On Monday, February
5, 2007 eleven members of the club spent a lovely evening out. First, we ate at the Long Life Veggi House in Berkeley. Sharing
all the dishes by way of a big round Lazy Susan, we all agreed the eggplant dish and the mixed nuts dish - both in garlic
sauce - were the best of the evening.
Then we drove a
few blocks away to the First Congregational Church of Berkeley. There a most exceptional teacher and fourteen of his students
us for more than an hour.
Rafe Esquith has taught at Hobart Elementary in Los Angeles for twenty-two years in an inner city neighborhood plagued by guns, gangs, and drugs.
But in his special classroom known as Room 56, first generation immigrant children who live in poverty and speak English as
a second language play flawless renditions of Vivaldi, perform unabridged plays by Shakespeare, score in the top 1 percent
on national standardized tests, and go on to attend Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and other major universities. The students did
a series of speeches and sketches mixed with music, and bits from Henry V, The Taming of the Shrew, Hamlet,
and The Tempest.
of us purchased Rafe’s new book, Teach Like Your Hair’s on Fire. We shook his hand and chatted with a
very warm Rafe Esquith as he autographed our copies.
Rossmoor Shakespeare Society has screened the excellent film “The Hobart Shakespeareans” twice and will show it
again some time in the future.