English at SCCS is coming alive in Mrs. Sonnenburg’s classes. “Much of literature is understood through context,” said Mrs. Sonnenburg. “We learn about the author and the time period when the piece was written and try to make sense of the author’s intent. Literature is fun because it is also subjective and can be interpreted in many ways, and interpretation can vary depending on when it is read within the context of your own life.” Sonnenburg’s 11th grade Honors American Literature, 12th grade Dual Credit English Composition and 12th grade Dual Credit Spoken Communication students are being challenged to grow in their understanding of the written word.
Mrs. Sonnenburg has been teaching English for ten years, driven by her appreciation for literature and getting students excited about the subject. “Many students are not generally passionate about English, reading, or writing, so one way these tasks can be more palatable is to read and write about topics that may interest the students. A foundation for English at SCCS starts in junior high and grows from there. Junior high is foundational where students review and refine their skills, and in high school we dive into literature and teach writing through the study of literature: 9th grade Introduction to Literature, 10th grade World Literature, 11th grade American Literature, and finally 12th grade British Literature when we take our class to England!”
Students can earn college credit, as a dual enrollment class, through the demanding English courses offered at SCCS. “I have heard from many SCCS graduates that the rigor of writing courses at SCCS prepared them for their college courses.” English is a pivotal subject that as a college major can be applied to many careers. Mrs. Sonnenburg added, “I know of at least two former students majoring in English right now. The nice thing about English is that it is part of any job; everyone has to read or write in some capacity in the workforce.”
A faith-based education means being able to delve deeper into the author’s works that students are learning about. “Being able to teach through the lens of scripture makes English at SCCS special,” shared Mrs. Sonnenburg. “We can always pull something from a written work and interpret deeper meaning based on scriptural principles.”