50 minutes | Jan 14, 2021

Craig Bowman

I'm super excited to share with you an interview I had with my 7th grade English teacher Mr. Craig Bowman. This was recorded in during the 2020 lockdown, and unfortunately, I found out that in late October 2020, Craig had passed away from a stroke in Denver, Colorado.  He also inspired me in a chapter of "Sweet Success". Mr. Bowman shares with us his growing up as an orphan raised by Catholic nuns who gave him an appreciation for classical learning, an old-time respect for others, a belief in living your potential, a love of the Catholic faith, and a foundation of the teacher as servant. In the classroom, he made middle-class suburban kids stand when an adult entered the classroom, we had to diagram sentences and memorize lists of prepositions. We stood in front of the classroom and recited from memory Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot, Abraham Lincoln’s “Gettysburg Address,” and even selections from the King James Bible. Though the public school would never agree to teaching the Bible, Mr. Bowman sneered at this because the King James was some of the greatest English literature, regardless of anyone’s religious beliefs—good writing trumped dogma. Long before Black Lives Matter, Mr. Bowman  was teaching us the importance of meritocracy and reaching our potential regardless of race, creed, color, religion, or sexual persuasion--you were born with a gift to give to the world and you need to live up to that gift.  On the first day of class, Mr. Bowman wrote his home phone number on the board and encouraged us to call him if we needed to talk. Not only me, but also several students used his phone number over the years if there were problems or challenges. We had three suicides in our school that year, but as a teacher as servant, he was there for us and told us, “He loved us.” Mr. Bowman related to us, but never stopped being  what he proudly called, a "teacher servant." He loved the children and wanted us to learn and challenged us to grow. He believed that the teacher as servant served the children and parents and probably, for him, it also served God. All this he taught, but also he was a model of the proper behavior, responsibility, and duty of an adult. Mr. Bowman was a humanist who embodied the importance of the human and shared that with his students and it became something that we could incorporate into our entire lives. He has had a great impact on many people's lives and I'm glad to celebrate him here with you. Enjoy. 
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