Summer ’22 Community Read Revealed

Friday, May 20, 2022
Director of Library Services Alexandra Patterson and students with a copy of "Project Hail Mary"

As Mercersburg students head off for the summer, they will all be diving into the 2022 all-school read, Project Hail Mary by Andy Weir. The book is part of Mercersburg’s Community Reading program, which also includes an optional Reading Challenge, and everyone–whether an Academy student or not–is invited to join in reading the books. 

“This year's committee has worked since May 2021 to choose the book,” says Alexandra Patterson, director of library services. “Starting with the 2022-2023 theme, ‘A Sense of Place,’ we whittled down a list of more than 30 books to our final selection. The committee is really excited for everyone to read this book and to engage with our half-day of workshops in the fall.” 

While the all-school read is required, the Reading Challenge is optional. To participate in the challenge, community members must read five books: the all-school read, the book assigned for their English class, one of the faculty-sponsored reads listed below, a nonfiction book of their choosing, and a fiction book of their choosing. Students who complete the challenge will take part in seminar discussions at the beginning of the fall term with faculty members and other students. 

The selection of faculty-sponsored books includes:
Walking the Wrack Line by Barbara Hurd (sponsored by Nikki Walker P ’19, ’23)
The Long Way to a Small Angry Planet by Becky Chambers (sponsored by Suzanne Taylor)
The Overstory by Richard Powers (sponsored by Michele Poacelli P ’24)
How to Be Perfect: The Correct Answer to Every Moral Question by Michael Schur (sponsored by Tim Kerr)
Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey (sponsored by Jim Malone P ’01, ’03)
As Long as Grass Grows: The Indigenous Fight for Environmental Justice, from Colonization to Standing Rock by Dina Gillo-Whitaker (sponsored by Will Willis P ’22, ’24)
Florida by Lauren Groff (sponsored by Rebecca Rose)
The Ones We Were Meant to Find by Joan He (sponsored by Jessica Doubell)

The all-school read is chosen each year by a Community Reading Committee. This year’s committee includes students Jade Matthias ’22, Natalie Kochova ’22, Greta Lawler ’23, Chuks Ugori ’23, Bob Hollis ’24, Maria Akaras ’24, Eva Speck-Ewer ’24, Reagan Houpt ’25, and Kaiya Hoffman ’25. Faculty members on the committee include Ryan Tyree, Ellie DeLeon, Tom Thorne P ’06, ’07, Cindy Fowler, and Liam Chatterton, along with Poacelli, Kerr, Doubell, and Patterson. 

Mercersburg’s Community Reading program was recently featured in the School Library Journal

Parents and students interested in more information about this summer’s Community Reading (including a complete list of English class reads), should visit their Veracross portal.

The academic year for ninth-, 10th-, and 11th-grade students at Mercersburg ends Thursday, June 3. (Commencement for the graduating Class of 2022 is Saturday, May 28.)

For more information on this story, please contact Lee Owen ( in Mercersburg’s Office of Strategic Marketing and Communications.