Program links TCU, Paschal English students

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    One story brought students from the university and Paschal High School together to learn from one another.

    Linda Hughes, an Addie Levy Professor of Literature, said she contacted Tierney Weed, a teacher of Pre-AP and AP English at Paschal High School, and as a result 35  Paschal students came to the university Monday to discuss the beginning of “The Grapes of Wrath” with 34 students from Hughes’ class.

    Weed, a TCU alumna, said that although her students seemed scared at first, she was impressed with the depth of their conversations.

    “[They] were challenged more at the college level course,” Weed said. “They really stepped up their game and did more insightful reading than they normally do.”

    Hughes said the event was part of a larger project called the Big Read, a program sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts. The Big Read aims to increase literacy across the country, according to the project’s website.

    Junior strategic communication major Brian Busch said Paschal students shared mature insight on the symbolism in the novel he had not thought of before. He said their age difference gave them a different perspective on the novel that he looked forward to learning more about.

    Sophomore psychology major Holly Pettijohn said she enjoyed talking with the Paschal students because of their eagerness to learn. They fed off of each other’s ideas, she said, while talking in seven small groups with about 11 students to each group.

    Hughes said the university and Paschal recently formed an academic partnership that is encouraged by these discussions. A committee between the two schools was formed and programs were put in place with other university departments, according to an article on the university’s website. Hughes said she hoped her students could have a positive influence on the high school students and that she was surprised by their abilities.