Two Stories

In the Seed office hangs a handmade quilt, created by my 1992-93 first and second graders.  It was made as part of our annual human rights study, which emphasized advocacy for human rights and devotion to making change in the world to improve the lives of others.  One of the students in my class that year was Danielle Draper.  Her photo, along with the pictures of her classmates who were the artists, hangs beside the quilt to this day.

An announcement arrived in the mail last week from Danielle.  In May she will graduate from the University of Arizona College of Medicine and then continue her training with a residency in Family Medicine in Martinez, California.  That alone is a major accomplishment and something of which all of us who knew Danielle are very proud.  But the story gets better.

Attached to the graduation announcement was a letter written by Danielle, as well as one by a 19-year-old young woman she met on the front steps of her house in New Orleans, five years ago after Katrina devastated the Lower Ninth Ward.  Franisha, then 14 and one of fifteen children in her family, survived the hurricane and against great odds, went on to become quite a scholar.  She will graduate from high school later this spring and is planning to attend Grambling State University on a scholarship.  She will be a first generation college student in her family and plans to be a teacher.  In her words, “The reason I strive so hard to succeed in school and become a teacher is so that I can help kids like me who do not have all of the things growing up that I wished for when I was little.”

Danielle is asking that in lieu of sending a gift for her own graduation from medical school, we consider giving money to help with Franisha’s college expenses.  When I read this, my heart was warmed by both stories.  I thought back to our 1st/2nd grade study of human rights and advocacy for who need someone to stand up for them.  Everything I ever hoped for in making a school that would foster stewardship for the planet and each other has come true in Danielle and Franisha’s story.  Granted, Danielle is a compassionate, caring young woman because it’s in her nature and she’s been that way all along.  She may have chosen the path she has without any influence from the Seed.  However, I like to believe that our studies of Gandhi, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad in some small way have made a difference.  As Seeds like Danielle grow into adulthood, they will unquestionably continue making a difference.  This is why we do what we do at the Seed.

3 thoughts on “Two Stories

  1. Mary, Thanks for the lovely post. Danielle says that it means so much that you are proud of her. Advocating for others may not be the easy path, but we are glad it has been the Awakening Seed path. Both of our girls continue to cherish their time at The Seed.

  2. Mary, what a beautiful story! The influence that you and the Seed have had on your students is like ripples in a pond . . .

  3. Hi Mary, I was a member of your second grade class that year, and to this day I think of that quilt we made. I can still remember my square about The People Could Fly. I occasionally look at the Seed page, especially since I have become a teacher. I hope that I can pass on the knowledge and the empowerment to my students that you and the Seed gave to me. The human rights study that you did with us as second graders is forever engrained in my brain and heart, and has lead me to teach middle school and high school students in similar situations as Franisha’s in hopes of empowering them to see the bright futures that are a head of them.
    I wish good luck to Danielle in all that she does and continues to make a difference and have a positive impact on our world.

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