CCS's Newest Club: Areopagus

Alex Boggs, Staff Writer

We might not have Saint Paul to preach to us, but we do have a hill, and we have created our own Areopagus. Here on either Lookout Mountain, or at the top of McCallie’s campus, we congregate and discuss books.

It all started with a challenge. Mrs. Hughes challenged her AP Language and Composition class last year to read five books over the summer which corresponded with ten categories she chose. When the year ended, almost everyone said that they were going to try and do it. When this year began, only seventeen actually did. We, the select seventeen seniors, meet, dine together, and then the fun began.

Numerous themes came up during this discussion. Someone read A Doll’s House by Henrik Ibsen, which brought up the idea of what it’s like to be a woman and the role expected of women.Then the next person had read Americanah by Chimamanda Adichie, which addressed the racial structure of America. This book was followed by The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, which brings up the idea of hypocrisy, specifically in religion.  The conversation was amazing because it bounced around from subject to subject, never staying anywhere too long.

By the end of it, we were sad to leave. However,  Mrs. Hughes had the great idea to continue this group during the year. She proposed that we keep reading throughout the year and meet monthly . We loved the idea. It was great because it encouraged us to keep reading throughout the year, which is sometimes forgotten in the hustle and bustle of school.

Last week we celebrated our third meeting. It might not seem like much, but it is fun. It might seem nerdy, but we don’t care. Our Areopagus meetings allow us a chance to meet together outside of school, hang out with friends, and have intellectually stimulating conversations that don’t occur in the classroom, which was the purpose of the club. Mrs. Hughes started this club because she “sensed an interest in student reading outside the curriculum.” She noted that many students truly “desired to read and discuss,” and she wanted to nurture this.

I truly love this club because I get to hang out with people, that I might not get to talk to that much, and discuss books, which I already love. It’s nice because I can see what my friends are reading, and I can share what I’ve been reading. Normally when I finish a book, I feel changed. This club allows me to talk to other literary enthusiastic about the change that I’ve gone through because of a book, and they- for the most part-understand.

In the future, Mrs, Hughes plans on continuing this club. She wants to keep nurturing reading and leadership in this atmosphere. As far as change goes for the future, she said she is interested in bringing in a guest speaker, such as a local author. She also wants to try and incorporate poetry reading more.

The mission of this club is to read, to discuss, and to allow the literature to “transform us and transport us,” and boy do we love it.

The seventeen students, plus a few active readers that were additionally invited, were then invited to Mrs. Hughes’ house on Lookout Mountain to discuss one of their five books. Everyone was excited. We all picked our book and went. We had a lovely conversation during dinner, including analyzing which animal plate we had and what this meant. Once dinner was done, we moved onto her patio and began our book discussion. This conversation seemed to last forever. It began with us writing our book’s title on a card and placing it in a bowl. Mrs. Hughes selected someone to pick first. They picked a card, read the title, and we guessed who read it. This was fun in and of itself. Once we were picked, the picker asked us questions. After about five minutes, the person that was picked, then picked another title. This went on until the last person was picked.

The first meeting of the Areopagus Club

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