By Jennifer Hannigan/TVCC Public Information
The Read Through the Valley Book Club is winding down the school year by hosting the author of the book the group has been studying since August.
Each year, the book club – made of Trinity Valley Community College students and employees – studies a featured novel. This school year, the selection was Jim Dent’s “Twelve Mighty Orphans.”
On April 24, Dent will be visiting the college’s Athens campus. He will be speaking in the college’s auditorium from 1-3 p.m. His speech will be open to the public and there is no charge for admission.
“We are hoping he will talk in part about his writing of the book, although he may speak in part about other things as well,” said TVCC Fine Arts Director Kelly Driskell. “He has gotten to meet some of the people he wrote about over the years, and we hope to be able to hear those parts of his story.”
According to the book’s website, “Twelve Mighty Orphans” tells the Depression-era true story of an intrepid team of orphans from the Masonic Home in Fort Worth.
The orphan football team beat all odds by succeeding at the game as well as in life. Those players, in spite of being outweighed by at least thirty pounds per man, quickly earned a reputation as a winning team. They began with nothing — not even a ball — yet in a few years were playing for the state championship at the highest level of Texas football.
Released in September 2007, the book has been through 20 printings overall (16 printings in hardback) with more than 250,000 books sold.
Dent will start his day at TVCC with a closed luncheon in the college’s cafeteria. There, he will be meeting those speakers who have given presentations surrounding the book’s theme during the school year. Over the past few months, a variety of TVCC faculty members have presented on subjects such as the psychology of sports, physics and football, the history of football gear and other topics related to the book.
“We want him to be able to see all the study we have done and to let our past presenters get to know him a little,” said Driskell.
Then Dent will be going to the college’s auditorium, where he will be speaking to the public. Copies of the book will be available to purchase at the event.
“It should be very interesting hearing his story of how he researched the book and has met some of the people about whom he wrote,” said Driskell. “Even if you are not familiar with the book it will be fun to hear him talk about it and about that time period.”
Following Dent’s visit, the college will host an art show and reception from 3-4:30 p.m. on the first floor of the administration building.
“We will have artwork that is focused on different elements of the book. It could be football, it could be the Great Depression, or it could be something else related to that time,” said Driskell. “There will probably be works focused on different themes as well.”
This is the third year for the book club, but the first time the college has hosted the author of the featured selection.
“The committee had some good luck. He happens to be a Texan, so it is easier to get people to come when it is not so far to travel,” said Driskell. “Also, the book is set in Fort Worth, so it has a local feel. And he had the availability when we could have him come, so it all worked out well.”