Losing Larew: The future of AP Literature without its legend

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Losing Larew: The future of AP Literature without its legend

Eric Larew leads the AP Literature class through their latest literary work.

Eric Larew leads the AP Literature class through their latest literary work.

Sarah Danielson

Eric Larew leads the AP Literature class through their latest literary work.

Sarah Danielson

Sarah Danielson

Eric Larew leads the AP Literature class through their latest literary work.

Kaitlyn Ryan, Student Life Editor

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While other classrooms are gaining new technology and making advancements, the English department is losing one of its most priceless resources: Eric Larew.

Larew is retiring next year after years of teaching PV’s AP Literature and Composition class. In his final year of teaching, teachers and students alike are learning as much as possible from him.

Larew began teaching in the 80s and started his career at PV in 1991. Because of his wealth of knowledge and experience, Larew became an instructional coach in 2015. This position allows him to share his expertise with other teachers, assisting them with curriculum, teaching strategies and assessments.

Larew started the AP Literature course in the early 2000s with the help of Kate Stangler, an former PV English teacher who retired in 2011. He put in hours of preparation to ensure the best experience for students. Larew toured other schools to observe their classes, attended workshops, and then applied what he learned in the development of his own curriculum.

The class is now well established at PV, but the end of this school year will bring with it an end to Larew’s long and successful career in education. The department, therefore, needed a capable and dedicated teacher to take over the AP Literature class that Larew helped to build. It found that teacher in Tracy Lux.

After eight years of teaching at PV, Lux is currently co-teaching the class with Larew. She hopes to learn as much as possible about the course by observing his teaching style and absorbing his content knowledge.

Those taking the AP Literature course say it is an incredibly unique and thorough literary experience. Students study an abundance of works throughout the year. They started with the Epic of Gilgamesh, the oldest recorded story. With that foundation set, they are advancing in time through history’s most prominent works.

While the works are presented chronologically, there is a second layer of complexity to the class. Lux explained, “He’s designed the course so that students are exposed to seminal works of Western literature that not only build throughout history’s timeline but also connect to one another thematically.” A lot of thought goes into the class’s curriculum to develop the interrelatedness of the works.

The students also recognize this trend in their assignments. Senior Isabelle Hotard commented, “[Larew] has carefully chosen the works that we read so that we can make connections throughout and really see the development of thought and culture.” This unique course work creates a stimulating class full of intricacy and thought-provoking subjects.

Larew has a boundless love of literature and strives to instill that same passion in his students. He finds creative, engaging ways to connect students to the literature so they fully absorb the ideas.

Lux said, “He challenges students while supporting them immensely, putting the learning in their hands while holding out his own hand to help.” Many students who have taken the course say this level of interaction and commitment makes AP Literature an incredibly enriching class.

While Lux admitted this class is a challenge to teach, it is also a challenge to learn. Hotard is one of the seniors enrolled in AP Literature who fully embraces this rigorous course. “Taking this class helped me better understand the culture that I grew up in, and as someone who loves literature, deep philosophical discussions, and writing, AP Literature has been a wonderful class for me to take,” Hotard said.

The future of the class is highly dependent on the students who enroll. Larew stated, “They set the tone; they determine the class’s success.” Since the course is discussion-centered, each student contributes another unique perspective on the texts. The students are encouraged to build on each other’s ideas to create developed analyses.

Larew has inspired many people to question and search for the deeper meaning throughout his career at PV. He has passed on as much of his knowledge and love of learning as possible. Lux is prepared for the responsibility of teaching AP Literature next year, but, of course, Larew’s expertise in both literature and instruction will be missed by staff and students alike as the school experiences a Pleasant Valley without one of its staples, Eric Larew.