Judi Freeman — Boston, MA
Facing History and Ourselves, Grade 11
Ms. Freeman taught me Facing History & Ourselves when I was a junior in high school in 2001. The summer prior to her class my father died suddenly, and two weeks into the year the World Trade Center was attacked. It would have been so easy for me to fold in upon myself in grief, narrowing my views to my loss, our country's loss, never considering the wider world. Judi's intellectually and morally rigorous course helped me do just the opposite -- she taught me to understand the suffering others experienced, to use my grief as a bridge to connect myself to them. I still remember the day I learned that, in the 1920s, epileptics were forcibly sterilized -- people like my father. It brought home the evil that's often done in the name of progress, and taught me that real change does not come by violence against others.