Submitted by Ryan Donaher
On Friday, May 02nd, 2014, Mr. Donaher, a member of the English Department at John Glenn Middle School brought Jeffrey Bauman, author of the New York Times best seller Stronger, and his fiancé, Erin, to talk to students about characterization, determination, resilience, perseverance, integrity, and respect.
Mr. Bauman, a native of Chelmsford, Massachusetts, and close high school friend of Mr. Donaher, sadly lost both of his lower extremities due to the bombings that took place at the Boston Marathon last April in Boston, Massachusetts. Jeff in addition to his injuries was also a key player in the investigation that took place in the days that followed the attack to locate the suspects.
Jeff used his book to engage the students in the beginning by saying that he was an author, but slowly allowed the students to see that he was a typical, down-to-earth person just like him. Through various questions, students were able to identify how Jeff’s story touched upon all the themes listed above. More importantly, Jeff used methods of characterization to help students realize who he was before the bombing, who he is, and who he wants to become, much like one is able to explore in the reading of his autobiography. Mr. Bauman is currently living in a suburb of Boston, expecting his first child in mid-July, and is planning a wedding with his fiancé, Erin. Jeff and Erin were very excited to come to JGMS as it was their first middle school experience. Jeff noted to Mr. Donaher that middle school has been his roughest crowd so far in terms of making him nervous, but explained that it was great public speaking practice, and that he is excited to come back for future visits.
Mr. Donaher and Ms. d’Entremont will be using this presentation in the upcoming weeks as an anchor for teaching the genre of autobiography to their students in grade seven. Jeff did donate one of his books to Ms. Lynda McGraw in the JGMS library to put out for circulation.
Mr. Donaher, a graduate of Assumption College (B.A.) and Boston University’s School of Education (Ed. M.), is new to Bedford Public Schools this year and has thoroughly enjoyed his first-year. Mr. Donaher’s teaching philosophy is to engage students, use multiple means of representation, and allow students to express themselves through motivating them to speak, listen, read, think, and write. He plans to collaborate with Mr. Bauman and other authentic speakers in the future as him and his teaching partner, Nicole d’Entremont, thought that Jeff’s visit was engaging and left students with a powerful message.
Should you be interested: This year’s Run for Bauman, the 2.62 Miler, will be held on July 12th, 2014 in Chelmsford, MA. If you and your family are interested in walking/running in support of Jeff Bauman, please contact Mr. Donaher by e-mail at email@example.com