The Things They Still Carry
The Law School has their gavels. The Divinity School, halos. The Kennedy School has inflatable globes. The Design School, rulers and protractors. And for many years, the Ed School basically had nothing, except for the one year they carried apples. But Christine Pina, Ed.M.'99, and Cyle Bohannon, Ed.M.'99, wanted to change that. Ed School students, they reasoned, should also wave something as they walked into Harvard Yard during commencement.
Now 13 graduations later, the tradition they started — having Ed School students carry children's books — is still going strong. But it isn't just graduates who gained something meaningful. Thousands of children have also benefited: The books are collected after commencement and donated to a local organization or school. The year Bohannon and Pina were involved, more than 500 books, sold at cost to students by Charlesbridge Publishing, were given to Dante Alighieri Elementary School in East Boston with the help of Ed School alum William Trueheart, Ed.D.'79, then-president of the nonprofit Reading Is Fundamental.
Bohannon, who has since started a lifecoaching business, says choosing to hold books was inspired by Professor Kurt Fischer.
"My classes with Kurt made me acknowledge the importance of metaphors and symbols," she says. "I wanted our actions as a group to convey what the Ed School was about in the same way the globes conveyed a message about the Kennedy School."
Pina, now vice president for institutional advancement at the University of Hartford in Connecticut, is proud that this tradition is still going strong.
"The fact that so many classes after us have continued this practice is inspiring to me," she says. "I think of how we've been able to emphasize the importance of children's literacy to so many kids and families, and I'm even more proud to be associated with the Ed School."