McMillan redux

Second time’s the charm: latest McMillan speaker looks forward to Monday’s rescheduled event.


Jessica Lahey will be visiting The Grosse Pointe Academy this coming Monday, May 22. It’s actually her second visit to the Academy because this award-winning author and educator’s first visit in early November of last year was interrupted by a power failure caused by a traffic accident involving a gravel hauler that brought down multiple power lines nearby at Fisher Road and Grosse Pointe Boulevard.

book_cvr_815pxLahey was originally scheduled November 7 as the speaker for the 2016 edition of the William Charles McMillan III Lecture Series. But because electrical power at the Academy and the surrounding neighborhood was out due to the accident and with no estimate of restoration by DTE, Lahey and school officials decided to postpone and reschedule for this Monday at 7 p.m.

“I am so looking forward to visiting again,” Lahey said. “I actually had a great time sitting in the dark last November, talking to people about the highlights of what I WOULD have said on stage. I found out that a number of people had driven a long way to get there that evening!”

In Monday’s event designed primarily for parents (and grandparents) of school-age children, Lahey, who is the author of the New York Times bestselling book, “The Gift of Failure: How the Best Parents Learn to Let Go So Their Children Can Succeed,” will offer parents, teachers, administrators, and guidance counselors practical advice for fostering intrinsic motivation and weaning kids off of extrinsic motivators such as short-term rewards, bribes, honors, coercion, and yes, even grades, while giving kids the support and encouragement they need in order to succeed.

lahey-new_feature_600pxLacey said that she still is on the road a lot speaking at schools and other institutions about her book and about her years of teaching elementary- and middle-school students.

“I am currently actively touring to support the book,” she said. “I’m actually booked through the end of the year and I’m also working on developing my next project —  something I will keep to myself for now.”

When she is not out on the speaking circuit or writing books, Lahey is busy as an English and writing teacher, correspondent for The Atlantic, commentator for Vermont Public Radio, and writes the “Parent-Teacher Conference” column for the New York Times. She earned a B.A. in comparative literature from the University of Massachusetts and a J.D. with a concentration in juvenile and education law from the University of North Carolina School of Law. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two sons.

Lahey adds that she’s got a pretty good idea of what’s next for her in terms of a new book, but “as my editor has not even seen the new proposal yet, I am keeping it quiet!”

She did say, however, say that an essay she wrote just came out today in “Creative Nonfiction” magazine (available here).

More on Lahey, including another interview she gave to the Academy late last year, is available here.

About the William Charles McMillan III Lecture Series
William Charles McMillan III was a student at The Grosse Pointe Academy from 1973 until 1981 where, receiving love and encouragement, he learned to reach beyond his limitations. Although weak physically, McMillan was intellectually gifted and his passion for life, his love and concern for all living things, and his enthusiastic use of verbal skills changed the lives of those who were closest to him and left a lasting impression on all with whom he came in contact. Never at a loss for words, McMillan was bursting with impressions, questions and insights which came pouring out in a dazzling, dizzying torrent. It was rare to have a brief, superficial conversation with McMillan. A friend commented, “I sometimes felt like I needed a seat belt when William was talking to me, because he would take us into outer space, back into primeval history, and then into a universe of his own imagining.

“McMillan believed that anyone could make a significant and lasting impact on the world no matter what one’s age, size or circumstance.”

The William Charles McMillan III Lecture Series focuses on elementary education and is dedicated to the proposition that every child can reach beyond his or her own limitation, that each child makes the world a better place. It is the goal of these lectures to take your mind where it has never been before.

More about The Grosse Pointe Academy and its academic offerings is here.

About The Grosse Pointe Academy
The Grosse Pointe Academy is an independent, coeducational day school serving children age 2-1/2 through Grade 8. We foster an inclusive environment that respects all cultures and religious beliefs. We seek to remain faithful to our heritage as a former Academy of the Sacred Heart and to those who through their Catholic faith and perseverance sought to preserve and enhance the legacy of this past for generations. Incorporated as a non-profit institution,  The Grosse Pointe Academy is directed by a Board of Trustees working together to serve the Southeastern Michigan community.