• Lisa Hoffman

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January 31, 2009



Great story. I was also an alternative high school student myself, yet the staff there always believed that each and every one of us had potential and cheered us on. With an A.A. in Electronics Technology and a Bachelor's in I.T. (3.95 GPA), both earned while I worked full-time, I guess I managed to eventually make something of myself! Many of my fellow classmates were actually pretty bright but just couldn't fit into the mold required of traditional high school. So Stephen and David sound pretty typical of the students that I knew. I applaud the kids in the story, they caught on early what it takes many people years to learn--that different is not bad, and being true to yourself and your beliefs both takes and demonstrates a HUGE amount of strength.


A wonderful, moving story! How great to hear a story of teen-aged compassion. Thank you for sharing it, Mark.

Micah Hoffman

A delightful tale. I myself attended Centennial, and remembered many a moment where authenticity broke through our stubborn and imaginative dramas, and I remember the paradox of the joy and release as well as the pure awkwardness and nakedness of these moments. Mark, thank you for this memory.


Wow, what a story, so moving and full of lessons and hope for all of us, young and old. about insightful, wonderful comment Micah...

michelle ward

Mark, you are a brilliant writer, you had me totally there. I'm clapping too, not only for the courage of both boys, but for YOU, who set the table and encouraged *circle time*. And I LOVE the recognition of conviction, no matter what the subject. You have it, Stephen has it, and David *got* it.

Thank you Lisa, for bringing Mark's story to the Bonfire.

p.s. adoring that goth crayon box.

Marylinn Kelly

Your story makes me wonder why any of us expend energy doing anything but telling the truth (well, I know some of the answers, but still...) My brother teaches music to an at-risk population in Australia, having found over his more than 20 years that music is a way in and a way out. Thanks to you and Lisa for a story of heeding the call to create a safe space where our children can be or become who they are.


Thanks so much for telling this story. It is moving, eye-opening, thought provoking, and so much more. I could completely visualize this circle and the impact of the moment that David paid the compliment to Stephen. For me, the story symbolizes faith, hope, and the importance of authenticity.


I am so moved. thank you.


ooo my, that is truly, a special story....

Steve A - Tucson

Excellent sharing. Thanks so much for enlightening us all, and for showing more reasons for supporting education and other programs designed for our youth -- all youth. As a public school teacher, I can say with confidence that all learners (youth) experience a host of challenges while growing up. So many of our younger friends are 'at risk' of not 'making it.' David and Stephen (and you, of course) have shown that resilience truly does exist, and there is hope for our communities, after all.

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  • I’m a huge fan of stories, the kind of stories that people tell each other over coffee, on the phone, over dinner. I live to hear everything that my friends and family have to share. Card games? Charades? Bah. All of that stuff just gets in the way of the juicy part: The Stories. Come, sit here with me, and tell me what’s been going on. What have you been doing? Who have you seen? Where have you been?..... In that spirit, I’ve created The Gypsy Bonfire. I ask my authors to tell a story that you could share over a quick cup. Picture yourself sitting around a Bonfire with VERY close friends. It’s chilly, you’re cozy -maybe wrapped in a soft blanket, hands clutching a mug of steaming hot Mexican Cocoa, the creative energy is hovering just overhead. You could not be more relaxed and everyone’s sharing a story. You know… just kinda chatting……… There will be a new story on the 1st of the month or there abouts. I’ll be reminding you on my main blog. So. Join us around the Bonfire. No big deal, just a place to relax and invigorate your own stories. Get the movie going in your head. Pick out the Sound Bites from your own World. Thanks for coming by.