Education

Millburn's First Community Big Read Goes Off Without a Hitch

9cbbc487116963c7c27e_Screen_Shot_2013-02-07_at_6.51.28_PM.png
The book that gave the Lacks family the fame they deserved, titled The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot Credits: rebeccaskloot.com
b1efb2a25dbfaff9d338_Screen_Shot_2013-02-06_at_11.49.02_PM_copy.png
The set up of the assembly, which includes a panel of MHS seniors. Justin Dower, Julia Fine, Teddy Moskowitz Credits: Max Retik
9dc39c9457088854c8bd_Screen_Shot_2013-02-07_at_6.53.07_PM.png
Posters of Henrietta's life achievements that are on almost every wall in MHS Credits: Max Sauberman
2f8b2c5754425d316de3_Screen_Shot_2013-02-06_at_11.47.25_PM.png
Henrietta's son and grandson. David "Sonny" Lacks (right) and his son David Lacks (left) Credits: Max Retik
74f3fa5c2604576f79c0_Screen_Shot_2013-02-07_at_6.52.01_PM.png
The author of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Rebecca Skloot Credits: www.rainydaybooks.com
f9a74a99eb081762076a_Screen_Shot_2013-02-06_at_11.48.24_PM_copy.png
The father-son duo signing books for lucky fans of their mother Credits: Max Retik
59f45dc8c7bec88810c7_Screen_Shot_2013-02-06_at_11.47.06_PM.png
The leaders of the assembly talk to the students as they present information about their mother's life Credits: Max Retik
f3fa3a1dbadad47191d0_Screen_Shot_2013-02-06_at_11.48.04_PM.png
David Lacks (left) and his father, David "Sonny" Lacks Credits: Max Retik
9cbbc487116963c7c27e_Screen_Shot_2013-02-07_at_6.51.28_PM.png

MILLBURN NJ - Millburn High School students, mostly sophomores and freshman, were in for a treat early Tuesday morning when they gathered among faculty and community members for Millburn’s first “Big Read.”

Headed by the school’s English chair, Jessica Siegel, the assembly brought further insight into a Baltimore family that has become known for their influence in modern science history.

Last summer, students, teachers, and Millburn residents were asked to read "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks," by Rebecca Skloot. This nonfiction book is about Henrietta Lacks, known for her contribution to science. Scientists were able to duplicate her immortal HeLa cells, which were discovered during her treatment for cervical cancer.  These HeLa cells are substantial because they can never die and have brought great contributions to modern research, like the discovery of the polio vaccine and advacements in cancer research. There was some controversy related to Lacks’ contribution since the scientists used the cells without her permission. 

Sign Up for E-News

Due to the book's ability to tie together science, English, history, and ethical issues, "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" was praised by many as a great selection by the MHS English department.

The assembly was comprised of a picture slide show and a question and answer formatted panel made up of MHS seniors with a passion for journalism. The two guests were David (Sonny) Lacks, the son of the late Henrietta Lacks, and Henrietta’s grandson, David Lacks. The Lacks son and grandson, enlightened the crowd with light humor, stories from their past, and described how HeLa cells have contributed to scientific inquiry. They also recounted how Lacks’ story ignited debate on the controversial issues of using cells without a patient’s permission.

The moderators of the panel were MHS students Justin Dower, Julia Fine, and Theodore Moskowitz, who are prospective journalists after they move on from MHS next year. The questions and comments they read to the assembly were contributed by students of all ages from middle school to high school. One comment that raised awareness of HeLa cells’ fascinating contributions came from a Millburn Middle School 7th grader and read:

”Thank you. My brother, at a very young age suffered from cancer. Thankfully, our hospital was blessed with skilled doctors and effective medicine. After I read the book this summer, my mother explained to me that it was your mother’s cells that were used in the creation of the medicines that saved my brother’s life.”

This quote, read by Teddy Moskowitz to Henrietta’s family members, filled the assembly with emotion and brought joy to the hearts of all of the audience members. A question to Henrietta’s son, Sonny, was asked by Julia Fine, “Would you donate cells to scientific research if you were asked?” Sonny Lacks responded enthusiastically about the great contributions that his mother’s cells have made in science and went on to say that he would donate his cells because of all of the inspiring stories he has heard over the years of people benefitting from donated cells.

