October 18, 2012
Yesterday, my Education class took a field trip to Utica to watch Geoffrey Canada speak at Mohawk Valley Community College. Geoffrey Canada is the president of the Harlem Children’s Zone in Harlem, NY, and has been working to improve the school systems in Harlem and the Bronx. He was also featured in the film Waiting for Superman, which was based on his ideas surrounding the education system.
Before I talk about the lecture, I need to rave a little bit about my Education professor, Susan Mason. If you come to Hamilton, be sure to take an Education course with her. She is an amazing professor, and she has helped me so much to improve and become more confident in my oral communication skills. She’s also just an awesome person to talk to. Whenever I visit her in her office, there are students popping their heads in every 5 minutes to say hi to her. She’s so candid and insightful, and you can talk to her about anything that’s going on in your life.
So we were driving to the lecture in Professor Mason’s car, while she blasted “Saturday Nite”, a “classic funky jam by Earth, Wind, and Fire”, and we talked about our own educational experiences in high school and at Hamilton. When we got there, I was surprised to hear that a freshman at Hamilton, Deondre Coston, was going to introduce Geoffrey Canada. Deondre went to Geoffrey Canada’s Harlem Children Zone’s high school, Promise Academy, and is now a student here.
Geoffrey Canada’s lecture was incredible. He humorously joked about his experiences with the television world: “I get invited to go talk on 60 Minutes, my wife and kids say, ‘oh okay go have fun’, I get invited to go to the White House to talk with the President, they say, ‘oh, okay, say hi from us’, I say, ‘I’m going to Chicago, I’m gonna do Oprah’ and they say, ‘YOU?!’” But he also helped to address a lot of the problems in the national public education system, and some of his ideas to improve the system.
It was a great experience, and I’m sure we’ll have an interesting discussion about it in our next class. What’s cool about it is that one of the students in my class, Jose, just suggested to Professor Mason that we attend the event, and she immediately got tickets for us and made travel arrangements. It’s amazing how flexible and considerate the professors are here, which is one of the benefits of having small class sizes: every voice matters, to the students and to the professors.
Major / Minor: Studio Art / Education Studies
Activities: Drop Everything and Read (DEAR), Hamilton Environmental Action Group (HEAG), Rainbow Alliance, The Green Apple, Hamilton College Community Farm (HCCF)
Favorite Pastimes: Loitering at Opus, going to new places, making art for friends, swimming, playing guitar, climbing trees, going to concerts and adventuring in the Root Glen
Hometown: Harpswell, Maine
High School: North Yarmouth Academy