Tampa Preparatory School Welcomes Accomplished Author Ben Montgomery

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Pulitzer Prize Finalist and Author Spends the Day with Students and Holds a Public Evening Session

"We are so excited to have a journalist with Ben's experience and background come speak to our community. Because of his work at the Poynter Institute, I am sure his writing workshops will be extremely beneficial to our students."

Tampa Preparatory School is excited to welcome Tampa Bay Times reporter, Pulitzer Prize finalist, and author Ben Montgomery to Tampa Prep on Wednesday, September 24. Over the summer, students in the Upper School read Montgomery’s book, Grandma Gatewood’s Walk. He will be speaking to the entire Upper School in the morning, leading writing workshops for the ninth and twelfth grades, and will hold an evening session and book signing with Inkwood Books in Tampa Prep’s Peifer Library at 7:00 p.m. that is open to the public.

English teachers chose this book for students to read over the summer because of the experiential education ideals that it shares with the Tampa Prep curriculum and the connection to the Tampa Prep mission of “Going Beyond.” English department chair Stephanie Cardillo says, "We are so excited to have a journalist with Ben's experience and background come speak to our community. Because of his work at the Poynter Institute, I am sure his writing workshops will be extremely beneficial to our students." In Grandma Gatewood’s Walk, Emma Gatewood leaves her family and Ohio hometown behind to fulfill a life long dream of walking the entire 2,050 miles of the Appalachian Trail alone. Once completed, Grandma Gatewood became the first woman to hike the entire Trail alone, as well as the first person ever to hike it three times. This is a story of determination and perseverance, as well as recognizing the importance of preserving the outdoors.

Through literature, students are exposed to inspiring figures in history that are not typically studied in school. Tampa Prep’s faculty felt that the story of Emma Gatewood was important for students to learn about and recognize the impact she made for the Appalachian Trail. At the beginning of junior year, students hike and camp in the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina and experience lessons and realizations similar to what Grandma (Emma) Gatewood’s endures while hiking the Appalachian Trail.

During the class discussions about the book, students remarked how the book made them think about perseverance and the value of tenacity. Grandma Gatewood’s Walk has quickly been incorporated into the curriculum by student-led discussions based on questions provided specifically for Tampa Prep students by Montgomery.

Tampa Prep students will have the rare opportunity to attend a writing workshop with a Pulitzer Prize finalist involved in the Poynter Institute. Ben Montgomery was a Pulitzer Prize finalist for his local reporting with the Tampa Bay Times and was awarded the Dart Award and Casey Medal for his series, “For Their Own Good.” Montgomery will review their writing and give students feedback. This is a unique opportunity for the Upper School students to have time in a small group to learn from such an accomplished author. Each year, Tampa Prep invites authors to the school to speak to students and hold seminars to provide feedback on students’ writing.

The School, along with Inkwood Books, is happy to share this opportunity to hear from the author with the Tampa Bay Community. The evening event takes place on Wednesday, September 24 at 7 p.m. in the Peifer Library (3rd floor) at Tampa Preparatory School. All are welcome and there is no reservation necessary.

About Tampa Prep
Tampa Preparatory School is leading the way in education with our focus on what's best for students. Our independent, coeducational college prep school enrolls more than 600 students in grades 6 - 12. For 40 years, our educational philosophy has instilled values of fairness, decency, honor, diligence and academic curiosity. Students receive unparalleled instruction from caring teachers at the school’s 150,000 square-foot complex located in the heart of downtown Tampa. Our vibrant school community offers a “preparation for life with a higher purpose than self” as students and faculty live our mission as a place to think, create, aspire to excellence and go beyond. Find out more at http://www.tampaprep.org.

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Katie Hehn
Tampa Preparatory School
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