Two months ago, Arne Duncan announced he was stepping down as U.S. Education Secretary. Last month, he stopped by the Chicago StoryCorps booth to talk with Lawanda Crayton.
The two met when she was in sixth grade at Shakespeare Elementary School on Chicago’s South Side. Duncan was part of a group that “adopted” the sixth grade class, tutoring and mentoring them through grammar school and beyond.
Crayton’s home life was chaotic. Her mother and step-father abused drugs and alcohol and frequently became violent towards each other. That sometimes left Lawanda and her twin sister to fend for themselves.
StoryCorps’ mission is to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to share, record and preserve their stories. These excerpts, edited by WBEZ, present some of our favorites from the current visit, as well as from previous trips.