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Book grips imagination of whole high school

A CATHOLIC school in Rutherglen is taking a novel approach to fund-raising by encouraging pupils and staff to enjoy the wonder of books.

Trinity High School has become the first school in the UK to sign up to a ‘Whole School Novel’ project thanks to the funding of the Scottish Attainment Challenge.

Everyone in the school has been given a copy of Wonder, by RJ Palacio, the story of a boy with a facial deformity struggling to fit in. “Wonder is the story of a smart, funny and brave pupil called Auggie and his very existence is a wonder,” headteacher Peter Bollen said. “We see him moving from being home-schooled and follow his eventful journey into school, which ends in a sweeping finale.

“The book was chosen so that we all as a school might learn and have a common point of discussion. It chimes in with the whole notion of building a community.”

The project has been built into the academic year, with a ‘Drop Everything and Read’ period on the first day of term so all pupils could begin reading at the same time. Pupils, staff and parents have all become fascinated with the book, and its messages of bravery, acceptance and kindness. Displays and quotations have been popping up around the school and different departments are creating ways to get involved. During Lent, the focus is on fundraising for a charity for children with craniofacial abnormalities like those in the novel. Pupils designed covers for the book, including Louise Gallagher, in S1, whose work is pictured below.

“The book shines a light on themes including choosing kindness as a moral compass when human behaviour is not at its best, and the capacity to do the right thing for the right reasons rather than the popular things for selfish reasons,” Mr Bollen said.

“We hope this will help change reading habits in pupils who may not normally find time to read.”

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