Lewis Student Graduates from Rider with Award

Lewis Student Graduates from Rider with Award

Lewis Student Graduates from Rider with Award

A student of determination, resilience and grit, Rob Lott (Lewis Class of 2012) graduates from Rider University and is awarded the Ralph F. Gommer Award, given to the student who has demonstrated the most significant improvement. He prepares for his graduate studies in the field of social work in the fall. We wish him continued success, as we, who have known him since he was 12, smile proudly. Enjoy this article written for Rider News.

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Dyslexia: Unwrapping the Gift

Dyslexia: Unwrapping the Gift

Dyslexia: Unwrapping the Gift

      In a recent seminar held at The Lewis School titled “Dyslexia: Unwrapping the Gift,” four former Lewis students shared their perspectives of dyslexia and the impact of their Lewis education. What do they consider to be their greatest gift? One said it was his ability to think critically. He came to Lewis in 3rd grade and stayed until graduation. Today he is a journalist. Another said it was his sheer perseverance. He came to Lewis as a Post-Graduate and now owns and runs his own fitness studio. One boy said his greatest gift was his ability to visualize the entire picture before creating it with his hands. He came to Lewis as a Middle School student and stayed till graduation. Today, he is a welder, having contributed to the construction of the new Tappan Zee bridge. And a final alum was at Lewis since 2nd grade and, too, stayed till graduation. Today she is a first-year college student. Her greatest gift: ability to use words to advocate for herself – and one day soon, to advocate for others. Gifts indeed.

      This seminar comes the week of one of The Lewis School’s most treasured traditions: Tree of Light. Each first Friday in December, a beautiful tree that stands in the schoolyard is lit as a symbol of hope for all people who struggle with literacy. Though many anticipate the lighting, my favorite moment is when the tree is in darkness, as it is about to be lit. In its unlighted state, it’s tempting to see it as a metaphor for the way that those who learn differently are often overlooked or even dismissed by people who can only see the darkness. But when I look at the unlit tree – as it stands with quiet and humble dignity – I see something else entirely. I see strength. I see beauty. And I also see its potential to light up and inspire the world. 

      The Tree of Light is a joyous reminder that it is this potential that we seek to develop and nurture, with expertise, compassion and respect.

— Chantra Reinman

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The Boy Who Became a Visionary Entrepreneur: The Story of Fred Beer

The Boy Who Became a Visionary Entrepreneur: The Story of Fred Beer

“Oh I remember you…you were the kid that never got anything right on your spelling tests,” said a student to the new boy in his seventh grade class. What that student did not yet realize was that the boy he recognized had transformed after having spent four years at The Lewis School. The boy was Fred Beer, a beautifully dyslexic child who once struggled to read, write, and spell. Today, he is a groundbreaking business leader, having co-founded several organizations and leading a major software product development firm.

“I don’t remember first grade much,” says Fred today, “[because] it crushed my confidence…It was hard to read and I saw things backwards.” With the help of his parents, Fred discovered The Lewis School. “My parents kept telling me that [my dyslexia] was an advantage because I would see things differently and it would teach me to work hard,” he recalls. Fred found that same philosophy at Lewis, where he was taught to focus on his strengths as a way of improving his weaknesses.

His former teacher, Mrs. Muschlitz, remembers Fred as a vibrant, good-hearted, diligent student who was hungry for knowledge. Fred remembers a lot about his years at Lewis, as well – teachers like Mrs. Muschlitz whose support and positivity made all the difference to Fred, the nurturing environment of the building itself, and the methods of teaching that are especially unique to Lewis. “I remember the Object Box fondly,” says Fred. “My father had a dictionary of strange words. I looked up the longest word I could in that dictionary. I think it had something like 30 or 40 letters. Next time we did the object box, I proudly brought out the long word to win that object.”

The most lasting memory for Fred is of the cold winter months. “I remember not having snow days,” he says. “The story was that Mrs. Lewis was from Canada, so even when every other school was closed for two inches of snow, we were open. Living in upstate New York today, I can appreciate how 2 inches of snow is a non-event, but when I was young I wanted the snow days. I remember one time when only a few kids made it to school and, of course, I was one of them.”

Fred attended The Lewis School for four years and several summers between the third and sixth grade. When he was ready, Fred moved on to a new school not far away where he was reunited with that old classmate who recognized him as the boy who could not spell. What that classmate would soon find out was that he was in the presence of a more enlightened child with stronger mechanics and newfound confidence. “It didn’t matter that I was a really slow reader,” Fred explains. “I developed great skills at listening in class and taking notes. I learned how to work hard and get good grades…These skills have stayed with me to today.”

Now, as president of ITX, Corporation, a company he co-founded, Fred looks back on his time as a Lewis School student with appreciation for the teachers who worked with him and, more importantly, for his own dyslexia. His words must surely resonate with so many who have been a part of the Lewis story the past 45 years: “Having dyslexia is an advantage if you believe it is.”

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© 2020 The Lewis School of Princeton