Mixed race college student studyingWe have had thousands of students go through our Great Books Program since we launched in 2000. If you are one of our alumni, please email us your thoughts and a photo of yourself. We will be happy to post the information below. Please send to info@greatbooksacademy.org.

Class of 2014: Ren Blackard – I can gladly say that I am happy to have been able to take the Great Books Discussions course. It has aided in shaping who I am today in important aspects of my life; faith with Augustine and Aquinas, empathy with Shakespeare and Jane Austen, and a flexible mentality from authors such as George Orwell and Hobbes. I am sad that the journey is over, but at the same time excited to start down my own college path. Thank you to all the staff that make this program possible, from the moderators who always seem to find the perfect questions to ask in our discussions, to the assignment team who is tasked with understanding the mess us high schoolers attempt to pass as an essay. Thank you for the journey through the ages.

Class of 2014: Martha Egan  I seriously cried last night when I remembered it was the last class (of course reading My Antonia at the same time didn’t help). It still amazing to me that one 2 hour online class, one day a week, has such an impact on you!! I am so grateful for the friends, experiences, and awesome discussions I’ve been a part of in this class. I wish all my classes could be this way. Anyway, I will definitely be in touch, and I wish you all the best! Thank you very much! I will repeat over and over how awesome it has been to be a part of this great program, and how much I will miss the wonderful discussions with my classmates. – Martha Egan

Class of 2014: Frank – This is an achievement that fulfills a dream of mine that goes back over 50 years when I was a technician, working my way through an engineering degree at the University of Dayton. A young engineer for whom I was working showed me a couple of then recently purchased Britannica Great Books. I was fascinated with the set and have always wanted to explore the books but wasn’t able due to marriage, raising a family and pursuing a career. The past 4 years have been very interesting, stimulating and exciting. Thank you for such an excellent program and I especially thank Mr. Bertucci for his camaraderie and patience. Best wishes to all with many prayers and blessings from one of your oldest students. (picture is of Frank and Jeanette, his wife of 50+ years)

Class of 2014: Paul Reilly – Only now as I reflect over my time in the program did I realize what an incredibly unique and special experience it has been. The last four years have been exceptionally enriching – culturally, philosophically, and even spiritually. Having such an exposure to the foundational works of Western civilization has given me a strong educational basis from which to continue my studies in any field.

Class of 2014: Alexander Audet – Books leave imprints on our souls. The ones most important to us change the way our minds work. In one sense I feel that I have become the sum of the books I have read. I believe that what we expose our minds to shapes what we think about, and the way we think about it. The Great Books have given me countless ideas that have shaped every aspect of my life from how I see school, and the food I eat, to my view on politics, life and God. I would like to thank all my teachers throughout my four years of the Great Books program, especially Mr. Bertucci and Dr. Taylor. Without them guiding me, I never would have had the chance to learn about all the great ideas passed down through Western thought.

Class of 2014: Joseph Maier – Every experience in life, whether good or bad, contributes in some way to shape who a person becomes. The experience and the lessons learned from it are, consciously or unconsciously, internalized and ultimately become a part of us. There are, in the course of our lives, a few particular experiences that we can point to as incredibly formative and even life-changing. My time studying the Great Books is one such experience. The experience I have had over the last four years in the Great Books program, has been a lens that has brought a sharp focus into my mind and allowed me to see more clearly the intricacies of the human condition, so that I may be better grounded in the truth and with that all-important grounding, I may safely and confidently navigate this complex world. My Classical Great Books education has given me a deeper understanding of human nature and the forces that influence it, and will be invaluable in whatever path I may choose to take in the future.

Class of 2014: Brother Mikeal  I’ve been meaning to write a little letter of thanks to all those at Great Books. It was very interesting experience for me. I had a teacher in high school who was very qualitative and human in his approach to teaching, and I gained a lot from it. But I had never participated in a program like Great Books here. I could say a lot, but the basic thing I would like to say is that the way the classes were conducted was very healthy and very human. The great books will always be the great books, but how we approach them makes all the difference. A lot of the goodness in the classes seemed to me to stem from your all’s sensitivity to the poetic experience and the “heart” in the biblical sense. Things in life that are beyond reason and precise definition. Things we need in large and small ways. Things we need to appreciate and respect if we are going to be fully human. Often I think we don’t respect these things, or we underappreciate or despise them. I felt that by learning to respect these things, we could then more fully appreciate more concrete things. Thank you all for providing this. It was a great help to me and for many of the students involved. You all will remain in our prayers, br.mikael

Class of 2014: Kurt Floyd – The Great Books program has been, in my opinion, the most important part of my education so far. It’s not only given me a well-grounded mental picture of the history and ideals of Western civilization, it has given me the wisdom, and in a way the spirit, of the past 3000 years of philosophy and history. It has been invaluable in helping me succeed in and graduate high school, and has given me a solid foundation for learning in the future. It gave me an activity to look forward to – or dread, as was the case a few times in the first year – every week, and has prepared me for college. Before I finish this paper, I’d like to thank all of my teachers, and the paper graders for an amazing four years. I’m eternally grateful that I’ve been privileged enough to have experienced this program, and, God willing, my future children will be able to experience it as well.

Class of 2014: Savannah – One of the most important things that I have learned over the last four years is that we all pursue happiness as the final goal of our lives, and that we find this happiness ultimately only by pursuing the good, the true, and the beautiful. This is the real purpose of education, to assist the student in recognizing and pursuing that which will make him truly happy. But foolish people often see these things as threat or an obstacle to their happiness, and so they twist and pervert them in an attempt to give credence to their own idea of happiness. Reading these books from the great authors of the past, has given me the tools and the knowledge to find the errors and perversions in their arguments, and so guard myself from being led away from the only thing that can truly make us happy: truth. My education up to this point, rather than focusing primarily on the external world, has focused on giving me the tools I need to better understand the human nature that I share, so that I can better understand myself, and effectively combat the corrosive and unfulfilling ideas of the modern world.

Class of 2012: Abigail – As a recent graduate of this admirable institution, I would like express my thanks and admiration for Angelicum Academy. The “Great Books program” is quite simply the ultimate educational experience. Enthusiastic, curious students will excel in this program if offered this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Students gain confidence in communication as they are led by world-class instructors through incredibly memorable discussions over works by Homer, Kant, Shakespeare and more. Throughout middle school/high school it slowly became my favorite class and is by far the one I look back on most fondly as I enter college. I feel so blessed to have been able to participate in the program.

Class of 2012: Kelsey B. – I graduated from the Great Books program two and a half years ago, and now study at a liberal arts university. Although the Great Books program is often extolled (and rightly so) for its ability to prepare students for university studies, its true virtue rests in the fact that it prepares students for more than a few years of academic work. It prepares students for life. The Great Books program finds and develops the love of wisdom in each of us, helping us to love goodness for its own sake and not an arbitrary letter on a transcript. The program ends after four years (much to our chagrin), but students emerge from it as fledgling philosophers, prepared to expand and enlarge this love of wisdom for the rest of our lives.

Class of 2010: Jillian Hansen  I just wanted to thank you from the bottom of my heart for these last four years! This program has changed my life for the better in so many ways. You are one of the most extraordinary people I have encountered in my life, and I feel so grateful to have been able to be a part of this program.
Thank you again, for everything!