If you’ve read this year’s One Maryland One Book selection, A Hope in the Unseen, you’re familiar with the engrossing story of Cedric Jennings’ journey from the inner city to the Ivy League. But do you know the story behind the story? You do if you were one of the 2008 Baltimore Book Festival attendees who crowded under the tent to hear Hope author Ron Suskind! (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘Cedric Jennings’
I was privileged to hear Cedric Jennings speak at Montgomery College on the evening of August 19, 2008. Prior to the event there was some talk about turnout. The college was on summer break—would there still be students to fill the auditorium? Would anyone else come? Having arrived early, I sat in my car working a crossword puzzle. At fifteen minutes before the start time I decided to wander over to the auditorium. To my surprise, it was packed! I barely found a seat! There were some students there, but the majority of the audience seemed to be made up of interested people from all over the county and beyond, all sparked by enthusiasm for Cedric’s book, A Hope in the Unseen.
Sometimes the best stories have no easy endings.
It can be surprising how often people have high expectations of other people–sometimes their expectations for others is higher than those they have for themselves. For example, at my post-college graduation party, one of my aunts appeared shocked to discover that I, a Political Science major, was not going to continue on to law school. Not that she’s a lawyer, mind you; just that she assumed that was the way I was heading. I suppose for some of the people with whom I graduated my staying in Baltimore and working for the library proves me to be an underachiever. (more…)
How do we measure success in this country? Are you only considered successful if you have a high-paying, high-powered job? I’ve been talking with friends and co-workers about what success means since the recent Washington Post article about Cedric Jennings and what’s going on in his life 12 years after A Hope in the Unseen was first published. Hope–this year’s One Maryland One Book selection–chronicles Jenning’s journey from his high school in one of D.C.’s most dangerous neighborhoods to Brown University.
After we leave high school and go our separate ways, the places we end up professionally run the gamut. Some of us fulfill our childhood dreams and become firemen, lawyers, and fishermen. Others hop from job to job or decide to move in a completely different direction professionally after years of doing the same thing—finding themselves professionally as they come into their own personally. But the bottom line is that we each have our own path to walk, and who is to say what defines success for each of us?
So what do you think? Do we only equate success with the Bigs? Big house, big car, big bank account? Do we place enough value on the contribution one makes in enriching the lives of others through their work? How do you define personal success?
Andrea Lewis is the Project Manager for One Maryland One Book.