Friday, May 27, 2016

People Fought For This



I recently read about a man who teaches children under a bridge in New Delhi. Rajesh Kumar Sharma couldn’t afford to finish his last year of college. That didn’t stop him from reaching out to the parents in an impoverished neighborhood and offering to teach their children – for free – a few hours every day.

“Knowledge increases when it is shared,” says Sharma.

My own path of education has been a bit unique. As a child I experienced attending public, private, and home schools. Every method is different in their own ways but the key things stay the same. Math, science, history, and lots of books. I learned there was something exciting and interesting about each subject if I approach it with an open mind. Though I wasn’t able to finish college the first time, I filled my homes with books and continued to learn about the things that interested me.

Education is as good as the effort you put into it. From being in a classroom or at home with a pile of library books, to having school under a bridge; it’s all learning and new growth.

We’re fortunate in the U.S. that “a free and appropriate education” is available to all school-aged children. Tennessee’s latest initiatives make going to college (or back to college) more available than ever.

This Memorial Day it’s appropriate to remember that many people fought in many different ways to make the U.S. a place where education is valued and encouraged. Knowledge is freedom. We honor their efforts and their lives with our own lives when we grab hold of the things they fought for. Never stop learning.


Gaynell Buffinet Payne is a writer, single mother, and student at Volunteer State Community College.

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