Circling Around

Submitted By:
Jonathan Schoenwald, Gulliver Preparatory School, Miami, FL

The Redemption of Frederick Shegog by Eric Hoover
The Chronicle of Higher Education, March 9, 2022

Frederick Shegog began community college at the age of 34 after having survived homelessness, addiction, and mental health crises. His journey, beautifully described in Eric Hoover's essay, imparts myriad lessons about the importance of relationships. "No one succeeds alone," Hoover writes, and Shegog's story reinforces that truth through its profiles of Shegog's professors, counselor, and Delaware County Community College's campus life staff. In partnership with Shegog, these educators helped him to slowly feel that he belonged. This essay is crucial for independent school educators as they consider the differences between traditionally underrepresented students and those who arrive without knowing the unwritten rules of our schools. It is also a powerful reminder that Shegog “persisted, in part, because many faculty and staff members had done their jobs well, and, often, much more than required." From describing the professor who "started each class by asking students how they were doing, what they were up to, a relatively small gesture that Shegog loved," as well as the countless staff members who help Shegog navigate school bureaucracy, Hoover shows us that our jobs are much more than jobs. Taken together, they form the circles around our students that, in uncountable ways, help determine their success. Even the most privileged students need a circle, and this article serves as a powerful reminder about why we dedicate ourselves to others.

Student Wellness & Safety
Psychology & Human Development
Teaching Practice