Peter Temes is the co-founder of the Great Books Summer Reading Camp, which highlights classic and contemporary texts in a university setting for kids in grades six through 12, with sessions at Stanford and in Amherst, Mass.
What do you think your Great Books program provides that students might be missing from their regular education? In this program, you’re in a society where ideas matter more than anything, where people are engaged listeners and partners in conversation. It’s important for young people to be sitting around the table with other kids who are just passionately interested in how the world got to be the way it is.
When they’re not studying, how do the students spend their time? A whole range of things. The core of the program is the discussion, the reading and the engagement with the literature, but we do have a lot of summer camp activities.
What is a favorite text among students every year? You know, it’s funny. We have some serious reading, like “The Odyssey,” and a lot of classical literature, but maybe the most popular is the short story by Kurt Vonnegut called “Harrison Bergeron.”