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The First Launch

July 23, 2019

After 22 years in the high school classroom, I have had my share of graduates who have gone on to do amazing things.  An environmental lawyer. An emmy winning computer animator. A counselor for a sexual assault crisis service. A grammy nominated sound engineer.  An FBI agent. A television director and editor. An opera singer. A program director for Habitat for Humanity. A stage actor. A founder and director of a dance company in New York.  That’s just part of the list. Flipping through their bios on pages like Linked In, it’s easy to be impressed. It’s also an honor to know that I may have been able to contribute to their journey in some way.  And of course, it makes me very proud. 

Last week. though, was a first: I had never before had the good fortune to attend a former student’s book launch.  It’s always a good day when one of your former students stops by to visit you. It’s even better when that student presents you with a signed copy of her recently published memoir.  

64887059_2110760685719847_1353249589724971008_oI had the good fortune of having Ludmila as a senior in my philosophy course.  My first impressions were good ones–she was intuitive, very smart, funny, and a strong writer.  As I got to know her, I learned more of her story. Born in the Ukraine, she was adopted from an orphanage by an American couple at age 14 (very late for a typical adoption) and arrived without knowing a word of English.  A mere seven years later, here she was writing, reading, and discussing philosophy in her second language. When she shared with me some of the trauma she endured during her young life, I was simply in awe of her fortitude.  “A Single Desperate Prayer” is the story of her childhood, and her journey to the United States as an adoptee.

I think it is fair to say the book launch was an unqualified success.  The room at the Jonathan Trumbull library (in Lebanon, CT)  was overflowing with attendees–extra chairs had to be brought in, and standing room likely violated the fire code.  Ludmila read three chapters, did a short PowerPoint not only on her life, but on the work of Hope Now Ministries (more on that below)  This was followed by a thoughtful Q&A, and then the book signing. Happily, all of the books brought to the reading were sold. Aside from seeing Ludmila, it was also great to see former students, colleagues and parents that I’ve known over the years.  

And all of us were brought together in joy to celebrate this remarkable young woman.

To learn more about Ludmila, and order a copy of her book, visit her web page

To learn more about Hope Now Ministries, which provides financial aid for orphaned children in Crimea (from where Ludmila originally hails), visit their web page.  Ludmila is donating 10% of her book sales to New Hope Ministries. 



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