English

Program Goal

English courses expand literacy, critical thinking, and communication skills necessary for college-level study, for understanding and communicating with the world beyond academics, and for life-long learning.  Exposure to various cultural perspectives of the past and present through the study of novels, stories, poetry, drama, and non-fiction is essential to building self-awareness and an appreciation of one’s place in and responsibility to the world.  In guiding students’ growth in writing, reading, speaking, and listening, the English program’s goal is to graduate prepared, competent, and compassionate young adults who confidently and faithfully face the challenges of continued study and the rich complexity of human interaction.

 

Alumni Reflections

  • “I began my high school career an unpolished writer lacking confidence, but left more than prepared to tackle difficult college-level writing assignments with confidence and ease. The CC English Department is staffed by some of the most knowledgeable and  effective teachers I’ve seen. Their guidance and deep understanding of literary content and writing styles made improving my writing abilities a daily activity and the lessons learned are invaluable. By reading and discussing topics like health, warfare, poverty and government, CC students are exposed to the realities of modern society, and are forced to decide where they will stand on these issues moving forward.” – William Barkeley (’12), Brown University
  • “My experience in CCHS’s English department has enabled me to express my ideas in meaningful, persuasive ways and has also given me the ability to think, as well as write, analytically.  I apply the skills I learned in CC’s English when writing in all subjects.  Scarlett [Wardrop, ’12] and I are taking an English class for U of M’s Honors College      and have found that we are more than prepared for writing papers and discussing classical Greek text; we are actually ahead of many of our classmates in what we have learned and can do.” — Jessica Wojtczak (’12), University of Michigan
  • “The English Department at CCHS offers a diverse selection of rigorous yet highly enjoyable classes that fit the needs of every student, whether it is strengthening one’s own writing and critical reading abilities or learning new skills that will better prepare students for college. The teachers at CCHS engage with their students and they always    encourage student participation, thus creating a fun and memorable learning environment for all. I attended three different high schools and, during my one short year at CCHS, I quickly realized that no other school had an English department as strong and as successful as Catholic Central’s.” – Vera Vujcic (’11)  Paradise Valley Community College (AZ)   
  • “I gained the majority of my journalistic knowledge from my experiences at Catholic Central.  Trust me, what you do in high school plays an essential role in who you become in college or beyond.  I’m not one for clichés, but take advantage of every opportunity available at Catholic Central; you won’t regret it.”Andrew Mooney (’10), Harvard University and columnist for The Boston Globe

 

Course Offerings

Core Curriculum

English I and Honors English I:  Literature and Composition – genre study

English II and Honors English II:  American Literature and Composition – chronological study

English III:  Language and Composition – non-fiction and rhetoric

Advanced Placement Language and Composition – college-level study of non-fiction and rhetoric

English IV:  Classical and Contemporary Literature and Composition – fiction and critical analysis

Advanced Placement Literature and Composition — college-level study of fiction and critical analysis

Electives

Journalism publishes Blue & White, Catholic Central’s student newspaper

Yearbook publishes Spires, Catholic Central’s yearbook

Oral Communications – public speaking and non-verbal, interpersonal, and group communication skills

Creative Writing – creative expression in writing

Mythology – study of myth, folklore, and science fiction

Fundamentals of Debate – study of formal policy debate and research skills

 

 

Faculty

 

Josh Aldrich . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . English Department

                                                                                joshaldrich@grcatholiccentral.org

            B.A.       Grand Valley State University

                           Major:  English

                           Minor:  History and Political Science

Mary Burns . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . English Department

                                                                                   maryburns@grcatholiccentral.org

            *Blue & White Advisor, Yearbook Advisor, Cum Laude Program

               Coordinator*

            B.A.     Alma College

                          Majors:  English and Journalism

            M.A.    Austin Peay State University

                          Major:  Education

 Tiffany Marrinan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . English Department/Department Head

                                                                       tiffanymarrinan@grcatholiccentral.org

            B.A.     Michigan State University

                          Major:  English

                          Minor:  Chemistry

            M.A.    Michigan State University

                          Major:  Curriculum & Teaching

 Heather Rawe. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .English Department

                                                                            heatherrawe@grcatholiccentral.org

            *Writer’s Group*

            B.A.     Michigan State University

                           Major:  English

                           Minor:  History

Katherine Schaefer . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .English Department

                                                                    kateschaefer@grcatholiccentral.org

               *COREX Staff*

               B.A.     Michigan State University

                              Major:  English

                              Minor:  Sociology

               M.A.    Central Michigan University

                              Major:  Humanities

            Rob Bonner . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .English Department

robbonner@grcatholiccentral.org

 

Honors and Awards

    • 99% of students in AP Language and AP Literature successfully passed the AP exam last May, making them eligible for college credit
    • Average 2013 English ACT score is 24.6 (compared to 19.1 statewide)
    • Average 2013 Reading ACT score is 25.6 (compared to 20.0 statewide)
    • 92% of CCHS graduates are “college-ready”in the area of English Composition
    • Blue & White is annually recognized and honored in two journalism competitions:  the Michigan Interscholastic Press Association and the American Scholastic Press Association
    • Spires is the winner of the 2012 and 2013 Jostens Award of Excellence.
    • Our students have consistently ranked among the highest finalists in annual essay writing competitions, including the Gerald R. Ford Essay Contest and the Economic Club of Grand Rapids Essay Competition.
    • Debate Team won the 2010 State Championship.
    • Our students have participated in the Poetry Out Loud state-wide competition for the last three years.

Department Opportunities

Debate Team

Writers’ Group

Science Fiction Club

Poetry Out Loud competition

Writing competitions

Publication in Blue & White and Spires