Siegel went on to emphasize the fact that this assembly would not be possible without the generous donations from the Ed Foundation and the PTO. When asked about the success of Millburn’s first Big Read, Siegel mentioned that there was such great support for this first community Big Read and that there are plans to implement it in upcoming years. Siegel also talked about how Big Reads in other communities and college campuses have succeeded in getting more people involved in reading and discussing imprortant books.

The Big Read that took place Tuesday was rescheduled from November 1, 2012, due to Hurricane Sandy. Luckily, the bad weather could not discourage eager students, faculty, and community members from packinginto the high school auditorium for the spectacular seminar and PowerPoint. The assembly was so popular that some students were left watching from the cafeteria, but Sonny and David Lacks’ words were educational and inspirational no matter from where they were heard.

 

- Aaron Friedman is a sophomore at Millburn High School

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Millburn/Short Hills

Millburn Recreation Accepting Memberships for Pool, Tennis and Golf

February 19, 2018

MILLBURN, NJ - The Millburn Township Recreation Department announced that it is accepting memberships for the township pool, tennis and golf facilities. The memberships are available to all Millburn Township residents and the applications are available online.

The membership application can be accessed at http://www.twp.millburn.nj.us/DocumentCenter/View/3258 or go ...

Millburn Police Investigate Theft by Nordstrom Employee

February 14, 2018

Press Release February 13, 2018

 

On February 6, 2018 Millburn Police Officer Royce stopped a 2009 Jaguar XKR as it exited the mall for having no front plate. The investigation led to the arrest of 50 year old Christopher Garibian of Morristown on an outstanding traffic warrant out of Morris Township. Mr. Garibian was placed under arrest, issued summonses, and released after posting ...

AtlantiCast

AtlantiCast: Episode 12

On this week’s episode of AtlantiCast, decade of excellence makes headlines, as Atlantic Health’s place on Fortune Magazine’s 100 Best Companies to Work For List leads off the newest episode of AtlantiCast. Also on this week’s show, check out the newest “hybrid” operating room at Morristown Medical Center and find out how Atlantic Health is helping local ...

Upcoming Events

Carousel_image_4f8324cc0a175d48b73e_bbc4a05ee6841cf55043_martamcdowell-photo-by-marco-ricca

Sun, February 25, 2:00 PM

Greenwood Gardens, Short Hills

All the Presidents’ Gardens Talk & Book Signing ...

Home & Garden

Carousel_image_61e402c79011d14d92ba_b01211242c63812560cd_networking

Tue, February 27, 8:15 AM

Congregation Bnai Israel, Millburn

JBN Presents: Women's Networking in Millburn

Business & Finance

Carousel_image_5718d79858b08ed16e52_stjameswhiskeydinner-1-1170x1170

Tue, February 27, 7:00 PM

St. James's Gate, Maplewood

Tullamore Dew Whiskey Dinner at St. James's Gate ...

Arts & Entertainment Food & Drink

Carousel_image_2b65b530dfe85c389ae4_47bcc810ef0c96e97e3c_27867699_10155349497090098_7089996638504005701_n

Sat, March 3, 7:00 PM

Congregation Beth Hatikvah, Summit

It's a Muppet Purim!

Arts & Entertainment

Millburn Recreation 2018 Spring/Summer Program Registration Now Open

February 24, 2018

The Millburn Recreation Department is currently accepting registration for their Spring/Summer programs and SUmmer Camps.  e sure to register your child as soon as possible because space in all programs is limited.

Please see our website at http://www.twp.millburn.nj.us/Recreation for more information, or you can visit our documents page with all of our registration forms ...

Tullamore Dew Whiskey Dinner at St. James's Gate in Maplewood on Feb. 27

Join Tullamore Dew and St. James's Gate for a 5 course whiskey dinner on Tuesday, Feb. 27, at 7 p.m.

5 courses with 5 whiskies.

The menu is as follows:

Sea Urchin 2 ways
Scallop crudo in shell
Whiskey injected oysters
Squid ink gnocchi, head on prawn and kobe beef
Whiskey creme Anglaise filled chocolate dipped ricotta doughnut

Call 973-378-2222 to reserve your ...

Millburn Township Announces NJLM Louis Bay 2nd Future Municipal Leaders Scholarship Competition

Millburn Township Mayor Cheryl H. Burstein is proud to announce the NJLM Louis Bay 2nd Future Municipal Leaders Scholarship Competition for high school juniors and seniors planning to continue their education after high school. Three state winners will receive a $1,000 scholarship and their essays will be featured in the New Jersey League of Municipalities magazine. We are inviting all Millburn ...