By Doug Stanton
On Nov. 11, 2011, I was in New York City as Vice President Joseph Biden unveiled the “Horse Soldiers” statue, in honor of veterans and families who’d served since 2001. Funding for the statue had come from Wall Street bankers, and many of them had read my book “Horse Soldiers,” and they asked me how I’d come to write it.
I told them, and I’m not kidding: “Larry Grow, Mrs. Lorraine Smith, John Gerhardt,” naming just some of my influential teachers when I was a Traverse City Area Public Schools student. These teachers let me start a newspaper, among other things, and they said “yes” when it came to supporting new class projects. They showed me how to make a life.
Anything might be possible.
At the statue dedication ceremony, the Vice President asked if I’d sign a copy of my book for him. He had read it and liked it. Looking back, I don’t think that moment would have happened, and I mean this literally, if not for those experiences and teachers I’d had as as a TCAPS student.
When I asked the Wall Street people what they look for in a new employee, they said — without a moment’s hesitation: “Liberal arts graduates. Students with excellent writing and verbal skills.” Many of our high school programs, in addition to our strong science programs — theater, debate, music, journalism and writing classes — are job incubators for this 21st Century economy. These skills are the dominant skill-set for TCAPS graduates will need entering the work force.
TCAPS has supported me. Now it’s our turn to show our support for our public schools, which is why I ask you to join me Nov. 5 in voting on two important bond proposals. The bond proposals will ensure that our schools are as safe and secure as they can be in today’s changing world.
They will allow the district to reconstruct 50-year-old buildings that have leaking roofs, crumbling interiors and mechanical systems that will eventually fail. And, they will help make sure that students have access to the technology and facility space they need to succeed in life and these careers of tomorrow.
These students are writing the stories future leaders will read.
About the author: New York Times best-selling author Doug Stanton grew up in Traverse City and is a founder of the National Writers and, in a Traverse City Area Public Schools partnership, Front Street Writers, a free creative writing workshop for high school students.”
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