Below is a section of the thank-you card I received from juniors at the Gwendolyn Brooks College Preparatory Academy in Chicago. The card was a sweet surprise. I will treasure it.
Brooks is a selective enrollment public high school nestled on 40 acres near the Historic Pullman District on the far south side. It
made the news this spring when Chicago’s most famous selective high school—Payton–initially forfeited a baseball game. Apparently some Payton parents were nervous about driving their kids down to Brooks’ campus Mayor Emanuel made a point of visiting the rescheduled game, which I hope shamed some people.
The forfeit was really stupid, since my most frightening experience at Brooks occurred when some angry geese hissed at me after I accidentally approached their young. Don’t laugh—these birds can really mess you up.*
I addressed an assembly of the junior class. We covered the whole gamut related to youth violence: gun safety legislation, drug legalization, efforts to help young people improve their self-regulation and social-cognitive skills. I then shared a long lunch with about twenty students. It was a great time with the students and staff. I hope to come back.
I was inspired by the visit, but a bit saddened, too–not by anything at Brooks, but by the contrast with other places. Continue Reading…