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When Adriana Alejandre became pregnant at 19, she understood her life would drastically change. A sophomore at UC Santa Barbara, Alejandre wanted nothing more than to complete her education, but she knew it would be difficult (if not impossible) as a young single mom.

"It was hard because I thought that was the end," says Gladis Caal, Alejandre's mother. "I thought she would not be able to study again, because that is what happened to me." While her mom was concerned about Alejandre's future, others were much less kind. "I was actually told by others that I would become another Latina dropout statistic," Alejandre remembers.

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Those harsh words were meant to dismiss Alejandre and put her down, but they had the opposite effect, fueling her to continue pursuing her education. She needed to show the world that she didn't have to make a choice between being a mom or a student — she could do both.

Alejandre was taking a psychology course at the time she learned she was pregnant. It inspired her to see a therapist to talk about all of the changes she was experiencing. As a Latinx woman, going to therapy broke cultural norms. "Mental health isn't really talked about in my culture. We're expected to just get better on our own automatically," she says. But it also made it clear to her that those norms needed to change. Those changes, Alejandre decided, would begin with her. She'd finish up her degree, go on to graduate school, and then work to transform the conversation around mental health in the Latinx community, all while being the best mom in the world.

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We live in an ever-shrinking world. Today, people can travel to practically any place on the planet—distances that used to take weeks or even months to traverse—in less than a day. People on opposite sides of the globe can talk face-to-face through handheld devices—a reality that was a futuristic dream even in my own lifetime. Thanks to constant advances in transportation and communication, we're living in an increasingly global society—one that our children will need to understand as they inherit it.

After 9/11, author and mother Homa Sabet Tavangar felt compelled to explore the impact of our rapidly changing world on her children. Tavangar had worked for 15 years helping companies become competitive in the global market, but she knew humanity needed more than than global business savvy. It needed compassionate, culturally competent people who strive to understand others and see themselves as citizens of the world.

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Courtesy of April McNary

April McNary, a teacher at Sunnyslope High School in Phoenix, Arizona, has always believed in the transformative power of reading and writing. The honest conversations that are sparked by this creative work, she says, are some of the most valuable to her.

"Allowing students to wrestle with their thoughts and convictions is something that happens on a regular basis, and it's one of the parts I love most about my career choice," says McNary.

While learning from great written works like Shakespeare is always on the agenda, McNary also makes a point of giving her students space to write and reflect on pressing issues that affect them directly — like gun violence. After the Parkland shooting happened, she gave her students time to do just that, then discuss what they wrote in small groups. Allowing the students space to express their feelings helped everyone feel better and get on with the day.

One area of creative expression McNary felt like she needed to boost in her classroom was poetry.

"Knowing that reading one's own poetry is terrifying for some (and something I still won't assign), I figured something less daunting was to read a poem someone else had written/published," she explains.

But she implemented a twist — students had to choose a poem with which they had some sort of personal connection. Little did she know what incredible moments were about to transpire as a result.

Courtesy of April McNary

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Anyone who has spent a day in a classroom knows that teachers—especially teachers of young kids—are superhuman superheroes. And any parent who has spent a day outside of a classroom trying to wrangle a group of young kids through a field trip would describe teachers in even stronger language than that.

That's what dad blogger Clint Edwards of No Idea What I'm Doing: A Daddy Blog discovered on a recent trip to a pumpkin patch with his daughter's kindergarten class. The father of three and author of a new book, "Silence is a Scary Sound: And Other Stories on Living Through the Terrible Twos and Threes," penned a tribute to teachers everywhere that has gone viral for the hilariously real truth it describes.

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