20 Jul 2009

Students and Faculty Members Participate in The Big Read

All Catholic High students and faculty members are reading the same book this summer as part of the CHS summer reading program. A Long Way Gone, memoirs of a boy soldier, by Ishmael Beah is a national bestseller that tells the story of a twelve-year old boy who fled rebels in Sierra Leone for more than a year until he was recruited by the government army to fight in a bloody civil war. Along with other boy soldiers, he was trained to violence as the only way to escape his impossible situation and to avenge the horrible deaths of family members. After several years of fighting, at age 16, Ishmael was rescued by UNICEF and underwent an arduous rehabilitation process.

The book vividly underscores the plight of thousands of young people today who are forced into violence as boy soldiers in scores of countries. The purpose of the CHS read is to allow students and teachers from various disciplines to discuss major issues facing our global society from different viewpoints. Reading the books should do more than simply raise awareness of students and teachers to a major problem of boy soldiers and exploitation, it promises to challenge, to provoke, and even inspire as one witnesses firsthand that acts of good can triumph over evil and that healing and reconciliation are possible even in the most dire circumstances.