Gordon School

This I Believe New England: Spreading Hope

Jun 26, 2018
Scott Indermaur

Hope, true hope, can be so elusive.  The most fortunate among us are able to find it and hold tight, especially during life's inevitable moments of despair.  For some of us, hope is fleeting, slipping through our fingers much too fast.  For others, hope lingers and sustains us as we muddle through life's challenges.  In her book Animal Dreams, Barbara Kingsolver wrote “The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope.

Scott Indermaur

Many of us can recall a time when we found ourselves pretty much alone in the world – perhaps after having moved to a new city with neither family nor friends, or to a new country with brand new sights, disorienting customs, and unfamiliar language.  These sorts of beginnings can be filled with a complicated mix of excitement, nagging anxiety, alluring challenge, and profound loneliness.  Over time, we hope, we find our way, forge a path, and nestle in.

How often do you stop to think about how important trust is in your life?  The trust you had as a child that your parents would care for you.  The trust that your spouse, partner, or dear friends would be there for you, even on the bad days. The trust that our political leaders truly have our interests at heart.  We hope, of course, that trust is more than a mere leap of faith.  As Ernest Hemingway said, "The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them." Thirteen-year-old Faith Felder seems to have learned just that at a very young age.   


This I Believe Rhode Island: Choices

Aug 8, 2017

Amidst life's joys – which all of us hope are many – are the inevitable rough patches, intimidating stumbles, and other assorted obstacles. Nobody makes it through this life unscathed, without some significant speed bumps, untimely detours, or worse.  

Trauma.  Nobody wants it, but it's inevitable that some form of it will show up in our lives along the way.  Accidents.  Broken hearts.  Abuse.  Chronic illness.  The ravages of war.  Under the best of circumstances, we cope with trauma and move on.  And sometimes, the traumatic events teach us life lessons, and as Ernest Hemingway observed, make us stronger in the broken places.  

Every life has its share of stumbles and false starts.  The dashed dreams.  Accidents.  Faltering relationships. Health crises.  The enduring challenge for all of us, it seems, is to do our best to cope with adversity when it rears its unbidden head. 

Here’s the modern lament that comes out of so many of our mouths:  If only people would get their noses out of their smartphones, we could return to the days when people really connected with each other and engaged in meaningful communication.  Oh the perils of Facebook, Face Time, BuzzFeed, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Foursquare, and all of their digital cousins.  For so many of us, life seems saturated with technology and with smartphone apps that seem to shape our contemporary identities.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Learning Empathy

Jun 28, 2016

  Coping with scary medical news is a challenge at any age.  There’s the inevitable uncertainty and the possibility that our imaginations will run wild with worry. And, there’s something especially poignant when that challenge lands in the lap of a child who’s on the cusp of adolescence.  Fortunately, many children are remarkably hardy and wise in the face of this sort of adversity.  That’s certainly the case with 13-year-old Sebastian Dobron.

Sebastian Dobron will be entering the 8th grade at the Gordon School in East Providence.  He lives with his family in Barrington.  

This I Believe Rhode Island: Singing

Jun 7, 2016

Music is so central to many of our lives.  Isn’t it the case that certain songs instantly bring back poignant memories, some joyous, some humorous, some melancholy?  Sometimes, belting out a tune can be remarkably cathartic, a way to cope with anxiety or to celebrate life’s sweet moments.  Even Plato had something to say about it: “Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”  And 13-year-old Gianna Paratore has reached much the same conclusion.

Gianna Paratore is in the seventh grade at the Gordon School in East Providence.  She lives with her family in Warren.

Who among us hasn’t encountered moments of sheer panic and debilitating anxiety? Perhaps it was when you were about to be wheeled in for surgery, or maybe it was that first date, waiting to find out about your grade on a critically important final exam, or, for so many, those moments before a big performance.  Joyce Carol Oates wrote, “Any kind of creative activity is likely to be stressful. The more anxiety, the more you feel that you are headed in the right direction.”  And we hear similar sentiments from a wise 13-year-old, Emma LaSala.   

Emma LaSala is in the seventh grade at the Gordon School in East Providence.  She lives with her family in Barrington.

This I Believe Rhode island: Blank Pages

Apr 26, 2016

  Triumphs in our lives come in all kinds of shapes and sizes.  Some of our successes consist of quiet, nearly invisible moments, while others occur under bright lights and with lots of fanfare.  So, too, with the challenges and setbacks we often encounter that precede these triumphs.  Most lives, it seems, include an inevitable mix of sweet and sour, and dark and light.  But when we manage to triumph over our daunting challenges, those are the sweetest moments of all, as we hear from 13-year-old Lois Griffin.

  All of us face personal challenges in our lives, some bigger and more intimidating than others.  Some people wear their challenges on their sleeves, and are quite public about, for example, relationship struggles, learning disabilities, mental illness, and addictions.  Others are much more private about the daunting issues in their lives.  Thirteen-year-old Lily Barker has decided that sharing her special challenge is quite liberating.


Lily Barker is about to enter the eighth grade at the Gordon School in East Providence.  She lives with her family in Warren.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Racial Identity

Jul 28, 2015

In recent months we’ve been saturated with painful, even agonizing, news of controversial police shootings, urban turmoil, and anger-filled standoffs.  Underneath it all, it seems, are nagging and remarkably complex issues of race.  For many this is the proverbial elephant in the room, although perhaps not the only elephant.  But race is not just a broad, abstract political and social issue.  For so many, it’s a deeply personal issue, as we hear from 13-year-old Rachael Romain.

Rachael Romain recently completed the 7th grade at the Gordon School in East Providence.  She lives with her family in Seekonk, Massachusetts.

This I Believe Rhode Island: Chasing Rainbows

Jul 14, 2015

  Many of us moved into adulthood imagining some sort of clear forecast and life plan.  Of course, what many of us discovered along the way is that our journeys rarely unfold in as linear a fashion as we first imagined.  Life is full of unanticipated detours, occasional roadblocks, and, we hope, wondrous surprises and good fortune.  For some, it takes decades of living to appreciate this reality.  And then some of us figure it out rather early in life, as with 14-year-old Jacqueline Faulise.

Jacqueline Faulise recently completed the 7th grade at the Gordon School in East Providence.  She lives with her family in Wickford, Rhode Island.

  Some years ago, Sissela Bok, a moral philosopher, wrote a book entitled Lying in which she explores the ways in which people struggle to be truthful in their private and public lives, especially in circumstances that tempt us to lie or, at the very least, shade the truth -- sometimes for self-serving purposes and sometimes for what appear to be more magnanimous goals.  For many, truth telling is a lifelong challenge.  And as we hear from a very wise 13-year-old, Bea Hruska, our lifelong instincts are often sown in childhood.