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Friday, July 25, 2008

A gift in today's snail mail

A few weeks back I letter arrived to me via the Christian Science Monitor from a tutor out in Palo Alto, California. She wrote to tell me that her eighth-grade pupil, Alex, had used my Monitor story on John Boyd to learn new vocabulary words (six!) and content and style. Her student wanted to know what happened in the election.

I called her the day after I received her letter to tell her that Boyd lost the election, handily, which is when she told me that her student had written a short essay based on my story. While it's certainly flattering to have a grown-up tell me they enjoyed reading my story, I find it awesome indeed that I received such praise from a 14-year-old boy. Cooler still is that my article was used educationally. 

So I asked her if she would be kind enough to send me a copy. She did along with this short, handwritten letter:
Dear Wendy, 
Sorry to be so long getting back to you! I went to my tutoring student's file (Alex) & found I did have the article and his essay! I have sent him a letter with your kind and timely response and info. I was thrilled with your call—so thanks. This makes it all so real for my student. God bless journalists who write or call back. You are a rare but wonderful breed.
Julie Freeman, CSM reader
And here is Alex's essay based on the story. 
Prison to City Council Profile
This article is about a man named John A. Boyd and a place called Cleveland, Ohio, Ward 6. John A. Boyd is running for Cleveland City Council, except he's been convicted of 2nd degree murder, theft, and forgery, as well as possession of drugs.

Ward 6 is mentioned often in this article. Although it has prestigious museums and clinics, it also has many poor areas. One of the reasons Boyd is running is because he wants to help Ward 6. He says that because he had no relationship with his father, he ended up doing the things that brought him into prison.

Now, Boyd is a social worker running against the current councilwoman Mamie Mitchell. Although he has fewer supporters, he has inspired many, despite his record. He may be behind, but he could get supporters and be elected.

The article does a good job of showing the conditions that cause bad decisions. It also shows both sides of the debate if he can hold office. I thought this article was interesting to read. It is amazing how people can turn their lives around.

Can't think of a better way to end an extraordinarily hectic week.

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