Some of you might know me from a couple of years back when I used to write for this column. I’m back again, this time as a senior and guest editor. This week, the sophomores discuss their feelings about a book they just read: Three Cups of Tea. In the book Greg Mortenson tries to climb K2 and doesn’t succeed. On his way down he gets lost and stumbles into a very poor village in Pakistan. The people there take him in and help him. In return, he promises to build them a school after seeing the village kids teaching themselves by writing in the dirt with sticks. He is able to raise enough money to build these poor kids a school; the message he gives them is one of hope.

The sophomores describe how reading the book changed their opinions about school here. Many speak about how school is taken for granted and how the lives of American people and the lives of people in the developing world differ. I agree that education in America is taken for granted while in poorer countries people suffer harsh effects from a lack of education. The opportunities given to Americans seem outlandish to people who are on the outside looking in, and after reading this book, I think the sophomores gained a new understanding of why.

— Troy Small

Thoughts About School


My school life compared to the school life of a Pakistani child is very different in so many ways. For one, there are a lot more teachers in my school, and I can study in a warm house with plenty of light. A Pakistani child might not even be able to study at night because there is no light. To me school means I have to wake up early every morning and sit in a classroom and be bored to tears, but for a Pakistani child school is a shot at hope, and a successful life. I think it means a lot more to a child living in Pakistan because here in the U.S. every child must go to school and we look at it as if we are imprisoned, but that’s because we have never had school taken away from us.

A Promise to Rely On


Those poor kids in Pakistan didn’t have a school and they had to write in the dirt with sticks to learn. Then Greg Mortenson comes along and promises to build them a new school. Can you imagine how these children felt, and what it meant for them to hear someone say this. This promise gave the children hope for a safe environment for learning and seeing friends. It gave them a person to rely on. Kids here say that they hate school and they can’t wait until they don’t have to come. I bet children in Pakistan love getting up and going to school every day. It’s probably one of their favorite places.

Lessons for Life


To get out of poverty you have to be smart and go to school. That will be your ticket out. I think the most important lesson is to take full advantage of what we take for granted and learn. Education can give all people, not only those in poor countries, a chance of hope. We have it so much better than these kids in Pakistan. We just take it all for granted.

Symbol of Hope


While I was in school complaining about too much homework, there were children standing outside in the cold trying to teach themselves. I really enjoyed reading this book. It made me think about people my own age without a school. A school is a symbol of hope, and if you have hope you can do anything.

Be What You Want


I believe one of the main messages of this book is education means hope. I mean hope for the future or hope for yourself. I learned from this book that you can start from nothing and end up being everything you want to be. The smart Pakistani girl who Greg made the promise to was a poor child. She wanted to be a doctor knowing that it would take effort and hard work. Greg helped her after she stood up for herself: another lesson taught by this book.



I have taken a lot from this book. I believe the most important lesson I learned is to have patience in life. The chiefs of the village in Korphe told Greg to have patience and let things work out on their own because if you’re impatient then pressure gets put on other people to get things done. He said that Americans aren’t patient. They try to hurry everything they do. The people of Korphe were willing to wait for their school because they needed the bridge to be built first. They sacrificed their school a little bit longer to build this necessity. I truly admire their patience. I will try to have patience when obstacles come my way.



Although sometimes I may catch myself complaining about my life, possibly my house, family, school, sports, friends and so on, the issues that bug me for maybe 10 minutes or perhaps even a day are nothing compared to those facing larger, more difficult issues. I am so thankful for the roof above my head.   Sometimes I may feel selfish or privileged simultaneously, but I know that I am appreciative now.

Teach a Man to Fish


Greg Mortenson’s idea is teach a man to fish, don’t give him a fish. Rather than giving the children things which will eventually wear out, Greg gives them a school. I agree with Greg here. A school is one of the most important parts of any community. It shapes the minds of the young who will eventually become the old. The lives of these children are so unbelievably hard that it is hard to even imagine. School means everything to a Pakistani child because it means a successful life. We should all learn from that.  I for one plan to take my education far more seriously!

Failure Can Mean Success


Greg was not a rich person, but he still raised about $30,000. He sent out 600 e-mails and only got one response. I learned that from failing you can be very successful. He failed to climb K2 and even though he got lost, he built a school and a bridge for Krophe, a town that could not afford a teacher. In Pakistan they take school so seriously they can run a class without a teacher, which is impossible to imagine in America.

Teach What You Know


Teach others what you know. Greg had an education. He knew how to read and write and he taught other people who didn’t. By doing that he made a difference in their lives. If everyone did that, we wouldn’t have people in this world without knowledge of things or without education.