Friday, May 04, 2007

Will Okun Wins Trip to Africa with Nicholas Kristof
Will Okun, my son, recently won a national NY Times essay contest, Win-a-Trip. He was one of two finalists, along with Leana Wen, among over a thousand entrants. Will and Leana will travel with Nicholas Kristof this June to Rwanda, Burundi, and East Congo. During his trip, Will will
take photographs and create a blog to record his impressions, which will be posted on the the NY Times website.

Will teaches at the Westside Alternative High School in Chicago. He has a comprehensive website of photographs (, where he has recorded images and events of the lives of his students, in addition to many other topics.

In his essay, Will describes his views, hopes, experiences and dreams of being a teacher. A video tells in more details his philosophy as a teacher and how he utilizes photography to help his students see their own beauty and value, that of others, and of areas of Chicago which are free to the public and easily accessible to them.

I am very proud of my son and wish him a wonderful trip - more info to come. Will is a fine young man and I'm so glad to see him so honored and given this opportunity to travel to Africa.


At 11:45 AM, Blogger Peggy Bentley said...

Dear Melva: We met at Marley's jewelry party last Spring, my friend Salli introduced us.

We are planning to invite Will to give at talk on his adventure with Nick Kristof, hopefully sometime in the Fall.

You have every reason to be very proud!

Peggy Bentley
Associate Dean for Global Health


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