Thursday, July 05, 2007

Making Connections II: Paying It Forward

On a recent trip to Italy and Greece I called a student over to my table after dinner and invited her to sit down. I told her I had something for her to think about. Just that day we had visited the Sistine Chapel in the Vatican City and I came upon this student standing in the middle of the floor, slowly turning her head. Her jaw had dropped and her eyes were wide open. This place, this moment, had made her trip. Everything else we would see afterwards would be fluff, second-rate -- exciting, but not as moving as Michelangelo's magnificent ceiling. This student had just graduated from high school where she had participated in four years of a very rigorous and demanding gifted program. She is also an artist and used this outstanding talent as a creative outlet. She will continue her education in the fall at the College of William & Mary, taking anything and everything but reserving space in her schedule for art and art history. Now, back to dinner. I told my student that this year was the 25th anniversary of my first trip to Rome and that I had come as a student, just having graduated from high school, with my Latin teacher. I told her that she needed to give consideration to bringing her own art students to Italy in the future and give some student the same experience my Latin teacher had given me and which I had just given her. I asked her to pay it forward. She said that she would...

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