• Cushing

2016 Common Reading

Yeonmi Park was born October 4, 1993 in Hyesan, a remote town on the Chinese-North Korean border separated from China by the Yalu River.  In 2007, with her mother, she crossed that river into China in the dark of night. With few possessions, little resources, and facing starvation, thirteen-year old Yeonmi and her mother made their way through eastern China and across the Gobi Desert into Mongolia, where they eventually found help to start a new life in South Korea.  She slowly acclimated to her new freedom, living and attending school in Seoul from the age of fifteen to twenty-one. Yeonmi gained international attention after telling her story of escape from North Korea and exploitation by human traffickers at One Young World Conference in Dublin, Ireland in 2014.  Since that time, she has become a champion for human rights in North Korea and around the world.  Yeonmi is currently a student at Columbia University.

Young One World Conference

Oslo Freedom Forum

College Freedom Forum, Yale University

Letter from Nancy Boyle, Chair of Common Reading Committee

Our all-school Common Reading is a tradition at Cushing that strengthens community bonds and encourages students to grow intellectually through reflection, inquiry, and conversation. In alignment with Cushing's Educational Process, the Common Reading experience challenges our students to discover and develop their personal potential and strengths and will, we hope, prompt individual and community reflection on important essential questions.
The Common Reading Committee worked long and hard to find a compelling story that would challenge us all to achieve a greater understanding of our world and ourselves. We sought an accessible book as our shared text— one that offers a diverse cultural perspective, addresses contemporary social issues, and enhances the intellectual life of the school.
We are happy to announce our Common Reading selection for academic year 2016-2017: In Order To Live by Yeonmi Park. With her father in a labor camp and facing starvation herself, Yeonmi Park risked her life fleeing from her rural home in North Korea to China. Ms. Park’s book is the story of the mistreatment she endured, the impossible decisions she faced, and the strength of spirit that saw her through her experiences with human traffickers.


Cushing Academy

39 School Street
Ashburnham, Massachusetts 01430

Cushing Academy

Cushing Academy is a coed, college preparatory day and boarding school for grades 9-12 and PG. Our students, who come from over 30 states and 30 countries, excel in and out of the classroom through outstanding academic, art and athletic offerings. Visit our welcoming community and beautiful 162-acre campus in Ashburnham, Mass., one hour from Boston, to experience all that Cushing has to offer.