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Class of 2020 First-Year Read

The selection for the fall 2016 First-Year Read is Positive: Surviving My Bullies, Finding Hope, and Living to Change the World by Paige Rawl with Ali Benjamin. Providing a valuable insight into the anti-bullying movement, Rawl recounts her experiences living with HIV from birth and the catastrophic consequences of confiding her HIV status to her best friend in middle school. Almost instantly the word spread and Rawl faced years of being ostracized and victimized by her peers, while cries for help were ignored by the school administration. When the bullying became unbearable, she contemplated suicide. Rawl regained control of her life by taking action and fighting cruelty with compassion. Today she is a college student majoring in entrepreneurship and business, a Red Cross HIV/AIDS educator and publicly advocates for an end to bullying.

First-Year Student Involvement

After downloading the book onto their Hood iPads to read over the summer, incoming first-year students meet in small groups during fall orientation to discuss the themes, issues and conflicts that are raised by Positive. Specially trained Hood faculty, staff and students co-facilitate these discussions. These meetings are followed by a session in which students write an essay about the book as their first freshman assignment.

All Hood students are invited to attend First-Year Read special activities scheduled during the fall semester and to weigh in with their opinions about the book on Facebook. The program culminates with Rawl’s visit to our campus on Oct. 19, when first-year students will have a special opportunity to meet with the author during the day. Later that evening at 6 p.m., Rawl will give a public lecture followed by a book signing in Hodson Auditorium, Rosenstock Hall. We encourage parents to attend these evening events!

Learn how to download onto the iPad.