Through the Education Lens

Want initiative and perseverance? Hire this kind of learner

CJ Westerberg, June 26, 2013 1:41 AM


"What started as a typical conversation
we have with the school students interested in writing a paper
became watching someone grow and develop over the years
into a top-line researcher."

Passion-Based Learning in Action

2 Minute - Video Below

An AMAZING story how a 7th grader was driven in pursuit of answers that sparked a learning journey outside of school that continued over the course of six years(!).  Relentless in his pursuit, Cam Perron's story was featured via Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel in the video below, "A teenager's campaign to discover the Negro League".  An excerpt from MLB:

That Perron, a 17-year-old high school senior from Arlington, Mass., spent a large chunk
of his childhood collecting baseball cards and trying to accumulate autographs doesn't distinguish him from the average young fan.

But his particular interest in the Negro Leagues -- the oft-overlooked chapter of the game's history -- certainly does.

Perron began writing to former big league ballplayers requesting autographs when he was in the seventh grade. He didn't target the superstars but rather the bit players who would show a genuine appreciation for the attention. And in 2007, when Topps released a set of cards that featured players from the alternative leagues where black players were relegated before Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in 1947, Perron started writing to those guys, too.

" . . . Revel estimates that Perron has discovered
more than 80 players who had league experience
that MLB would accept as criteria for a pension. "

Responses began to arrive. Some of them even included phone numbers. The players wanted to talk to the youngster, to see if he had any information about their old teammates.

"I wasn't able to offer them any information at all," Perron says. "I was like 13."

Perron came to realize something about the players they were asking about. Not only did they not have baseball cards of their own, but, in many cases, no almanac had ever chronicled their playing time and no researcher had ever unearthed their existence.

So Perron made a call to Dr. Layton Revel, the executive director of the Center for Negro League Baseball Research. In the 16 years since Revel founded the all-volunteer non-profit organization, it has located hundreds of players whose whereabouts were either unknown or undocumented. Perron wanted to assist in the search.

Revel gets calls all the time from people intrigued about the Negro Leagues, and many of them are kids writing a school paper. Perron's call, then, didn't strike him as strange. Revel informed him of some resources for locating ballplayers, and that was that.

"But he called back again," Revel says, "and the more we talked, the more we found this young man is interested not only in the history of Negro League baseball but the ballplayers themselves. What started as a typical conversation we have with the school students interested in writing a paper became watching someone grow and develop over the years into a top-line researcher."


Related The Daily Riff:
Would You Hire Your Own Kids?  7 Skills We Should Be Teaching
Them by Tony Wagner

I Can Write a 20-page Research Paper and My Roommate Can't

How 7 Skills of Baseball Can Change the Way Teachers Teach (and Students Learn) featuring Dr. David Perkins

Leaving to Learn: The Book to Read this Summer - Getting Out of the School Silo

Passion-Based Learned vs. High School Boredom

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