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Carthage announces First Year Read for Class of 2018

Programming will include novel’s first theatrical adaptation, written by Carthage playwright Mikaley Osley ’14

 

By Elizabeth Young, Carthage College
 

Members of the Carthage Class of 2018 may not be official Carthage students until September, but thanks to a new First Year Read experience, they’ll have the opportunity to engage with each other and a compelling novel before the school year even begins.

Anita Diamant's <em>Day After Night</em>

Early this summer, all members of the incoming class will receive a copy of the novel Day After Night by Anita Diamant. Students will be asked to read the novel during the summer. Come September, the novel will feature prominently in the College’s New Student Orientation. There will be small book discussions led by Carthage professors, as well as other special activities.

Consider it an appetizer — a taste of everything to come, said Jason Ramirez, Associate Vice President for Student Life and Dean of Students at Carthage.

“The wonderful thing about a common read program is that it is an opportunity for freshmen to work together, and to learn in a fun way what it means to be a college student and think like a college student,” Mr. Ramirez said. “It will ease them into their transition to Carthage.”

About the Book

Day After Night (Scribner, 2009) is the fourth novel by best-selling author and award-winning journalist Anita Diamant, author of The Red Tent.

Named a Best Book of the Year by The Washington Post and The Salt Lake Tribune, Day After Night is based on the extraordinary true story of the October 1945 rescue of more than 200 prisoners from the Atlit internment camp, a prison for “illegal” immigrants run by the British military. The novel follows four young women at the camp who survived the Holocaust. Haunted by unspeakable memories and losses, the women find salvation in friendship as they face the challenge of re-creating themselves in a strange new country.

“It’s about four young women, their decisions, and how those decisions impact their lives,” making it a perfect First Year Read book, Mr. Ramirez said. Beyond literature, the novel has ties to history, religion, sociology, political science, women’s and gender studies, and psychology. “There are many opportunities to draw on this book in a rich, interdisciplinary fashion.”

Coming to a Stage Near You



Day After Night is such a powerful story that a play based on the novel, written by current Carthage senior Mikaley Osley ’14, will be staged on the Carthage Theatre Main Stage in Fall 2014. Mikaley, who will graduate in May with a degree in theatre and English, worked for three years with theatre professor Herschel Kruger to adapt Day After Night into a play.

The adaptation was Prof. Kruger’s idea.

“He came to me at the end of my freshman year because he knew I wanted to be a playwright,” Mikaley said. “He told me he had a book that would make a great play, and to work on it over the summer.” Her sophomore year, Mikaley did an independent study with Prof. Kruger to work on the adaptation. The following summer, they applied for and received one of Carthage’s Summer Undergraduate Research Experience grants, which fund full-time summer research for students and faculty mentors. Mikaley finished the play her junior year, and she and Prof. Kruger held readings at a local synagogue and on campus.

It was an incredibly difficult but rewarding experience, Mikaley said. “When you’re adapting, the goal is to keep the spirit of the story alive, but you’re going from a book, where readers can read the characters’ thoughts, to the stage, where the audience can only hear their conversations with other characters.”

Spurring Conversations for the Entire First Year

Mikaley’s play will be the first student-written play produced on Carthage’s Main Stage, and is one of many reasons Day After Night was selected for the First Year Read program.

“A successful First Year Read really needs to be tied to other types of programming and have different avenues for students to engage with the work,” said Prof. Kruger, who proposed Day After Night for this year’s common read.

The novel was selected by a committee of faculty, staff, and students, who will now finalize a full year of programming associated with the novel.

“The First Year Read is an opportunity to have a shared experience with the first-year class, and then use that shared experience to help them understand what it means to academically engage with the institution and each other,” Mr. Ramirez said.

“This is a story. It’s not a textbook. But students will be able to glean certain ideas from the book and apply those concepts to whatever discipline they’re studying,” he continued. “It will help our incoming class feel connected to Carthage and each other.

“It’s a way for us to say, ‘You’re part of us. Start reading this book and let’s do these projects together.’”

  • Quick Facts

    • Carthage is named a Best Midwestern College by The Princeton Review (2017), a designation given to only 25 percent of four-year schools.

    • Scheduled to open in fall 2018, a new residential tower will offer suite-style housing and two floors of shared campus spaces for gaming, cooking, group meetings, or quiet studying. Learn more about The Tower

    • You’re going to need brain fuel. Grab a morning coffee and a snack and Starbucks or Einstein Bros. Bagels. Later, meet friends at “The Caf,” where the specials change daily but the staples are constant, or swing through “The Stu” for wins, a burrito, or a sub. A new option, Carthage Cash, even covers some off-campus meals.

    • 96% of Carthage alumni report that they have secured a job or are continuing their studies six months after graduation. Visit Career Services.

