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Jack Martin '22, co-founder of the Veterans Affairs Club with Nick Zarbin '22, shares news of a new initiative, and explains why the club is important to him.

In Our Own Words: Big Blue Summer Edition: Claire Keller '21, Elisabeth Korn '21, and Caeley Feeney '21

By Claire Keller '21, Elisabeth Korn '21, and Caeley Feeney '21


The three of us all share a love of reading and, last fall, we wanted to extend that love of reading to a broad cross-section of Pingry students and connect with the entire high school. With the help of [Upper School Director] Ms. Chatterji, we established an Upper School Book Club. 

When remote learning began in March, we thought about different ways in which we could continue the Book Club we already had going. Since we were no longer limited by the physical proximity of our two campuses, we took this as the perfect opportunity to bridge the gap between Pingry's Upper and Lower Schools. In order to do so, we reached out to Grade 1 teacher Ms. Watts, who connected us with her class. We began to meet virtually with some of her students, twice a week. The three of us would switch off reading chapters of the book series Cam Jansen, and in between we would all talk about the book and our predictions for how/if Cam was going to be able to solve the mystery. 

However, as we met more and more and all started getting more comfortable with one another, our sessions frequently ran over as our time began filling with the students' stories from their day. Our time became a mix of stories from our own lives and stories from the books we were reading. Our Book Club became a way to break from the monotony of quarantine and see some friendly faces who we may have otherwise not gotten to know. 

As the school year drew to a close, the three of us became incredibly sad at the prospect of no longer seeing our new friends. We desperately wanted to continue this great dynamic we had begun and maybe even extend it to a larger group. We reached out to Mrs. McArthur, Director of Summer and Auxiliary Programs, to hear her thoughts, and she quickly responded with great enthusiasm and excitement. We talked for a while about the best way to structure a virtual camp and realized what a great opportunity this could be for Lower School students to make their summer reading list a little more valuable and a lot more fun. Each week, we read books off of their summer reading list and prompt them with questions in order to discuss their opinions and reactions to the book. We also spend some time towards the end of the session playing virtual games, whether that is hangman, Pictionary, or Simon Says. We hope this will allow their summer reading to be exciting and even a little more social. 

The Summer Reading Enrichment camp, which runs in one-week sessions throughout the month, began on July 6, and we are so excited for it to be up and running! We look forward to getting to meet even more Lower Schoolers and sharing with them our love of reading.

Read more about Claire, Caeley, and Elisabeth's Summer Reading Enrichment camp—and register!

To learn about another virtual summer course offered by a Pingry student, read this essay by Alesia Paliwoda '21.

Andrea Dawson, Senior Writer,