I can't tell you how many emails and text messages I've received from cadets and their parents who have been in touch with me to thank me for getting the "Best speaker EVER at the Academy." No exaggeration. Cadets have actually called their parents to tell them about Erik and the parents in turn have called or emailed me. Since I know about 80% of the cadets, many have emailed or text me directly to thank me. Erik was a huge hit. Within minutes after he left, it was all over the Academy Facebook page of how awesome Erik was and how he was by far, the best speaker they've ever had.
— Elena Salinas, US Coast Guard Academy
I am a high school special education teacher in Massachusetts. The curriculum guide is an extremely beneficial tool in teaching English Language Arts. My class is a language based English class that provides instruction to students with Reading and/or Writing Disabilities. The curriculum guide makes a very easy way to separate the book into three distinct parts, allowing for appropriate time for tests and/or quizzes. It also gives great ideas for asking questions and beginning class discussion both prior as well as after reading the sections. This allows students to be more insightful and as well as offer an opportunity to be reflective.
The guide also gives great ideas for Projects in the areas of Writing, Research and Geography. It continues to connect the book to the documentaries and movie and offers project ideas for further learning. The ideas for prompting students to experience the world without sight are excellent and very appropriate for all ages.
Lastly, additional research resources are provided allowing teachers to create their own webquests. The curriculum guide makes reading this exciting and motivating book easier to teach. It is a valuable tool that came much appreciated.
…Kathy Rogers, Bridgewater-Raynham Regional High School
"I have taught for 24 years now and am constantly on the prowl for literature that touches on common human themes. Your book has impacted my kids. These are jaded, know-it-all high school sophomores who don't like to read. They are eating it up, and when I tell them to only read 2 chapters, many come in and ask if it's ok that they read ahead. Whoot! Second, the conversations and questions generated via your book have these kids examining many aspects of their lives. And, I'd be a liar if I didn't say that I'm right there with them reassessing my thinking too. Thank you for the honesty of this text. I believe that is what ultimately has drawn these 16 year old cynics into your story."
… Kris Kuhn, Lincoln Lutheran High School - Lincoln, Nebraska
"We were all riveted by Erik Weihenmayer's compelling talk this morning; so much so, that when we returned to the classroom, the girls and I agreed that from now until Thanksgiving Break, we are casting Macbeth aside in favor of Touch the Top of the World! They are to read the Introduction this weekend and we will have an initial discussion on Monday using the questions and thoughts in the curriculum guide. I put the famous Browning quotation on the board : "A man's reach should exceed his grasp" and we talked about what REACH means, particularly in terms of how Erik imbued his speech with it. He did such a marvelous job of applying it to his listeners. There were so many of us entranced by his words. I have heard so many speakers in my day, and while some have actually been worth the price of admission, none has matched the depth and soul and charm of Erik. It was the most awe-inspiring hour I have spent. I can't wait to see the impression that will be made on my students by their reading of Erik's book."
...Esther Yardumian-Smyth,?Head of English?Academy of the New Church Secondary School
"Erik's presentation last evening was absolutely the best and most inspirational NCTM Opening Session I have heard in my many years of attending the organization's conferences. Attendees have stopped me today to say how much they were moved by Erik's comments."
...Carol Edwards, Event Chair - National Council for Teachers in Mathematics
"This was the best day in the history of Roxbury Latin."
...Reverend Tony Jarvis, Headmaster - Roxbury Latin, Boston
"I cannot tell you how many faculty and parents came up to me in the days following your visit to thank me for having you speak to their children. You were the topic of conversation at dozens of dinner tables in Beaufort! Yours is a tremendous story. Your accomplishments alone command respect and interest; the fact that you are blind only makes your story more compelling."
...Woody Rutter, Headmaster - Beaufort Academy
"I cannot find the words to describe my gratitude to you and respect for you. Nor can I begin to explain the extraordinary ways you and your message impacted and inspired everyone in your audience, and that is especially true of the students. About halfway through your comments, it occurred to me that I should take notes. Sitting there unprepared, I at least had a pen and a small piece of paper that I completely filled with ideas that have already become part of my professional lexicon as a character educator. Your life is a lesson in everything we strive to teach at The Principia: spiritual growth, attitude, effort, self-discipline and selflessness. You demonstrate what an individual can accomplish when he or she pushes through the self- and society-imposed limits of what is possible."
...Mike Kensler, Dean of Boys - The Principia School
"In Arizona, we have had the privilege to watch Erik's development as both a teacher and as a motivational speaker. He goes beyond the boundaries of excellence in both fields. His charisma and talent are unsurpassed in the field of education. His ability to take all listeners to the "summit" touched both the hearts and minds of over 800 people."
...Teri J. Traaen, Director - American Association of School Personnel Administrators
"Just a short note to let you know that Erik "blew away" the whole community of Episcopal High School!!! Rob Hershey, our headmaster, said to me that Erik was a "rare gift" to our students; and our legendary senior master of 39 years, Ed Rice (math teacher, football coach, A.D., and track coach) sent Rob an e-mail telling him that, in all his 42 years in education, Erik was the most inspiring speaker he has ever heard at The High School."
...Jim Fraser, Teacher - Episcopal High, Virginia
"Words escape me. I would never be able to describe the atmosphere here in Richmond as a result of your visit with us. Your words were inspiration to hundreds and your spirit and your heart will live with us for a very long time. You have made a difference in the lives of hundreds of young boys and their parents. We will forever be indebted to you for your gift to our school and our community."
...Jil Harris, Organizer - St. Christopher's Symposium, Virginia
"The only word that comes to my mind when I think of you is...Wow! What an amazing, incredible, brave, spiritual person you are! Your achievements tip the scales...a solid champion in every sense of the word! You are a wonderful example of what an individual with faith and commitment can achieve and a fantastic witness for positive Christianity!"
...Reverend Robert H. Schuller - The Crystal Cathedral
"I do not know of another speaker who better connects with young minds to over come their human limitations than Erik. He needs to keep giving his message of "hope", "promise," and "achievement" to as many as possible."
...Don Koch, Koch Foundation
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