Author David Good recently paid a virtual visit to a Humanities class at Westfield High School to explore themes of culture and identity.

Good is the author of “The Way Around: Finding My Mother and Myself Among the Yanomami” and the son of an American anthropologist and a tribeswoman from a distant part of the Amazon. He spoke to the students about his own self-discovery as he reunited with his mother and her remote tribe in the Amazonian jungle 20 years after she left New Jersey and the family because she could not fully adapt to the Western lifestyle.

“We are very fortunate to have established this relationship with David Good. He has been a visiting guest speaker for many years. Students always find his story engaging and interesting,” said K-12 Supervisor of Social Studies Andrea Brennan.

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“David spoke eloquently to a group of 9th grade Humanities students about his lived experience growing up as a product of two very different cultures. David linked major course themes to his personal story, and in doing so truly brought history to life. Students could see how struggling to develop a sense of self is a common experience. A powerful part of David’s message is the joy he experienced when he recognized his authentic self and learned to celebrate, not hide, his cultural roots.”

Westfield HIgh School Humanities teacher Kimberly Leegan said that she hopes her students, after hearing Good’s story, “will become inspired to not only embrace all parts of their own identity but to expand their cultural competency and learn all they can about the indigenous peoples of our world.” 

“We love having David Good in to speak to our class because while his story is certainly unique — a man from New Jersey discovering his Yanomami roots — it is also a universal one,” said Leegan, who thanked the Westfield Education Association for sponsoring Good’s virtual visit.  “His story reminds us of the power that comes with discovering our identity and the common humanity that binds us all.”