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Summer Reading for 2010-2011 and Updated Reading Guide

This marks the fourth year that Cushing has chosen an all-school required summer reading assignment, with the entire community - students, faculty and staff - reading that book. This year's selection, Endurance: An Epic of Polar Adventure by F.A. Worsley, focuses on leadership, which is also our overarching theme for the 2010-2011 academic year.

Worsley relates the story of Sir Ernest Shackleton's doomed expedition to the Antarctic in 1914-16 and its subsequent/incredible rescue: "after HMS Endurance became stuck in Antarctic ice packs and then sank into the Weddell Sea, its twenty-five crew members were forced to launch three lifeboats and sail, in miserable conditions, for barren Elephant Island. From there, Shackleton, Frank Worsley (captain of the Endurance), and four others set off in the largest of the lifeboats to seek help eight hundred miles away at the whaling stations on the island of South Georgia."


Reading Guide


Ernest Shackleton was a man determined to succeed in his attempt to cross Antarctica on foot. His mission failed, as documented by Frank Worsley in Endurance, and yet Shackleton is hailed as a hero and deemed one of the most remarkable leaders of the 20th century. As Margot Morrell and Stephanie Capparell state in Shackleton’s Way, he “was an average person [who] taught himself how to be an exceptional one. He rose above his peers and earned the unfailing loyalty of his men…[he unleashed] strengths in individuals that they never knew they had in order to achieve goals—from the small to the miraculous” (10-11).


The following are some of Shackleton’s leadership qualities that allowed all members of the Endurance’s crew to survive. Try to find examples of each as you read Endurance.


1) He recognized the importance of and always boosted the morale of his crew.


2) He made himself available to his crew – he knew how to connect and speak with everyone, and he was a careful, thoughtful listener.


3) He was bold in his plans, but cautious in their execution – he paid close attention to detail. He wasn’t afraid to change his mind or his plans as the situation dictated.


4) He was optimistic and realistic – he understood the gravity of the situation with the Endurance, but he remained confident that he would find a way to overcome it.


5) He knew how to have fun– relaxation and entertainment were critical parts of the ship’s schedule.


6) He led by example – he never asked anyone to do work he wouldn’t do himself, and so he was able to get the best from each individual on the crew.




Cushing Academy

39 School Street
Ashburnham, Massachusetts 01430

Cushing Academy

Cushing Academy exists for students and develops curious, creative, and confident learners and leaders. Founded in 1865, Cushing is a co-ed, college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9-12 and PG. Our students, who come from over 30 states and 30 countries, excel in our outstanding academic, art, and athletic offerings. We welcome you to visit our community and beautiful 162-acre campus in Ashburnham, Mass., just one hour from Boston, to experience all that Cushing has to offer.