Leah Apple, my beautiful student, shares her dance as a Fulbright Scholar on the island of Kinmen

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The great privilege of teaching extraordinary students is that the semester of writing, reflection, and talk marks only the start of an involving conversation.

Last evening, Leah Apple, the hip-hop dancing Fulbright winner who enrolled in my second nonfiction class at Penn and whom you met here in a Philadelphia Inquirer story, came for dinner, bringing with her tales of her time in Kinmen, near the People's Republic of China. In a remote niche of that island, Leah met and taught English to children with whom she soon fell in love. Inevitably, they fell in love with her. Dance, "the universal language," became core to Leah's curriculum as she and her fellow Fulbright scholars prepared the children for a first-ever island flash mob.

This short film, shot and produced by Leah's friend Jonah Stern, tells the story of remote classrooms, willing children, and a young woman with a boundless soul.


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