Last Day Letter: Our Better Country

Ever since the student-teaching days, I’ve ended school with a letter. It’s something I remember loving in high school—the one time a teacher did it—these final written words that summed up a year. Now, I write as much for myself as for them, this summing-up providing my own version of closure. I started posting them…

One Step Ahead

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9 “Just remember, it’s not scary.” The juniors giggle nervously, fidgeting with blank-screened phones and tapping pencils on their blue journals, open to pages filled with questions. At the beginning of class, I…

An Ode To New Friends

Graduation seasons begin early around here. Though Black Forest Academy still has a good six weeks of school left on the calendar, social media means that we get to participate virtually in the early graduations of universities in America, from which mortarboards and monochromatic robes have begun to fill Facebook and Instagram. This is always…

The Crucible: Classic & Current

You must understand, sir, that a person is either with this court or he must be counted against it, there be no road between. This is a sharp time, now, a precise time—we live no longer in the dusky afternoon when evil mixed itself with good and befuddled the world. Now, by God’s grace, the…

On Labels

We’re putting the finishing touches on our latest issue of the BFA Chronicle newspaper, admiring a photo of Fiddler on the Roof cast members in the Arts section when one reporter looks up at me suddenly. “You play violin?” She phrases it as a question, but since this student journalist is also herself a member of the Fiddler cast,…

Remembering How To Read

In order to arrive at what you are not You must go through the way in which you are not. And what you do not know is the only thing you know And what you own is what you do not own And where you are is where you are not. “East Coker,” T.S. Eliot…

Thoughts From the Valley

“With every job when it’s complete There is a sense of bitter-sweet That moment when you know the task is done…” Mary Poppins February 2010. I’m crying in a theater in mid-town Manhattan. Heeding the advice of one of my bosses from college, who regularly travelled to New York for business, I’ve taken this evening…

The Civilly Disobedient

Is it ever right–ethically or morally–to break the law? Explain why or why not. -Honors American Literature journal question, Monday It’s always a good day when I get to stand on a chair. I sense that the students understand this, also, even as they mutter about being hustled, a few minutes into class, from their…

To Inform & Entertain: Inside a School Newspaper

Effects of both Hurricanes in the US Protests in France>> labour reforms and worker’s rights North Korea SHORT election follow-up Healthcare in US Iran Deal Net Neutrality DRM being added to HTML standardization Healthcare Kneeling nat’l anthem 500 anniversary reformation Earthquakes Climate Change (hurricanes, wildfires) Refugee crisis: What is it? Why? BFA Chronicle October world news…

Sustainability {Or, Measuring A Year}

Five hundred twenty-five thousand Six hundred minutes How do you measure, measure a year? In daylights, in sunsets In midnights, in cups of coffee In inches, in miles In laughter, in strife In five hundred twenty-five thousand Six hundred minutes How do you measure A year in the life? From “Seasons of Love,” RENT June 24…