Thomas Aquinas College: High School Great Books Program

Santa Paula, CA

Overview

Each summer for two weeks, high school students from around the country join members of the teaching faculty on the campus of Thomas Aquinas College for spirited conversation, engaging firsthand some of the best works of the past 2,500 years.

They read and discuss works selected from the masters of the Western intellectual tradition, including Plato, St. Athanasius, Euclid, Sophocles, Tolstoy, Shakespeare, St. Thomas Aquinas and Pascal. It is a time for forging new friendships, for enjoying the give and take of rational argument, and for pursuing the truth, which civilizes, ennobles, and liberates.

THE PROGRAM

The pursuit of wisdom begins with wonder — wonder about the causes and principles of man and nature, and wonder about God, who is the first cause and principle of all things. Through serious consideration of questions which deeply concern each person — and the whole of society — the Summer Program at Thomas Aquinas College encourages wonder and leads participants toward wisdom.

WHY THE GREAT BOOKS?

The great books are the seminal works in all the major areas of learning, including mathematics, science, literature, philosophy, and theology. In studying and discussing these works, rather than textbooks, students engage firsthand with the greatest minds of Western civilization. The great books open up for the student the truth about reality. Studied carefully under the light of the Faith, they animate the minds and hearts of students, satisfying the hunger for the truth that makes men free.

OUTSIDE THE CLASSROOM

The location of the College is ideal for recreation of all sorts. In addition to daily sports, occasional movies, and hiking in the hills surrounding the campus, the program includes trips to the Getty Museum, a concert in Los Angeles, and Santa Barbara for volleyball on the beach and exploration of the historic city.

Thomas Aquinas College is genuinely Catholic and has a rich sacramental life. Mass is offered daily, and a chaplain is available on campus at all times. None of the religious activities are mandatory, however, and non-Catholic students are truly welcome.

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