Monday, March 29, 2010

New Bedford, Massachusetts

Last night I returned home to Chicago after visiting my brother Kevin in New Bedford, Massachusetts, which is "the world's most famous whaling era seaport and the number one fishing port in America." (I could have said something along those lines, but the city's website was able to put it a little bit more elegantly.) Anyway, I am officially enamored with the city, its history, the school my brother teaches at, his students, and all the people he has befriended since being there.

Kevin teaches at Nativity Preparatory School of New Bedford , a tuition-free school for boys grades 5-8 who come from low-income families. All the boys I met were extremely cordial and well-behaved. They have so little, and yet, their positive attitude, work ethic, and determination to succeed are unmatched by any middle schooler I've ever met.

Ten of the highlights from the trip:

1. I've never had my hand shaken so many times in my life. And I think it was the first time I was officially called "Miss" by anyone other than one of my school teachers or the receptionist at the dentist.
2. Eating a cannoli at Mr. Markey's home.
3. Listening to 7th graders share creative writing pieces in which the assignment was to have a character overcome an obstacle and be victorious in the end. (one kid wrote about a squirrel finding nuts... awesome!)
4. Getting a tour of the school building from a 5th grader named Roand and a 6th grader named Zepherine.
5. Grabbing late-night food and beers with some of Kevin's peers at Freestone's City Grill.
6. Watching Jerry Maguire.
7. Exploring the city and seeing the Frederick Douglass mural.
8. Checking the plaques with the dates on all the ancient homes. A few were from the 1700s. Whoa nelly!
9. Catching a 3 second glimpse of Matt's (another teacher) dance moves.
10. Attending the 6th annual MABACH challenge, a tournament of math, basketball, and chess. Nine nativity prep schools participated and New Bedford ended up winning! Those math skills paid off.

{Frederick Douglass, probably the most well-known escaped slave, lived in New Bedford from 1838-1841. I really admire this man. He overcame so many obstacles in life. With little help, he taught himself how to read and write. My favorite work of his is "What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?"
{The bay}
{Cobble stone streets}
{A typical confused Kevin expression}
{A cute shop that was closed}
{The Icebox}


  1. O, how I just love cobble stone streets. They are simply wonderful.

  2. This made me want to take a vacation.