Acclaimed Journalist Clarence Page Might Not Be Writing Were It Not For This Teacher (actually two teachers)

Inscription in Page's Yearbook

Clarence Page has been writing for the Chicago Tribune for over 50 years and has been the recipient of numerous journalism awards. Now a columnist, he says his job is to explain, not just report the news. "Our own country is more complicated for the average person, and that's probably because communication is so much better. You learn about so many different crises going on here and there with a level of immediacy and contact that we didn't have before. So I feel like my mission is more important now than it ever was."

It's quite possible that Page would have devoted his career to something else, perhaps being an astrophysicist, if he had not been inspired by his high school journalism teacher, Mary Kindell. "I learned everything from her...People ask, where did you learn journalism? I said, well, mainly [writing for] my high school newspaper," Page says. So confident was Mrs. Kindell that Page would be a successful writer, she left a note in his high school yearbook asking that he remember her when he won his first Pulitzer Prize. 

But Page had another influential teacher in his life - his grandmother. Reflecting on the divisive nature of today's political climate, Page said, "My grandmother always said that, remember wherever you go, your people enter with you...In other words, you're representing, whenever people look at you, you're representing black folk one way or the other...either positively or negatively. You represent your people and you put that knowledge in my head and other folks' heads. But she also taught me not to be resentful about things that don't go your way because you're going to get a lot farther with a happy attitude than you will with a bitter and depressed one. Those little non-academic, but very real life lessons were what she was really good for. I carry that with me today."

Listen to Teacher Stories on Apple PodcastsListen to Teacher Stories on Google Podcasts