October 2016 (Volume 67, Issue 1)
by Lauren Mock, Staff Writer, and Hailey Scatchard, Features Editor
This past summer, all NHS students read The Other Wes Moore as the all-school read. Like the last two books that everyone read over the summer, the purpose of this assignment was to encourage students to expand their thinking and understand about other people’s perspectives, which is part of the school’s goal to become a culturally proficient community. We enjoyed reading this book, and we think it fit the school’s intentions. Although we have always felt lucky to have more opportunities than many other teenagers in the U.S., reading in depth about specific people was very different from simply understanding this concept. Because all of the characters in The Other Wes Moore are real people, the stories that may have seemed unrealistic in a fictional story are believable because they are true. These characters connect the idea of poverty to reality. As I read this book, I thought about how lucky we are to have the opportunities that many of us in Needham have. Even simply going to NHS, a school where almost everyone graduates and where the administration is focused on preparing students for college, gives all of us an advantage over students at struggling schools like those of the Wes Moores. Reading this book gives us insight into how different the paths of our lives could have been if we were raised in a different setting. It seems as if the other Wes Moore was headed down a track towards prison since the moment he was born, and it is unfair for someone like me to say that I would have done something differently if I had been in his situation. Reading The Other Wes Moore really did make me think, and I believe that this assignment will contribute to NHS students being more culturally proficient.
Although some English classes will not discuss the book, there is value in having the entire school read it. As classes jump into busy curriculums, some have opted to skip traditional discussions. However, the book can still have a strong impact on student life at Needham High School. As we reflect on the themes and messages that the two harrowing stories presented us, it is important not to let their impact cease alongside in-class discussions. We can all make the decision to be more understanding of our peers’ untold stories. We can always be more open to what people are going through. With or without in-class discussions, it is important to take with us the lessons we learned just from reading the book.