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Guest speakers inspire students to spread Thanksgiving Joy

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Guest speakers often inspire, educate and broaden horizons as students are invited to see life through the eyes of others. The Academy welcomes guest speakers with a focus on the school mission – to make the world a better place through courage and action.

Last year, two authors shared stories of poverty and injustice in their environments. Loung Ung, the author of First They Killed My Father and Lucky Child, retold the trauma she en-
dured as a young girl suffering from war and genocide in Cambodia. Ung emphasized the importance of service and helping the less fortunate. She also emphasized the importance of sharing personal gifts and talents with others to help society.

So did Francis Bok, author of Escape from Slavery. As a slave survivor from Sudan, he gave students insight into the pain of seeing his village destroyed as he was kidnapped by brutal killers that would enslave him for years. Given his own traumatic circumstances, Bok encouraged the student body to always care for the less fortunate by volunteering time and resources to help the poor, the sick, the needy and the oppressed.

Bok and Ung both encouraged students to make a positive difference in the world by working together and helping the poor. Bok’s work resulted in the Sudan Peace Act that regulates U.S. funding to the country, and Ung’s work continues to drive action against the creation and implantation of landmines.

These stories remind students of those most in need at international, national and local levels. The City of Cleveland continues to need much support, and Gilmour answers a call year after year.

With the help of Sister Mary Ann, Instructor of Religion and Director of Service, The Academy welcomed Father McNulty and Sister Corita to tell the student body about the rewards of service and donating in the Cleveland area. Sister Mary Ann says, “We have been given so much and we must embrace others to make sure that the poor have enough food for the Thanksgiving season.”

Of all major U.S. cities, Cleveland has the highest level of poverty.  Student donations help to feed families that may otherwise never enjoy a Thanksgiving meal. Brother Ken Kane, Teacher for Instructional Support, says, “I think it’s good for all of us to stretch ourselves. Many students may see this as a pain, but perhaps they haven’t experienced real hunger. This has shown me that it is our mission to feed the poor.”

Every year, the Academy challenges students to donate more food baskets than the previous year. As a community, students and families are encouraged to remember that the Thanksgiving season is about giving to the less fortunate and celebrating life with families.

On Thanksgiving Day, many Cleveland families enjoyed their-
Thanksgiving meal, thanks to students eager to spare a few dollars and a few cans of food in order to serve Clevelanders in need.