New England
A group of students at the front door of the Chapel


What a first day for the 2021 New England High School Summer Program! After Monday’s second class, in which students discussed piety, the essence of virtue, and definition in Plato’s Euthryphro, the group made its way down to one of the campus’ athletic fields for the Section Games.

A “section” at Thomas Aquinas College is a group of about 17 students who, for the duration of the academic year, take all their daytime classes together. The idea behind organizing classes this way stems from the College’s use of the Discussion Method. Because the method depends on open discourse — which, in turn, relies on trust — it is important for students to come to know each other well. By taking nearly all of their classes together, the members of each section achieve a sense of intimacy and come to rely on one another in their shared pursuit of the truth. 

For the Section Games, students from each of the Summer Program’s sections faced off in a variety of games, including egg toss, water balloon fights, and relay races. The afternoon was warm, but the students thoroughly enjoyed themselves, and some even lingered afterward for a quick game of ultimate Frisbee. 

Section Games
  • The summer programmers head out to the field for some recreation
  • A group of students discussing the games on the field
  • Three students smile for the camera
  • A student running across the field
  • A group of students running toward something out of frame
  • A row of students afront the treeline
  • Students cheer and applaud
  • Students join hands and form a long line
  • Students lie face down in a row as one student runs over them, trying not to step on any
  • A student completes his run down the row of fellow students
  • Three students in a row, with spoons in their mouths like pipes
  • A student carries an egg in a spoon in his mouth
  • All the summer programmers, crowded around a pail of water balloons

After they cleaned up a little back in their residence halls, students walked over to Gould Hall, where a scrumptious pizza dinner was waiting for them. Then it was off to the first study hall of the program. Students spent some quality time in Dolben Library preparing the readings for tomorrow’s classes, including selections from the Pre-Socratic philosophers and a second Greek tragedy, Antigone.

First Study Hall
  • Students fill the main area of the library
  • Students listen to Jon Daly explain the principles of Study Hall
  • Students applaud as Jon Daly completes roll call the fastest
  • Students study on the library couches
  • Two students at a round table
  • Two students reading on a long couch
  • A student in an armchair, reading
  • Three on the couches and armchairs in the music room
  • Overhead view: four study at a table by the stairs
  • Overhead view: four at work at a rectangle table
  • Six study around a hexagonal table
  • Three study in chairs around a low round table

Many then filled Our Mother of Perpetual Help Chapel for recitation of the Rosary, led by one of the program chaplains, Rev. Greg Markey


Students pray the Rosary in the Chapel


At the prayers’ conclusion, the group walked to the newly renovated Tracy Student Center for an ice-cream social. Students had their pick of several delicious ice cream flavors, and some partook in games of pool, ping pong, air hockey, or foosball.

Ice Cream Social
  • Father Markey chats with a student over ice cream
  • Taking aim with the cue in a game of pool
  • A tense game of foosball, while a student in a NASA T-shirt watches
  • Getting ready to play a game of ping-pong
  • Three students pose for a photo
  • Another game of foosball
  • Two face off at the air hockey table
  • Three students chatting over their icecream
  • A group of students enjoy their ice cream at an upper-storey table in Tracy

As the busy day drew to a close, programmers returned to their residence halls for a good night’s sleep. Today features another full day of classes and other activities, so be sure to visit the SummerBlog this afternoon for the latest details!