Inspiration from the Dream Team

Courtney Farley, Tonya Hatch, Ryan Dye, Rebecca Burnett and Katie Borland discuss literature at Kai's Koffee in Pelham. (Contributed)

Courtney Farley, Tonya Hatch, Ryan Dye, Rebecca Burnett and Katie Borland discuss literature at Kai’s Koffee in Pelham. (Contributed)

By CONNIE NOLEN / Community Columnist

After a summer of professional development, moving, planning for curriculum and block-scheduling adjustments, marrying, honeymooning, moonlighting, traveling, writing, reading, grading, emailing and reflecting, our collective Pelham High School English Team was rested and raring to go for the 15-16 school year.

Inspired by their energy, I was hardly surprised when these great lovers of literature started tossing around the idea of an English teachers’ book club. Delightful discussions ensued.

“I propose that we start a book club and begin reading with the classics!” said PHS English teacher Rebecca Burnett. “Why don’t we start by choosing books from the AP list? Let me know what you think. If you would rather begin alphabetically, we can start with ‘Absalom! Absalom!’”

“I love this idea! Count me in!” sophomore English teacher and debate coach Tonya Hatch responded instantaneously.

“I am thrilled that all of you want to start a book club,” said freshman English teacher Katie Borland. “I miss talking to other adults about great literature.”

The only detail the group struggled to resolve was when this busy book club of mountain bike coaching, Ambassador advising, publications producing, honor-society coordinating, debate coaching, Diamond Doll directing, and Miss PHS planning book club members could meet.

While some proposed meeting during school lunch or after school in a classroom, senior English teacher and PHS Alum Ryan Dye had other ideas.

“I was hoping we could meet somewhere after school, like Kai’s Koffee,” said Dye, who is a serious outdoorsman and biker. With his immense calorie burn, he is massively hungry after school. Dye is also the great communicator who chose our day and sent email reminders.

Somehow, between school activities and nighttime meetings, we read Toni Morrison’s “Song of Solemn.” Dye finished first.

“If I’m alone at Kai’s tomorrow, I will read another book and be the book club of one. I hope to see you there,” Dye said.

Dye was not alone. Listening to Burnett, Hatch, Farley, Borland and Dye discuss literature reminds me that our PHS English Department is a dream team—and I am richly blessed.