    • 91% of employers say critical thinking, communication, and problem-solving skills matter more than your major when it comes to career success. Learn more about how the liberal arts prepare you for a successful career.

    • Lots of schools wear the four-year label. Carthage stands behind it. 95% of Carthage graduates earn their degrees in four years. Learn more

    • Oscars. Emmys. Tonys. Golden Globes. The playwrights we’ve brought in have them. Each year, the Carthage Theatre Department commissions an original script by a renowned playwright for its New Play Initiative. Carthage students then work with the writer to stage it. 

    • As a freshman in the highly selective Honors Program, learn how to gain expertise in anything from music to forest ecology. After that, tackle a contemporary social, economic, or political problem. If you like, you can live on an Honors-only floor of a Carthage residence hall. 

    • In 2016 and 2017, Carthage was named a top producer of Fulbright Scholars by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.

    • Things look new at Carthage because they are. Our athletic and recreation center, student union, computer labs, audiovisual production suite, and numerous residence halls have all been constructed or newly renovated in the last 10 years. Our new science center caps it off.

    • Carthage offers majors, minors and concentrations in more than 50 areas of study, from archaeology to athletic training, neuroscience to music theatre.

    • Our Summer Undergraduate Research Experience offers select students a research budget, one-on-one mentoring with a professor, and 10 weeks of analyzing, deciphering — and getting paid.

    • So the lake is kind of a focal point, but there’s a lot more to love about our campus — like the fact that our 80-acre campus is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary. Focused on keeping campus lush forever, we plant between 50 and 75 new trees every year from a variety of species.

    • Carthage was founded in 1847. That’s more than 170 years of leaders, makers, and go-getters going out and going forth. Read more about Carthage’s rich history.

    • More than 90 percent of our students receive financial aid, a hefty chunk of which is scholarships and grants — including $1.25 million annually from the Presidential Scholarship Competition and numerous Merit Scholarships. Learn what’s available.

    • Abraham Lincoln was an early Trustee of the College, and U.S. Secretary of State John Hay was a Carthage alum. The two still have a proud place on our campus. Spend some time with them in our Sesquicentennial Plaza. On warm days you’ll find professors leading their classes here.

    • Come to Carthage; hear yourself think — think … think …
      Legend has it that Sesquicentennial Plaza holds a perfect echo. Just stand with both your feet on the “1847,” face Straz, and start talking. “You’re the only one who can hear you, but you’ll be crystal clear,” promises English and theatre alumna Mikaley Osley.

    • Our Great Lake provides Carthage students with some amazing views. Think classes on the beach, lake views from the lab, and sunrises from your dorm room. “I love waking up in the morning with the sun shining off the lake. Nothing compares to the view in the morning,” says biology and neuroscience major Ann O’Leary.

    • Carthage awards up to 30 Presidential Scholarships each year, which range from 75% tuition up to full tuition, room, and board. Learn more.

    • For a full decade, NASA has selected Carthage students to conduct research aboard its zero-gravity aircraft. Lately, the stakes have risen. A team of underclassmen is grinding to prepare a tiny but powerful Earth-imaging satellite for launch to the International Space Station. Learn more about the space sciences at Carthage

    • Carthage is the only college or university in the Midwest where every freshman takes a full-year sequence of foundational texts of the Western intellectual tradition. Learn about the Carthage core.

    • With a student-faculty ratio of 12:1, your professors will know who you are. They will also know who you want to be — and how to get you there. Meet our faculty.

    • There are more than 120 student organizations on campus, from Amnesty International to Chemistry Club, to Frisbee and Latin Belly Dancing. See how easy it is to get involved.

    • True story: There are more than 27 art galleries, a dozen museums, and nine theatres within 25 miles of Carthage. Some highlights: The nationally recognized Racine Art Museum, the world-renowned Art Institute of Chicago, and the Milwaukee Art Museum. Learn more about our location.

    • What’s better than one professor? Two professors. What’s better than two professors? Two professors from totally different fields teaching a single class. There’s debate. Discussion. Differing perspectives. This is where the magic happens. That’s why every student takes a Carthage Symposium.

    • Imagine presenting your original research at an international conference — as an undergraduate. Carthage is dedicated to undergraduate research. Learn more about current opportunities.

    • You can’t hide here — not with only 17 other students in the classroom with you. That’s going to be rough some mornings. But later, when you’re able to argue your point of view thoughtfully, express your opinions succinctly, and meet challenges head-on, without fear … Yep, you’ll thank us.

    • Carthage is ranked No. 11 in the country for student participation in short-term study abroad. Every J-Term, hundreds of students travel all over the world on faculty-led study tours. Imagine a month in Sweden, Rome, Cuba, Senegal, India, Japan …

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