Evidence of Beauty and Wonder and Learning

Submitted By:
Meghan Tally, Davidson, NC

The Case for Hope by Nicolas Kristof
New York Times, May 9, 2024

A Bronx Teacher Asked. Tommy Orange Answered. by Elisabeth Egan
New York Times, March 18, 2024

“Journalism is an act of hope. Why else would reporters rush toward gunfire, visit Covid wards or wade into riots to interview arsonists? We do all this because we believe that better outcomes are possible if we just get people to understand more clearly what’s going on,” Nicholas Kristof writes in a New York Times article about his new memoir, Chasing Hope: A Reporter’s Life. Educators, like journalists, can compile a harrowing overview of the state of our world and work to honor the incredible challenges of this moment. And educators, too, like Kristof, can excavate evidence of beauty and wonder and learning from the rubble, as education, like journalism, is an act of hope. As teachers, students, and administrators stagger through the one hundred days of May to the year’s finish line, Kristof models for us an affirming and inspiring synthesis of our time’s terrors and possibilities. Likewise, we can name for one another the particular griefs we are experiencing and the particular marvels. A teacher in the Bronx, Rick Ouimet, teaches There There by Tommy Orange and says, “Students love the book so much, they don’t realize they’re reading it for English class. That’s the rare find, the gift of gifts.” One night in early March, after midnight, Ouimet sent off his “midlife college essay” to Penguin Random House Speakers Bureau, sharing the profound impact of Orange’s novel on his class, inviting him to visit. And it worked. Orange came: “When [he] cracked open his new novel, you could hear a pin drop.” As Ouimet’s students discussed their personal connections to Orange’s writing, Orange shared, “‘That’s what drew me to reading in the first place. The feeling of not being as alone as you thought you were.’”

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