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David Bruce: The Funniest People in Families — Education


• When Ralph Bunche was very young, his mother told him, “My boy, don’t ever let anything take away your hope and faith and dreams.” After his mother died, Ralph attended high school, but despite high grades, he was kept out of the city-wide honor society known as the Ephebian Society simply because he was black. He thought about quitting school, but then he remembered what his mother had told him and so he stayed in school. In 1922, he became valedictorian of his high school. In 1934, he earned a Ph.D. in political science and international relations from Harvard University. In 1950, because of his work with the United Nations, he became the first African American to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

• World-class women’s gymnastics coach Bela Karolyi was born in Romania and so after he defected to the United States he did not know English well. One day, Andrea, his daughter, came home from school and requested help with an assignment: to make a New Year’s resolution. Bela was outraged, screaming, “No revolution, no revolution in my house. Absolutely no revolution.” His wife, Marta, came home later and asked why Bela wasn’t helping their daughter. Bela replied, “Marta, her teacher wants us to help her start a revolution. I won’t be a part of that!” Fortunately, his wife was able to explain the homework assignment to him

• When Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli (who was later to be Pope John XXIII) was a child, he became lazy in his studies, so his parents gave him a letter and sent him to give it to a local priest. Angelo was suspicious about the letter’s contents, so he opened it and read it. After reading that the letter told the priest to give him a good scolding for not studying harder, Angelo tore up the letter and threw it away. (Despite not being scolded by the priest, Angelo did thereafter pay more attention to his studies.)

• A young man, the son of a preacher, attended a Bible college. Coming home for the weekend, he decided to do his Bible study homework while sitting in church as his father preached. Later, his father asked what he had been doing. The young man confessed that he had been doing his homework, and his father asked, “Don’t you think you should be listening to the sermon?” Today, the young man says that he is the only person ever to get in trouble for studying the Bible in church.

• One day, an elderly couple met the president of Harvard. They told him that they would like to know more about Harvard before making a contribution in memory of their son, who had been killed in war. However, the elderly couple was plainly dressed and the president of Harvard quickly brushed them off. So the elderly couple went to northern California and used their money to establish Stanford University, in memory of Leland Stanford, their son.

• In 1958, Suzanne Farrell — at that time she was a very young Cincinnati, Ohio, dance student whose real name was Roberta Ficker — learned that the famous New York City Ballet was performing in Bloomington, Indiana. Her mother supported her daughter’s dance ambitions, and so she wrote a note to excuse her daughter’s absence (because of illness, she wrote) and they took a day off to enjoy the dance performance.

• A little girl went to kindergarten for the first time with her mother walking her the short distance to school. After her mother had left, the little girl needed to go to the bathroom, so her teacher said she could leave the classroom. The little girl then walked home, where she went to the bathroom. Later, the little girl was surprised to learn that there were bathrooms at school, just like there were at home.

• A cat walked into an elementary school classroom, where the young students immediately gathered around it, fed it milk, and tried to guess its sex. A little girl said, “I know how we can tell its sex.” Her teacher wasn’t especially thrilled to hear this, and she was relieved when the little girl continued, “We can vote on it.”

• English schoolboys sometimes make a lot of noise when applauding, including stomping with their feet. Whenever his schoolboys stomped, Frederick Andrews, the headmaster of Ackworth, would tell them, “I like you to applaud with all your hearts, but not with all your soles.”


Copyright by Bruce D. Bruce; All Rights Reserved


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