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Monday, September 23, 2013

#15: The Mt. Rushmore Series

Which four learning experiences would be on your personal Mt. Rushmore? Formal or informal, in or out of a classroom, for credit or strictly for personal enrichment - anything goes; it's your mountain. Mine are listed chronologically; yours need not be.

1.) High school English with Mrs. Cavico: Forced to identify a single educational experience leading to my lifelong love affair with words, this has to be it. Specifically, I recall Mrs. Cavico's rapturous praise for Keats, Byron, & Shelley; their poetry spoke to me almost as potently as music.

2.) Freshman English with Mr. Larsen: Just a few years later as an undergraduate, this man's palpable love of literature (he described caressing the bindings of library books) ensured my permanent infection. He introduced me to John Barth, Ken Kesey, William Styron; I'm forever in Mr. Larsen's debt.

3.) Organizational Behavior with Dr. Toby Tetenbaum:  Fast forward to summer of 1997, the middle of my graduate studies. Having worked as an adult educator for over ten years, this course offered practical insights that immeasurably enriched my next fifteen years of teaching, coaching and living. Just yesterday, I relied on something from Toby's syllabus working with a group.

4.) One Day University (Various Instructors): Beginning December 2007, my wife and I have attended at least one event a year sponsored by this new (since 2006) learning organization. My next time on "campus"? This Saturday. Visit their website and try not to get hooked.

My peak musical learning experiences, including a week spent at the National Guitar Workshop the summer of 2002, would fill a second Mt. Rushmore. When you comment, online or off, include those experiences also. What could be better than learning combined with a passion?


  1. #1 Learning to read and Mrs. Schumaker's class- This may be a bit of a cop-out but I distinctly remember feeling like a "reader" when I had read all the non-chapter books in the classroom and being told that I could move up to the chapter books. I felt such a sense of accomplishment and that for sure spawned by love for reading now.

    #2 English class with Mr. Mancini (Mance) Mance was a great teacher all around but in his class I got my first published work (an opinion essay he submitted as a letter to the editor of our local paper) and that was what made me think about becoming a journalist for the first time.

    #3 Investigative Reporting with Dough Fisher at USC -I'm not sure if this is the name of that class or not but it was the toughest of any of my college classes. We got real story assignments and I was pushed to the limits of my editing and investigative skills but I learned so much and being able to come out of that class with a strong grade made me super proud.

    #4 Learning SEO- this wasn't inside a classroom but the beginning of my knowledge for Search Engine Optimization has been so rewarding and challenging. It continues to this day and that's probably what I love most about my professional life outside of journalism.

    1. Nice Mt. Rushmore, girl. And interesting coincidence that your first two, like mine, were also about reading.

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