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Students Recognize Those Who Have Positively Impacted Their Life


April 17, 2018 — enthusiasm in the classroom, but for his unique approach to history. “Brad doesn’t treat history as a linear timeline of events. His students study the context of history, the humanity and the ‘what ifs.’ Students examine a subject from every angle and step into the shoes of people with varying beliefs to better understand different perspectives,” notes Senior High Assistant Principal Todd Bohm. “In doing so, he does his best to expand the mind of his students — getting them to consider their place in the world and how they can make it better. He doesn't simply teach history — he inspires students to make a positive impact despite what differences they may have.”

Three years ago, Mr. Seeley launched DCETalks — an evening in which students showcase their year-long Genius Projects. The event, inspired by TED Talks, focuses on each student’s unique personal perspective and challenges them to see history through a different lens. Last year, he initiated the DCE ONE project, designed to raise awareness about the power of diversity when people unite around a common cause and their community.

This year, Mr. Seeley’s Advanced Placement United States History and Comparative Politics students took part in his latest project — DCE Inspires. Students in Mr. Seeley’s classroom have often heard him cite the following: To be inspired is great, to inspire is incredible. “Every one of us has a person in our life who has had a positive impact on us – who has helped make us who we are by encouraging and challenging us, “ states Mr. Seeley. “I started DCE Inspires to recognize the power of inspiration and emphasize the important role we can play in one another’s lives.”

To that end, Mr. Seeley provided each student with a Token of Inspiration and gave students two weeks to choose someone to give the token to. When students presented the token, they had to explain to the recipient why they were receiving it. The results were powerful.

Ella Humblet, a DCE junior, gave her Token of Inspiration to her mother Marta who is a Nurse Practitioner. “She works so hard every day and she works for the VA, so she helps a lot of people,” adds Ms. Humblet. “It’s inspiring that she managed to go back to school and get two more degrees while working and raising two kids, as well as healing people.” The project, she notes, taught her that, “you should never underestimate your power to make an impact on others.”

DCE student Anika Lewis placed her Token of Inspiration on the grave of her grandmother, who passed away four years ago. “She was the strongest person I know. She fought cancer five times and beat it four times. Her strength reminds me to keep pushing. If she could battle while sick for so many years and keep a smile on her face, I can fight through my days too,” She concluded, “I learned that the inspiration of a person will never fade, even if a person dies.”

Ann Mayer received a Token of Inspiration from her niece Emma Van Ermen. The gesture “truly made my day and week. In a world where we don’t always focus on others, this was a one-of-a-kind project that truly inspired me to want to pass the message onto someone else and make their day.” She concluded with a thank you for Mr. Seeley — “Thank you so much for the work you do to encourage and inspire your students to be better and make a difference in other people’s lives.”

To commemorate the project, DCE students YeFang Lee and Lily Thao created a video that captured the project and its impact. The video can be viewed at:

Each of Mr. Seeley’s projects was funded by the D.C. Everest Area Education, a non-profit organization that provides financial support for innovative educational programs or creative projects that inspire both teachers and students to achieve excellence.

Photo courtesy: Brad Seeley

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