A couple of months ago, I received a request for alumni updates from Siobhan Welsh at the Gordon School in Rhode Island, where I attended 1st through 8th grade. When Siobhan heard about my book project, she immediately asked if I would consider coming in to speak with Gordon’s 8th grade class about my family’s story. Every year, Siobhan said, the students read Elie Wiesel’s Nightmeet with Holocaust survivors, and tie their learnings in with their unit on civil rights. I’d love to, I replied.

A concert at the Gordon School---that's me, center, on the xylophone, with the killer bangs

In white, with classmates at a 4th grade Gordon School concert

Siobhan also asked if she could profile me in Gordon’s Spring alumni magazine. The more I delve into your story, she wrote, the more I feel it would be really powerful to share with our alumni community. My response of course, was absolutely. I’d be honored.

Fast forward to June—my profile in Gordon’s Alumni Connection has been published, and I thought I’d share it with you here. You can access the magazine in its entirety online, or view  a PDF of my spread by clicking the link/image below:

Gordon Alumni Connection Spring 2013

My spread in Gordon's XX

My profile in Gordon’s Alumni Connection

Siobhan’s interview questions were thought provoking—especially the one about how Gordon has shaped me into the person I am today. Most of us don’t reminisce too often about our elementary and middle school years—our teachers, classes, forays into sports, music, art, drama—for me, the memories of my time at Gordon were a bit cobwebby at first. But after a few days of strolling the hallways of my pint-sized past, I was surprised by the details I was able to recall. Like, for example, the plot line of my first book, Digby Duck and the Magic Cloud, which I wrote, published, and proudly displayed on a shelf in my 1st grade classroom library. (Digby is now my inspiration as I round the bend toward completing a first draft of The Lucky Ones.)

At a very early age, the Gordon School taught me that learning, and taking risks, was fun

At Gordon, I was encouraged from an early age to ask questions, take risks, and express myself

I have many people to thank for shaping me early-on into the person I am today. My parents, of course, as well as my ancestors—though admittedly, I didn’t realize just how much of an influence they had (and continue to have) on me until I dove into my research. I also owe gratitude to the Gordon School. So thanks, Gordon, for planting the writing seed in me, and years, later, for showcasing my story.