I honestly wish I could remember why I signed up for the classes I did that year, but it was so long ago. I had just changed my major from early childhood education (that's another story) to sociology and had some major scrambling to do if I wanted to graduate on time. I signed up for two elective sociology classes, "Social Class in American Society" and "Genocide & Violence" sounds fun right?
I had met the teacher of these classes briefly when I was taking my psychology class for education. He came in as a guest speaker and he seemed nice. His name was Jonathan White. He was a younger teacher, very well spoken, and had one of his legs in a huge brace. (I think he had surgery earlier that year..I'm not sure).
In both classes I was completely enthralled. Never before in school had I been so enthralled by what I was hearing. So inspired. So wanting to learn more and get involved. In "Social Class in American Society" we had to break into groups, plan and execute a fundraiser, and then find a good cause to dontate to. I can't tell you how awesome it felt to accomplish this. I have yet to hold another fundraiser, but I'm confident I could do it again if asked. Genocide and Violence was a different experience. Opening all of us up to the horrors of the world, past and present. We took a class trip to DC to visit the Holocaust Museum. An experience I will truly never forget. I made some amazing friends during those times, and after that class I of course signed up for Genocide & Violence II. Scary to think that we couldn't cover everything in one semester.
I just googled him and remembered so many more amazing things he did for us. We were able to meet with the author Elie Wiesel, who read excerpts from his book. the Dalai Lama came to visit, and we also had Craig Keilburger who wrote the book Free the Children visit with us. I remember how he spoke about how one day gas would be $5 and I was like 'yah, right! if that happens I'l start walking" He was..and is an extremely passionate and intelligent person, and I wish him nothing but the best. I get sad sometimes because I am so far removed from that time in my life. Back in my bubble that now consists of my kids, family, normal day to day living. I hope that just by writing this it will give me a little nudge to start opening up to the world around me again and learning more about what is really going on.
Here is a cool video of him I found...he has a few up so check them out:
During our last class my senior year, we all had to go around the room and say one or two things that we learned or are taking away from the time we shared with Jonathan. This was mine:
"God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference."