ONE SCHOOL ONE BOOK
This year’s One School One Book is Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy. Another Jesuit school, Loyola Academy in Illinois, read the memoir as their community reading last summer and gave it these accolades:
Just Mercy is Mr. Stevenson’s account of his own journey, first as an undergraduate student at Harvard University and then as a legal advocate for the marginalized and falsely convicted or unfairly sentenced. We read about his work with Mr. Walter McMillian, a black man wrongfully accused of murder and sentenced to death in Alabama in the late 1980s. And, as we read, the author guides us on a path traversing pain, inequity, brokenness, empathy, forgiveness, advocacy—and love.
We see in this book how communities create and reinforce values (positive and negative), and how these values have a significant and lasting impact on all of us. With its themes of race, gender, mental health, law and the justice system, equality and education, Just Mercy is relevant for the entire Loyola community. It is a book about breaking down barriers of elitism and recognizing that we are all more alike than different, each fallen and each worthy of forgiveness.
As Mr. Stevenson recalls scripture from the Gospel of John—“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone”—he suggests that each of us should instead become a stone catcher. “There is no such thing as being a Christian and not being a stone catcher,” he writes. “You’re not going to catch them all...But if you have the right relationship to it, it is less of a burden...than a blessing. It makes you feel stronger.” (https://www.goramblers.org/news-detail?pk=942291)
This is the fourth year of Loyola College Prep’s “One School One Book” initiative where we have engaged community members, faculty, students, and their families in reading one literary selection over the summer. We have found that these selections challenge our thinking, promote discussion, and ultimately draw us closer together as a school community as we all have a shared experience.