In December 2000, a young man in Baltimore named Wes Moore opened the newspaper. In it, he saw an article about himself and how he had received a Rhodes Scholarship. But he also saw another story. This one was about a young man—also from Baltimore and also named Wes Moore—who was being sought by the police for his part in the armed robbery of a jewelry store.
This Rhodes Scholar wanted to know how a guy, so similar to himself, had ended up on such a different path. So he wrote the other Wes Moore a letter in jail—where he is now serving a life sentence for his part in that robbery—and asked him. What came next was a correspondence between the two men in which they discussed what made them the same and what made them different. That correspondence led to a book called The Other Wes Moore.
The Other Wes Moore was Cushing Academy’s Common Reading selection for the school year, and on Sept. 19, the author came to talk to the student body about it. He noted that what is important about the title of his book isn’t Wes Moore, but rather, The Other. “There are others everywhere,” he told the students. “There are so many people who are one decision from going toward greatness or going the other way.” He told the students that the point of the book wasn’t to tell the story about two people, but to tell the story of two people, both searching for something and only one of them finding it. “I’m better than I was because I met Wes,” he said. “I’m more thankful and aware of the people that advocated and fought for me before I knew how to do it for myself.”
On that note, he encouraged the students to be grateful for the opportunities they have and to use those opportunities—including their Cushing education—to fight for those who don’t. “When you leave college, no one will ask you what your major was,” he said. “They’ll ask you who you fought for. Who did you stand up for when it wasn’t easy? Who did you stand arm in arm with when it was just you two? No one will ever stop asking you that question, because that is the question that is important.”
He encouraged them to make the most of their time at Cushing, saying, “If you walk across that graduation stage and all you have is a diploma, then you have missed the point. Your education isn’t about your GPA or how many degrees you have, it’s about what you do with it.”
Wes Moore’s visit to Cushing was part of Headmaster Torino’s commitment to bringing outside perspectives into the Cushing community. These visitors share their points of view to give Cushing students the opportunity to build up the sense of inclusion and community that is already present at the Academy. It is our hope that these lessons will benefit students in personal ways that will inform their own sense of value and purpose.
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Cushing Academy exists for students and develops curious, creative, and confident learners and leaders. Founded in 1865, Cushing is a co-ed, college preparatory boarding and day school for students in grades 9-12 and PG. Our students, who come from over 30 states and 30 countries, excel in our outstanding academic, art, and athletic offerings. We welcome you to visit our community and beautiful 162-acre campus in Ashburnham, Mass., just one hour from Boston, to experience all that Cushing has to offer.