Learning how to worship God through your studies now helps merge and harmonize faith and work in adulthood; this perspective is priceless.
Grow Your Understanding of the World
As one author writes, the purpose of the humanities is to “engage with the genius and radical difference of the past” and to work to understand how that genius and those differences inform our present and future.
To study the humanities is to study society and culture. At Westminster, this is not just a study for the sake of gaining knowledge. Students analyze the beliefs and behaviors of human beings from across the history of the world so that they can gain an understanding of what life is—which is critical to their discovering, embracing, and integrating a biblical view of the world into their own lives.
Our Bible, English, and history departments allow students to engage with ideas and beliefs that have shaped the great cultures throughout the centuries. Our vision calls us to “prepare more young men and women to engage the world and change it for Jesus Christ.” So rather than sheltering students from ideas that may be in contrast with our Christian beliefs, we encourage students to examine them closely and thoughtfully so that they may be prepared to engage the world on a deeper level once they leave our classrooms and hallways.
Throughout their time at Westminster, students are exposed to rigorous studies of scripture, close readings of great works of literature, and intensive analysis of major historic events. Students are also provided opportunities to go deeper with co-curricular programs.
Jake Patton ’96
Westminster Reading Initiative
In an effort to promote the value of reading in a culture that is quickly forgetting that value, Westminster students are required to maintain a list of all the books they read between 7th grade and 12th grade.
- How it Works
Each Westminster student will be required to build a metaphoric bookshelf during his or her years at Westminster. That is, students will create and keep a list of all the books they read between 7th grade and 12th grade (both books they read as part of the curriculum and books they choose on their own). This list can be maintained on Goodreads or on a spreadsheet shared with each student’s English teacher.
As a baseline, each student will add a minimum of five books to his/her bookshelf each year. This list of five will consist of the following:
- 1 book of choice from the Westminster Bookshelf (view the PDF version)
- 1 book recommended to the student by a parent, teacher, mentor, coach, pastor, etc.
- 1 book recommended to the student by a friend
- 1 book discovered by the student
- Students will also add a minimum of one book they read from the curriculum.
- Recommended Books
The books that comprised the Westminster 100 will be part of the “Westminster Bookshelf,” from which students will still select titles to read and add to their own bookshelf. Westminster’s “bookshelf” will not be static, but will instead be updated at the end of each school year based upon teacher and student recommendations.
The Westminster Bookshelf is divided into three levels based upon reading difficulty and age-appropriateness. These divisions are merely suggestions. Students may select books from any level during their time at Westminster. You can view the bookshelf in its entirety and by division below.
- School Involvement
To help facilitate the development of student bookshelves, the English department will run a book-in-hand program in each class and also build reading time into each week. In classes that are literature-based, the book(s) taught in the curriculum can function as the student’s book-in-hand for reading time.
- Parent and Community Involvement
Parents, faculty, staff, and administrators will be encouraged to participate in the program and build their own bookshelves on Goodreads to share with the community. Students are more than welcome to “hang out” on a teacher’s or coach’s bookshelf. This part will take some time to develop as faculty and staff members work to build their own bookshelves on Goodreads.
At the end of each school year, two students from each grade level will be recognized: (1) The student who reads the most books total and (2) the student who reads the most books from the Westminster Bookshelf.