Dedicated to the People of Darfur: The Menlo edition

Dedicated to the People of Darfur: The Menlo edition

This summer the community read was Dedicated to the People of Darfur by Luke Reynolds. Students were required to read this book in addition to others assigned by their for their upcoming fall classes. According to Freshman Class Dean Cindy Lapolla, the purpose of the community read is to “create an experience that would celebrate both the text and the idea behind it.”

Although the novel holds good reviews from the general public, its popularity among students at Menlo is questionable.  Despite its reputation among critics and editors, Dedicated to the People of Darfur has been ignored by a large portion of the Menlo community. Some might say the lack of participation in the assignment is due to the laziness one adopts over summer, but some see it as a rational decision, rather than laziness. “It isn’t worth reading because you only talk about it for one advocacy period, so there’s really no point,” senior Christine Kvamme said. Explained a Menlo junior: “I [did the community read] when I was a sophomore, but then we only went over it for two minutes in advocacy, so I decided the amount of time spent reading it was not worth the amount of time spent discussing it, and therefore there was no point.”

Although the assignment may not have held the greatest participation, the book was successful in leaving a lasting impression on those that did read it. Senior Shane Barratt admitted that, “even though I didn’t read the whole book, I felt moved by the stories I did read, especially ‘Camping out of the Comfort Zone.’” Barratt explained that it taught him how taking risks can pay off, and that even though it may sometimes seem intimidating, this memoir taught him that they are worth it in the end. On a final note, although some students may find the book unnecessary, those that did read it agreed that it was a good use of their time and, “for a schoolbook, not terrible,” juniors Jordan Vasquez and Max Zats said.

On Tuesday Sept. 4, the student body and faculty met for an assembly to discuss the community read. In addition, various students and teachers gave moving speeches on their own experiences with fear, risk, and hope.