Friday Spotlight–Jerald Walker, CCC Success Story

So, I was trying to catch up on some reading last night, particularly last week’s Reader (before this week’s came out) and I finally got to reading about Jerald Walker, an academic from the East Coast who wrote a book about his wayward youth in Chicago, and I came across this paragraph:

By age 14 I’d started experimenting with drugs and alcohol. I dropped out of high school at 16. Then, by 20, I had a strong interest in snorting all the cocaine I could find. And then a friend of mine was murdered when I was 21—he died soon after I’d bought some drugs from him. That kind of shook me up like other things had not shaken me up and made me decide it was time to redirect my life. So, at the age of 24, I enrolled in Loop College [now Harold Washington College], and there I met Professor Edward Homewood, who took an interest in me and in my writing ability. He helped me get to the Iowa Writers Workshop.

I wouldn’t recognize Ed Homewood, but I know the name and think I might have even met him at some event or other in the last ten years. Maybe not, but regardless, it was cool to see someone point to an HW faculty member and credit that teacher for guidance toward their success. You know it happens all the time; it just doesn’t always make the paper. Props to Ed Homewood (and Jerald Walker–read the rest, it’s a pretty amazing interview; short, too). And don’t forget, we have the power to change lives. Sometimes just by telling people that they’ve got something…

2 thoughts on “Friday Spotlight–Jerald Walker, CCC Success Story

  1. Thank you for that.

    I think sometimes we know we’ve influenced a student but there are many times when we don’t know. It reminds me of a quote that I think of often:

    “When we cast our bread upon the waters, we can presume that someone downstream whose face we will never know will benefit from our action, as we who are downstream from another will profit from that grantor’s gift” – May Angelou

    I don’t know if it quite fits the situation but I think of it anyway sometimes when I think about teaching. We try to build a relationship with students – we do our best, but I think often we are casting bread upon the waters and hoping someone will benefit from it!

    I’m sending this to you from Denver where I am attending the American Educational Research Association (AERA) annual conference. I would like to send little tidbits about the conference as I go….if I can figure out how to do my very own post.

    Yesterday we arrived and got settled in. We found an amazing bookstore called The Tattered Cover and then ate dinner at Little India. The air is quite cold – had some flurries yesterday! Today, we start going to sessions – lots of interesting stuff to choose from! I look forward to sharing it with you.


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