It is suggested that humans drink roughly eight glasses of water per day for optimal health. Yet this summer, it was required for Seaholm students to read 248-page “Bottlemania” by Elizabeth Royte for optimal knowledge on this year’s district theme of sustainability.
The novel analyzes the potential dangers of both bottled and tap water, while also addressing possible solutions to ensure safe drinking water.
According to Principal Deanna Barash, the process of choosing “Bottlemania” involved a reading committee of one student and five teachers.
“We all read a different book,” Barash said. “We came back together and rated them based on readability, how it impacted sustainability, and whether or not it was interesting.”
After a discussion process, the committee chose “Bottlemania” as the school’s summer read.
“We felt that it had the best readability,” Barash said. “It was something where we could have a project and maybe do some work with it.”
Requiring the same novel for all grade levels and faculty was new for Seaholm this year. Barash was interested in the whole school reading the same book.
“One reason is because the districts theme this year is sustainability and secondly because I really wanted to do a school-wide summer read,” Barash said. “I’ve done that in my previous district and when students go to college, they will probably do that before starting their freshmen year.”
Assistant principal, Deb Boyer, was also in favor of a school-wide summer reading assignment.
“The idea was that we all do something together and we can discuss deeper issues,” Boyer said. “For once all of us are in the same boat; all of us are learners together.”
Although administration supported the idea of “Bottlemania” and the entire school reading it, students had mixed reviews.
“Having the whole school read the same book is a bad idea in the first place,” senior Alex Voronivich said. ”How a freshman interprets a book is substantially different than how a senior would interpret it.”
Voronovich believes the school should have taken a more traditional route with the assignment.
“If the whole school is required to read a book, why not a classic like ‘The Catcher in The Rye’ or ‘1984’,” Voronovich said. “Chances are in ten years I won’t remember ‘Bottlemania’, but I’ll definitely remember ‘1984’ and it’s message.”
Although Voronovich didn’t find the summer assignment useful, some students viewed the assignment as a learning experience.
“I liked how it went much more in depth than I expected,” freshman Abby Bernard said. “It explained what’s really going on in the bottled water industry from multiple point of views.”
Students were required to respond to three 250 word essays based on the prompts available on the Seaholm website.
Author Elizabeth Royte will be visiting Seaholm to discuss the novel with staff and students.
“I think it’s cool if you actually hear from the person who’s written it and done the research behind it,” Barash said. “We could’ve just done discussion like all the books you read in class, assuming we knew what the author meant. This is her chance to come in and talk about what she’s written.”
The district’s theme of sustainability certainly hit home with this summer’s school-wide read.
“If there’s anything we learn, it’s no matter where water comes from we have to be very conservative,” Barash said.