We are Williamsburg High School of Architecture and Design, and so, our students get a lot of experiences in technical education. However, the excellence of our core subject classes cannot be ignored. One such class that came about due to the efforts of our Junior year history teacher, Ms. Lauren Weinstein, and our Humanities Assistant Principal, Giovanni D’Amato is our Advanced Placement U.S. History class. WHSAD students deeply examine and discuss the events from our country’s past that make us what we are at present. Additionally, students in the advanced placement class are beginning to have opportunities to learn beyond the classroom and experience some of the scholarly minds who make the study of history their life-long passions and pursuits. One such occasion occurred this past Monday evening, November 6th, when Ms. Weinstein accompanied select students to New York University to hear accomplished historical scholar, Ron Chernow, speak about his new book, Grant. We at WHSAD would like to thank The Center for the Study of Transformative Lives at NYU, and specifically Founder Philip Kunhardt and Assistant Director Kathleen Murphy. Below is junior Ariful Haque’s thoughts about the event.
My experience at NYU for Ron Chernow’s lecture on November 6th was a memorable one. It was fascinating to have insight as to how Chernow wrote the biography of President Grant. The environment of the lecture itself was serious; however, Chernow made jokes to add levity to his lecture. Furthermore, Ron Chernow’s way of explaining his book and how he felt like he was connected to Grant’s life caused me to be in awe as to how much he had known about Grant, adding on to the fact that he already wrote 1000 pages about the guy. Moreover, I even had the opportunity to ask Chernow a question relating to his book. I wanted to know what kind of sources he had used to gather information for his book and how he knew those sources contained reliable information. The answer he gave me had me dumbfounded. 25,000 index cards were filled out just on notes he had taken when he was viewing primary source documents at an archive. All in all, the lecture really showed me how committed biographers are to their field of work, and how Ron Chernow took it even a step further.