Every year, Suffield Academy students are required to take part in the Summer Reading Program. The program reflects several aims, most importantly, encouraging students to read outside of the classroom and beyond the school year. Students were tasked with annotating their books as they read to then participate in discussions during the Summer Reading Book Club on September 13. This new book club format required each student to select one book to discuss in a group with the faculty member who recommended it.
Director of College Counseling & Leadership Ann Selvitelli chose The Wisdom of the Bullfrog: Leadership Made Simple [But Not Easy] by Admiral William H. McRaven, a retired Navy SEAL who has written several books that illustrate leadership lessons learned from his storied, four-decade military career. In her discussion, Mrs. Selvitelli asked students to share what they learned from the book [the importance of leadership, respect, failing, sacrifice, and second chances, as well as details about military history]. She also asked students about any personal connections they had to the reading, and to think about the lessons they might apply to their leadership classes. Perhaps most importantly, Mrs. Selvitelli emphasized, “Any kind of reading is good for you.” Sara Yeager put forth the novel Our Missing Hearts by Celeste Ng and said about her book group, “The Our Missing Hearts group was amazing. A dozen students gathered for a poignant and thoughtful discussion. One adopted student shared her experience that a mother giving up her child is the ultimate act of love; a mother sacrifices herself so that her child can have a better life. It was an emotional moment and her fellow students rallied around her and thanked her for sharing something so personal and being vulnerable. Author, Celeste Ng, has said that she hopes her books make people think and talk to each other, that goal was accomplished on Wednesday.”
Student attendee Nora Boino ’24, who read The Wisdom of the Bullfrog, shared, “The summer reading book club provided the opportunity for students of all grades and backgrounds to come together and share their own perspectives and interpretations of the reading. I walked out of the discussion with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the book.”