New Summer Reading Option: Me Talk Pretty One Day (Juniors)

Over the next few months, we will be revealing the titles that will become our additional summer reading options for the summer of 2016. Students will select one title from a list of six novels per grade (In the subject line of the post, “Freshmen” means that the book will be read by incoming freshmen, not existing ones, etc.). 

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris

There are few writers today who command an audience at a book tour like David Sedaris. He’s nearly at rockstar status. People pay upwards of $60 to hear him read, and lines trail around the block at his book signings. His appeal comes from his humor – in this collection of essays, Sedaris recounts his experiences as an expatriate in Paris, trying to learn French as an adult, and feeling like a failure most of the time. Sedaris’s stories are great – his stories turn from poignant to hilarious, and he’s the type of author who makes you want to find a friend and tell him or her, “Read this!” If you’ve never read any of his material, or heard his stories (Sedaris is a frequent contributor to NPR programs), then this title is considered by many to be the place to start.

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Final Call for Student Poetry Contest

A reminder: The deadline for the Ruth Berrien Fox Award is March 28. From our previous post:

The Ruth Berrien Fox Award, given annually to the best poem or poems written by a high school student in Massachusetts, is now open for submissions. The deadline for the contest is March 28. We’ve had some success with this contest, as Dora Kadish won the $100 prize in 2013.

Attached below are the submission guidelines…

Good luck!

Contest deadline: March 28

No fee for full time students.

Submit in duplicate, with school name, grade, address and email address of student, and contest name on one entry. 

Send to: Children’s Contests, Longfellow National Historic Site, 105 Brattle St., Cambridge MA 02138

Ruth Berrien Fox Award
Given for a poem by a Massachusetts High School student. Prize $100.

New Summer Reading Option: Citizen (Juniors)

Over the next few months, we will be revealing the titles that will become our additional summer reading options for the summer of 2016. Students will select one title from a list of six novels per grade (In the subject line of the post, “Freshmen” means that the book will be read by incoming freshmen, not existing ones, etc.). 

Citizen by Claudine Rankine

Citizen by Claudine Rankine

This book is prose poetry, visual artwork, anecdotal storytelling, essay, narrative, and verse. It is easily the most experimental works that we offer at BHS in the way that it challenges the whole notion of what a book is and how it ought to function. The book’s central theme is the current state of affairs in the United States in how we react to or respond to racial tension. The book examines historical moments like Hurricane Katrina and the increased awareness of police violence against black youths, pop culture moments including professional tennis and soccer athletes, and the contemporary contradiction of how racial identity has become a topic that we must talk about, and yet as a country, we seem ill-equipped to talk about it. This 2014 publication is a thought-provoking and exciting book from a contemporary perspective.

BHS English Department Launches Two Scholarships

The English Department is excited to announce that it is launching a pair of annual scholarships this year.

BHS English Department Diligence Award

An award of $400 for a student who has developed and evolved in his or her English classes at Burlington High School. Students will have to submit two original pieces of any style of writing that they created for an English class at BHS, and explain in a short essay (double-spaced, one page maximum) how they have improved in their English classes throughout their four years at BHS. The focus should be on the growth of the student as a reader, writer, and/or thinker. Students should submit their work to their English teacher or to Mr. Lally in room 316.

Students also need to have completed the Burlington High School General Scholarship application to be eligible for this scholarship.

BHS English Department Clerisy Award

An award of $400 for a student who plans to pursue a degree in Literature, Writing, or Secondary Education with the goal of becoming an English teacher.

Students who have completed the Burlington High School General Scholarship application, and whose declared major is stated above will automatically be considered for this scholarship.

Special thanks to the Art Department, who provided the guidance for the creation of these awards and to BHS alumna Kathleen Hong who provided the inspiration.

 

 

New Summer Reading Option: The Beach (Seniors)

Over the next few months, we will be revealing the titles that will become our additional summer reading options for the summer of 2016. Students will select one title from a list of six novels per grade (In the subject line of the post, “Freshmen” means that the book will be read by incoming freshmen, not existing ones, etc.). 

The Beach by Alex Garland

The Beach by Alex Garland

In this novel, Richard is a young Brit who has traveled to Thailand in an attempt to find something new. When he gets there, though, he’s disappointed in how many other westerners are there seeking the same sort of adventure. That’s when he finds out about The Beach – a secluded island that has not yet been tainted by commercialism. What follows is Richard’s efforts to find this island and become a part of the ragtag group of people who have turned it into a secret utopia. But what that utopia really is, and what it demands of Richard, quickly changes.

This book takes a harsh look at globalization, and how the desire to be unique sometimes becomes an unattainable and foolish quest. The pacing is quick, and the writing is sharp. If you liked Lord of the Flies or LOST, you’ll love The Beach.

Sophomores – Get Pumped For MCAS – Or At Least Get Ready for MCAS

Sophomores, don’t forget to check out our MCAS Resources page that includes a sample ELA exam, every long-response writing prompt since 2006, and a list of all of the literary devices that have appeared on the MCAS over the past ten years. It’s a good place to get a sense of what sort of question you will have to answer on the Long Composition next week.

Good luck, sophomores!

BHS Film Club to show “Girl Rising” on Monday, 3/21

The Film Club is planning a viewing of the documentary Girl Rising on Monday, 3/21 at 6:30 in the library. This film was chosen in celebration of Women’s History Month. It follows 9 girls from around the world who face various challenges that they work to overcome. It really is an eye-opening and inspiring documentary.
We will be selling pizza!! Be there!!

New Summer Reading Options Added for 2016

Feels like summer is coming early this year. That means – more time for summer reading! That’s awesome.

We’ve added a few more options to the summer reading list, and culled a few of the titles that did not get much attention this past summer. Moving forward, we may reassess our book list from year to year, but we expect that this will be the last year where we will add any significant number of options to our mandatory summer reading. We will add book descriptions for the newer titles as soon as we are able, but to check out our new options, CLICK HERE.

Final 2016 Poetry Out Loud Update

While we were saddened to see that Angel Vargas was not selected to move on to the national competition in Poetry Out Loud, we can take some solace in that the 2016 winner, Courtney Stewart from Springfield, is the first-ever three-time state champion in this competition, and is basically a poetry juggernaut. For what it is worth, we preferred Angel’s version of Ozymandias, which Courtney also recited in the finals. Great job, Angel, in representing BHS so well!

We’ve added two videos to our Poetry Out Loud page – one is a video of the 2016 finals, in case you missed them, and another is an interview that BCAT conducted with Mr. Lally about Poetry Out Loud, it’s history, and what it brings to Burlington High. You can find the  video of the finals HERE and the interview HERE.

And thanks to the English Department members, and the student body for their hard work in this excellent program!