Maggie Ercolani, a bold, brave, wise student, debuts in the Pennsylvania Gazette

Friday, March 1, 2013

Okay, so call this a Beth loves her students blog-athon day, but I am not going to let the moon get any higher in tonight's sky without celebrating Maggie Ercolani, a student from two years ago, who has her first published piece in the current issue of the Pennsylvania Gazette. She joins my students Moira Moody, Joe Polin, and Nabil Mehta on these pages, and her story is a triumph—a telling triumph and a living triumph.

Let me explain.

Toward the end of this past summer I received an email from Maggie, who I knew, from an earlier exchange, had been looking forward to a summer internship at Macy's with Maggie-style enthusiasm. I saw her name in my in-box, opened her note, then recoiled. It wasn't the story I'd expected. Indeed, Maggie was writing to tell me that she had suffered a stroke in the first hour of the first day of that internship. That she had spent the summer in hospitals and rehab. That she had a new understanding of the father about whom she had written in my class—a father who had experienced a traumatic brain injury when he tumbled from a bike. Maggie wanted to write about what had happened so that she might understand. Would I help her? Of course I would. But oh, Maggie, I said. Oh. Maggie.

But the reason Maggie's piece is in the Gazette is because Trey Popp, an editor there, took Maggie's story on and worked with her to develop it more fully. They went back and forth, Trey and Maggie, until the piece is what it is today. I am so grateful to Trey, and I am so proud of Maggie—for her perseverance, for her attitude, for the textures in her life.

Please click on this link to read Maggie's story for yourself.


Joanne R. Fritz said...

What a deeply moving story this is! And Maggie was so young to have such a thing happen to her. I was 50 when my brain aneurysm ruptured and I was lucky enough to survive without the accompanying stroke that so many have.

But I can sympathize with so much of what she says. I didn't know what an aneurysm rupture was when it happened. My family and friends were what got me through my recuperation. And I definitely had a new outlook on life.

Thank you, Beth, for sharing your student's inspiring story.

Melissa Sarno said...

What a wonderful essay and an incredible story. Reaffirms my belief that you know only the most inspiring and courageous people. : )

Sarah Laurence said...

I'm sorry Maggie had to go through this, especially at such a young age. I'm impressed by both her positive attitude and her fine writing. She had a terrific teacher! Thanks for sharing this, Beth, and congratulations to Maggie on being published in the Gazette.

KFP said...

I wonder if The New York Times' "Lives" column takes reprints.

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