Walking into this college classroom, one student was already seated, a full half-hour before class would start.
He was quiet and respectfully reached out to Deb, my escort for the day, thanking her for this program she had started almost a decade earlier. We seated ourselves in the back of the room where we would observe.
As students meandered in, one thing stuck out — their genuine desire to be there, at 8 a.m. on a Monday — that is not how I remembered college.
Steve Moro, now teaching at UMaine Rockland (UROCK), and a Camden Hills High School teacher for decades, came over to formally introduce himself and engage in conversation about mutual connections. Many students made their way over to “Mr. Moro” and “Deb,” all with the same polite message: “Thank you for being here.”
Deb, Steve and I didn’t have to “be here”; here was the Maine State Prison facility in Warren.
Sitting next to us was our prison liaison, stoic but openly supportive of what was happening; student inmates greeted him respectfully, including him in conversation.
The class: Public Speaking. The assignment: Persuasion…