On Friday, December 7, The Red Oaks School had the honor of hosting Michael Majok Kuch, Sudanese refugee and subject of the novel, How Fast Can You Run, by Harriet Levin Millan. This special day began at the lovely home of Red Oaks parent and Board of Trustees member, Susan Luciano. Guests mingled, enjoyed light refreshments, and after a heartfelt introduction by fellow Red Oaks parent (and family friend of Michael) Susanna Short, Michael shared the amazing story of his life-one of great strength and determination. Red Oaks community members joined in the "conversation" of Michael's journey and asked excellent questions that Michael expanded upon. In was quite an incredible experience!
Later that afternoon, Michael stopped by our Speedwell Campus to share his story with our 7th and 8th grade students. Following the riveting reflection of his childhood and the transition to life in the United States, Michael engaged with the students in an informative Q & A session. A prominent turning point of the discussion came with this question, "When you were in the refugee camps, what propelled you to stay in school and not become a child soldier?" Michael described the powerful impact of the songs they would sing in the camps, often about the hope for a future of an independent South Sudan (which did happen). The combination of that hope, his drive to be a good student, and those who helped support him along the way are what lead him to the life he leads today.
We send our sincere thanks and gratitude to Michael Majok Kuch for taking the time to share his incredible life story with Red Oaks! Many thanks to Susan Luciano for opening up her home for the morning lecture, and special thanks to Susanna Short for facilitating this once in a lifetime event!
How Fast Can You Run is available on Amazon.com and most bookstores. A portion of proceeds from the book's sales help support schools in South Sudan! Amazon's description of the book is included below:
"Five-year-old Majok wakes in the middle of the night to his burning hut and flees from the soldiers torching his village in South Sudan. He gets separated from his mother and begins a ten year journey, trekking through war zones and living in refugee camps, until he receives political asylum to the US. Majok, now Michael, is given a new start in the US. Yet his new life mirrors his migrant life as he faces discrimination once again, and ultimately betrayal." (Source: Amazon.com)