A decision to join Teach for America brought then 22-year-old Michelle Kuo to the Mississippi Delta. Her hope was to teach American history through black literature. It was a very different life than the one she'd had growing up as the daughter of parents who’d emigrated from Taiwan to West Michigan.
Kuo had a 15-year-old student named Patrick in her class. His sharp mind and eagerness to learn — and her desire to teach — was the basis of a life-changing connection formed between the two. It was a connection that bridged racial difference and social inequality. But their friendship took a very dramatic turn when Patrick was put behind bars for his role in a deadly fight.
Kuo joined Stateside to tell us about her new book Reading with Patrick: A Teacher, a Student, and a Life-Changing Friendship, which recounts her challenging but rewarding friendship with her former student.