He Showed Me My Voice

[Editor’s Note: Asked to comment about her former teacher, Robert Lurie, for an article about him in MEA Voice magazine, Reilly wrote the following reply in response to the question how has Mr. Lurie influenced your life?]

By Reilly Farr
Waverly High School
Class of 2019

Where do I even begin with this? I’ll start with a little background on our relationship before I dive right in to his influence. I’ve known Mr. Lurie for five years, way before I had him as a teacher. He and I became acquainted first through a school study abroad program hosted by him and his Waverly High School counterpart, Todd Simon, and chaperoned by the social studies department. Later, I had him as a teacher for tenth-grade world history.

In my junior year, I came to Mr. Lurie with an idea provoked by the shooting in Parkland, Florida, at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School. I wanted to stage a walkout, peaceful protest, and memorial at my school in the wake of the shooting. I knew I could confide in Mr. Lurie with these ideas of social activism, and he encouraged me to use my voice to see the changes that I desired. Because of his guidance, I was able to successfully put my ideas into action and mobilize the students of Waverly High School. He encouraged me further, and a week later, in collaboration with a group of student leaders, he helped us facilitate a Town Hall Meeting that received news coverage.

The summer before my senior year, I embarked on another study abroad with Mr. Lurie. This trip was very special to me, as I had personal ties to WWII. Through the experiences we shared, especially in Normandy, I was able to mature as a world traveler and student outside a traditional classroom. During my senior, Mr. Lurie was my rock. He helped me win scholarships through letters of recommendation, intense writing sessions, and just sitting down to talk me through my plans for the near future.

Robert Lurie is one of the most wonderful, down-to-earth people I’ve ever met. I’m so thankful I’ve had the opportunity to know him and be mentored by him. He never gives himself the credit he deserves for all the hard work he puts into inspiring, assisting, and cultivating the potential of all of his students.

The most influential lesson and skill I’ve learned from Mr. Lurie is global competency. There is diversity, culture, opportunity, and excellence that exists all around; Mr. Lurie taught me to appreciate and explore what exists, here, now, and build relationships on the basis of growth, curiosity, and a mindset free of limitations. Attending the fifth most diverse school in the State of Michigan made it easy to practice this mentality of limitless opportunity. With global competency, I am able to problem-solve better and see more efficient and inclusive outcomes to virtually every aspect of my life.

With global competency comes opportunity and the hunger for education. Education is far more powerful than I ever imagined until I was meeting MSU MasterCard scholars on a regular basis from 10+ countries, meeting refugees with PhDs, migrant-workers-turned-doctors, Peace Corps representatives who could speak 3+ languages, etc. Mr. Lurie taught me to learn as much as I can about the things that matter: people, culture, ethics, history, world news, government, politics, but NEVER to dehumanize an issue with facts. Every cause, every human, every movement, every voice needs to be heard. Education gives us a way to humanize, mobilize, and congregate a great deal of people for some pretty amazing things.

Mr. Lurie showed me my voice.

[Reilly will be attending Michigan State University this fall. She plans to study Finance with a minor in International Business and Sports Business Management through the Residential Business Community and Eli Broad College of Business’s BASE program.]

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