HOOSIERS (1986) directed by David Anspaugh
I first met Demetry, a twelve-year-old Russian émigré, when he enrolled as a student at Denver Academy of Torah, a Jewish elementary day school of which I was the principal. He encountered formidable educational challenges because of his lack of English language skills, and teachers were worried that he would not survive in a dual-curriculum Jewish day school. And then something extraordinary happened. We instituted a “Shakespeare Festival” for the seventh and eighth grade students in which they would perform an abbreviated version of one of the great bard’s plays. Demetry was given a speaking part, and he surprised us all. He read his lines with the proper pronunciation and with a clear understanding of the power and meaning of Shakespeare’s words.
Watching him underscored the maxim in the Ethics of the Fathers that “one should never disparage any man, for every man has his hour.” Too often we quickly stereotype people when we first meet them and that first impression becomes our only impression of that individual. Demetry’s blossoming at the school play reminded me to withhold judgment when meeting people, for we do not know who they really are after only one or two superficial encounters. Demetry astonished us all; and from that moment on, teachers and fellow students viewed him differently. Read the rest of this entry »