Meeting with the Mayor

I have previously discussed how I tutor with the Chicago Lights Tutoring Organization (see posts of August 8 and 9, 2011, and January 26, 2012) and how I write plays for students to read.  (See

Several weeks ago, I wrote a play for my student (Jordan) where he played an NBC co-anchor for the 10:00 pm news.  At the conclusion of the “broadcast,” he invited viewers to tune in next week for an interview with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  At the end of our session, Jordan asked if I would write a play where he interviewed the Mayor.  So I did.  I sent a copy to Chicago Lights’ administrators so they might use it with other students.  They liked it – and sent a copy to the Mayor’s office.  Long story short – the Mayor asked to meet Jordan and me.    

A few weeks ago, Jordan, his parents, the administrator of the Chicago Lights Tutoring Program and I spent about 40 minutes with Mayor Rahm Emanuel.  He was a gentleman, didn’t rush us, showed Jordan around his office (and let Jordan sit in his chair – at his desk), and he read the whole play – interacting with Jordan.  Jordan read perfectly!!   The Mayor asked a lot of questions of Jordan and his parents.  And then he inscribed – and signed – Jordan’s copy of the play.  He signed mine too. 🙂   He liked a line from the play which went “There is no finish line for improvement.”  He told Jordan to listen for that phrase in the coming weeks since he said he would use it – and perhaps say “my friend Jordan says ‘there is no finish line . . . .'”  That, he said, might have reporters going “who is this ‘Jordan’ fellow“?    Pretty cool. . . .

To see a pic and 2 articles on the subject, check out  And here’s a link to the Play:   Rahm Emanuel Play

Chicago Lights Tutoring

The Chicago Lights Tutoring Program (  is a non-profit community outreach organization that fosters education and literacy among underprivileged children.  It is sponsored by the Fourth Presbyterian Church on Michigan Avenue in Chicago.  Each week, hundreds of students are tutored one on one by hundreds of dedicated volunteer tutors.  

For the last few years, I have volunteered as a tutor each Wednesday during the school year.   I have found it to be an extremely efficient and effective educational experience for these young people (and very rewarding for the tutors).  One of the things I have done to help inspire my students to read is to write plays – where the student not only performs but is the star of the play.  My student Jordan for example will be the chef of a great restaurant, the pilot of a Boeing 737, a news anchor on NBC, or a doctor who sees ailing patients.  It has been fun and inspiring.  I have attached a few examples of plays (I have marked them “Generic” as actual names of students are not used).  If you have any new ideas for play topics – or tutoring, let me know!   

Generic – WGN Talk  

Generic – This is Your Captain    

Generic – Farfalle