Take a Chance
In 2012, I was being treated for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and I attended a Showboaters class at the College of Adaptive Arts. Pam Lindsay was leading the class and lesson was that I learned in a college theatre class. I walk out of class with my mom and younger sister (who was the student in the class) impressed with the respect given, the terms that were not dumbed down and the joy that the students exhibited. I knew my sister Denae was enjoying her education opportunity, she was trying new things and learning and I saw my happy go lucky sister blossom.
Then in October, I was able to attend the Abilities Expo where Denae was performing with the puppet troupe and again I was impressed. This time I reached out to DeAnna Pursai and said I love photography, love writing, let me know if I could come and work or teach classes. It wasn’t until January 2013 that I started as an Associate Professor.
At the end of Spring, I was riding with DeAnna in her car when I mentioned that I was a cancer survivor and that one thing that helped me through my journey was poetry. I thought maybe we could have a poetry class. DeAnna and Pam liked the idea and that summer I was teaching about Haikus, Villanelles, and Sonnets to 6 students. Out of 6 of the students, I had one who said they knew what poetry was and liked poetry. After this class, one of the parents approached me and said I helped their student feel smart for the first time. My heart broke because this young man had gone his entire life not feeling smart.
We continued Poetry class, then there was Sign Language, and Reading Partners, and Grad Writing, Business Writing, Storytelling, Writing Lab, Spanish, Speaking with Confidence. Pam and DeAnna approached me and asked about a communications department.
Every new student that takes a Communication Class, the parent always says the same thing. My student cannot read or write, or I don’t even know if they like this subject but I want them to take an academic class, and this one fits in their schedule. I am always surprised by those students who take a chance on a new class; those students end up enjoying their class. They remember characters, they embrace poetry and love reading. The wonderful thing about Communications classes we create spaces where the real world and fictional world coexist. Students can relate to characters from novels, and this helps them overcome their struggles. The act of writing becomes a cyclone that helps Students with things in the past and they get stronger. They thrive all because they took a chance.
Keep Writing, Keep Smiling, and Keep Learning.
Director of School of Communications.