Greenwich Academy Press

The Student News Site of Greenwich Academy

Greenwich Academy Press

Greenwich Academy Press

Adventures of a High School English Major

From Jane Austen to Ada Limón: The Somerville Scholars’ Literary Odyssey
Somerville Scholars examine manuscripts at the Beinecke.

This time last spring, the GA English Department introduced the class of 2025 to the Somerville Scholars program. This initiative aimed to provide a nurturing environment for students who identify as “English kids”—individuals whose academic focus, extracurricular pursuits, and genuine love for the subject have distinguished them as such. As the inaugural class of Somerville Scholars, both the students and faculty embarked on a journey to define the essence of the program and its objectives.

The genesis of Somerville Scholars stems from the department’s collective desire to provide “an academic home for students who really love English,” as shared by Mrs. Maliakel. “Our hope,” she continues, “is that in addition to being a group of like-minded peers, the Somerville Scholars also feel a special connection to our department.”

In addition to the curricular expectations, the Somerville Scholars have had monthly projects/trips designed to enrich our passion for English literature and language.

We kicked off the inaugural year with the Summer Institute—preseason for high school English majors—which consisted of discussions on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, a themed dinner, and a field trip to Yale’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Each of these events was organized and led by different members of the English Department, allowing the students to strengthen their innate bond to the department’s faculty.

“From its beginnings,” Mrs. Maliakel shares, “we knew we wanted the Somerville Scholars to feel connected to the department as a whole, so part of our collaboration has always been built around various members of the department leading workshops, planning field trips, and brainstorming summer and spring break reading for the scholars.”

The Summer Institute cultivated a close-knit, compassionate cohort, which was only strengthened by the academic year. Between our hype video for Lauren Groff’s visit, journal-making with Ms. Berman, selecting our spring break read, and a special session with Shakespearean actor Jimonn Cole, our collective experiences have not only fostered camaraderie but also engendered excitement within the community.

The English Department is constantly sending us opportunities, both in and out of the GA community, to pursue our literary interests. One of my personal favorite experiences thus far as a Somerville Scholar was the Marginalia exhibit in the GA arts building. We were invited to be a part of the exhibit by annotating faculty-selected poems. I loved walking through the arts building every day, whether for class, rehearsal, or advisory, and seeing our work alongside that of the faculty. And of course, who doesn’t love annotating poetry in their free time?

Now, as the inaugural year of the program draws to a close, we’re thrilled for the upcoming adventures on our agenda: A poetry reading of “You are Here” with Poet Laureate Ada Limón! And if that isn’t exciting enough, we’ll also be having our first discussion on Virginia Woolf’s To the Lighthouse, our spring break read, marking the beginning of a new chapter in our exploration through literature.

In the spirit of new chapters, we are especially eager to welcome in a new wave of scholars from the class of 2026!


Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Elizabeth Montgomery ’25
When not writing for GAP, Elizabeth can often be found studying for Latin, baking banana muffins, and going on long walks. She is also the stage manager for GA's productions and loves all things technical theater related.

Comments (0)

All Greenwich Academy Press Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *