One name, two starkly different lives - that's the real-life scenario at the heart of author Wes Moore's new book, which explores how his life diverged from that of another boy with the same name who grew up in the same inner city Baltimore neighborhood. While the book's author went to Johns Hopkins University, won a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford and served in Afghanistan as an Army Reservist, the "other" Wes Moore is spending the rest of his life in prison after dealing drugs and shooting a police officer.
Both Wes Moores were raised by single mothers and faced the similar challenges as youngsters - poor performance in school and run-ins with the law. But the author's mother decided to send him away to a military academy and expected him to do well, while the "other" Wes Moore had little expected of him and turned to a life on the streets.
The author hopes his book can be "a call to action for every community, for every environment, both rural and urban, because the fact is, there are Wes Moores in every community in this country."
"How did this happen, where you had two kids, who came up in similar neighborhoods, who were around the same age, who both came up in single-parent households, who both had trouble with school and trouble with the law growing up? How did it happen that we end up on two completely different paths?" - Wes Moore, author
"I think the thing that can give people hope is, when they are able to see these stories, they're able to see just how blurry at times that line is between the people that we will look to and admire, and the people who we admonish and push off to the side." - Wes Moore, author
1. What challenges do students in inner city schools often face?
2. Why do young people sometimes turn to crime and other illegal activities? What pushes them in that direction?
3. What do most of your peers do after high school?
1. What do you think about the author's statement that "if people expect you to do well in school, you will do well in school. And if people expect you to graduate, then you will graduate. And if people expect you to be on the corner selling drugs, then that's what you will do as well"? Do you think that's true? Why or why not?
2. What kinds of expectations have been set out for you by your parents, your teachers and your peers? Do you think you will meet them?
3. What factors do you think have played the biggest role in determining who you are today and who you want to become?
NewsHour Poetry Series:
Student Voice: College Goals Change Everything: