Story last updated at 4/22/2009 - 10:59 am
JUNEAU - The Glacier Valley Rotary Club will present the 17th Annual Pillars of America Speaker Series on Wednesdays April 22 and 29.
The April 22 speaker is Ron Clark, who has been called "America's Educator," and is the founder and mathematics teacher of The Ron Clark Academy. In 2000, he was named Disney's American Teacher of the Year. He is a New York Times bestselling author whose book "The Essential 55" has sold over 1 million copies and has been published in 25 different countries. He has been featured on The Today Show, CNN, and Oprah. His classes have been honored at the White House on three separate occasions, and his teaching experiences in New York City are the subject of the film, "The Ron Clark Story," starring Matthew Perry.
That film tells the story that started when Ron saw a TV show about low test scores and the lack of teachers in inner-city New York, packed his car and headed to Harlem. Ron prepared himself by visiting the home of each student before the first day of school. He then involved his students in projects around the city and state, and his "low achievers" soon began to excel. By the end of the year their scores were higher than the "gifted" classes in his district.
On April 29, David and Nic Sheff, father and son, have a dramatic story to tell. Theirs is a story of how a child's addiction transforms a family. They have written two memoirs with different perspectives, showing how a child's methamphetamine habit nearly destroyed a son and devastated his father. Both have appeared on numerous interview shows, including Oprah.
Nic Sheff is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic. Still in his early twenties, he continues to fight daily battles with his addictions. His writing has been published in Newsweek, Nerve, and the San Francisco Chronicle. Nic is the author of the young adult book "Tweak; Growing Up on Methamphetamines." The book is Nic's account of his descent in to the world of drugs, forever changing his life and the lives of those around him.
His father David's work has appeared in the New York Times, Outside, Rolling Stone, Wired, Fortune and elsewhere. He is the author of "All We Are Saying: The Last Major Interview with John Lennon and Yoko Ono." His piece for the New York Times Magazine, "My Addicted Son," led him to write his best selling memoir "Beautiful Boy: A Father's Journey Through His Son's Addiction." This look at his son's addiction, and comes from a completely different perspective than the book written by his son.
Diamond Sponsor for the Pillars of America Speaker Series is Alaska Peace Officers Association.
Platinum Sponsors are: Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, Baxter, Bruce & Sullivan, Wells Fargo Bank NA and Wells Fargo Home Mortgage.
The Pillars of America Speaker Series at takes place at Centennial Hall at 11 a.m. on April 22 and 29. Lunch is included. Tickets are $30 each and are available at Hearthside Books.