Trending at Oakland Catholic: The Jane Austen Society

Grace Doerfler '18, Assistant Editor

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a high school in possession of Jane Austen fans must be in want of a society.

Sophomore Victoria Viola undertook the task of reviving the Jane Austen Literary Society, founded a few years ago and in danger—until Victoria came along—of dying out altogether. “Last year, Dr. Doerfler told me that Oakland used to have a Jane Austen society,” Victoria recalls. “I became very interested with the idea of a club devoted to Jane Austen.” She thought she had a good chance of successfully revitalizing the club, “especially due to the amount of interest I received prior to reviving the society.”

Jane Austen’s following is alive and well, the first meeting proved. Enthusiasts congregated in moderator Dr. Doerfler’s classroom, where they learned about plans for the year and gushed about Pride and Prejudice over steaming cups of tea. The meeting lasted well over an hour while students got acquainted, compared Pinterest boards, and debated whether Colin Firth or Matthew Macfadyen made a better Mr. Darcy.

“I was very pleased by the turnout,” Victoria said of the kickoff meeting. “I’m excited to see so many students eager to learn more about Jane Austen.”


Victoria has a full slate of events planned for her club this year, each promising to be as successful as the first. Next on the schedule is the December 14 CCW; members will watch the film Love and Friendship, based on one of Austen’s early pieces, Lady Susan. Later this year, the club will vote to decide which Austen novel to read, then watch the film adaptation together. There is a potluck tea coming up this month at the Friends Meeting House, during which Jane Austen fans from all over Pittsburgh can gather to celebrate the novelist’s birthday. Victoria has also been looking into a Jane Austen luncheon in January.

The most highly anticipated events of the year are the essay contest and the Jane Austen Festival, both of which will occur this spring. The Jane Austen Society of North America hosts an essay contest every year with lucrative prizes, including a complete set of Austen’s novels for three lucky bibliophiles. Details are to be announced at future meetings. Fans with fashion sense should get out their ball gowns in anticipation of the Jane Austen Festival, held from March 24-25. Victoria explains, “The first day entails a Jane Austen movie at a local theater, and the second day features various speakers, as well as a Regency ball where period costumes are most definitely encouraged!”

Oakland students interested in joining this vibrant new club with a dedicated fan base and a charming leader are encouraged to become members of the Edmodo group using the code u7gekz. Victoria hopes to see you at the next meeting!