Delaney Hagerstrom shares her favorite activities at this summer's Steve & Kate's Camp!

The counselors are fun and helpful. I like all the activities. It is really nice having all the options.

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Celebrating Cultural Exchange with Mukogawa School

Celebrating Cultural Exchange with Mukogawa School

By: Stephanie Glenn '86

Charles Wright welcomes Mukogawa School students from Japan to the Pacific Northwest! Former Japanese teacher and Society of Elders member Yasuko Wada founded the program, which aims to promote cultural exchange and help the Mukogawa students learn conversational English, 29 years ago. They participate in a homestay program, visit the CWA campus, and take classes with CWA teachers at UPS. Current World Languages Department Chair Stephanie Gleen '86—an assistant with the program 24 years ago—has been leading the program for the last 20 years and shares photos and updates from the 2014 edition!

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Summer Reading: American Born Chinese

Summer Reading: American Born Chinese

This graphic novel from the Upper School summer reading list explores stereotypes and self-acceptance:

American Born Chinese by Gene Yang

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Summer Reading: The Highest Tide

Summer Reading: The Highest Tide

Sophomores are staying local for their assigned summer reading!

The Highest Tide by Jim Lynch

One moonlit night, thirteen-year-old Miles O'Malley sneaks out of his house and goes exploring on the tidal flats of Puget Sound. When he discovers a rare giant squid, he instantly becomes a local phenomenon. But Miles is really just a kid on the verge of growing up, infatuated with the girl next door, worried that his parents will divorce and fearful that everything, even the bay he loves, is shifting away from him.

Bloomsbury Publishing

Do you remember identifying literary techniques such as images, similes, metaphores, and symbols when you studied literature? How did it help you appreciate your reading?

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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