2014 Summer Reading

Summer Reading Essay Contest


Essay by Kevin Larson

Honorable Mentions:

One Life, Endless Possibilities - Essay by Jennifer Colangelo

Essay by Jocelyn Cornish

People Choose their Futures - Essay by Emily Ryan

Essay by London Jones

the-other-wes-moore-bookThe Other Wes Moore

By Wes Moore

Summer Reading Assignment

As you prepare for your first semester at Becker, we would like to challenge you to improve your reading skills. Reading-like any sport, talent, passion, or skill you are trying to perfect–requires practice. The more you read, the better skill set you can develop and the better prepared you will be for the rigor of college writing.

Every first year student will be required to read The Other Wes Moore prior to the start of the fall semester. There will be a quiz on the themes of the book and extensive discussion in your First Year Experience course. Discussions surrounding the book will also be held during New Student Orientation when you come to campus in the fall, as well as an assignment in your English Composition course. As a result, it is crucial to read the book before coming to Becker in August.

You will receive a free copy of the book during summer orientation. This is your copy, so feel free to make notes and mark up the book as you identify important themes, quotes, and discussion topics in the book. Please bring the book with you when you come to your English and First Year Experience courses this fall.

Book Synopsis

Two kids with the same name, liv­ing in the same city. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, dec­o­rated com­bat vet­eran, White House Fel­low, and busi­ness leader. The other is serv­ing a life sen­tence in prison for felony mur­der. Here is the story of two boys and the jour­ney of a generation.

In Decem­ber 2000, the Bal­ti­more Sun ran a small piece about Wes Moore, a local stu­dent who had just received a Rhodes Schol­ar­ship. The same paper also ran a series of arti­cles about four young men who had allegedly killed a police offi­cer in a spec­tac­u­larly botched armed rob­bery. The police were still hunt­ing for two of the sus­pects who had gone on the lam, a pair of broth­ers. One was named Wes Moore.

Wes just couldn’t shake off the unset­tling coin­ci­dence, or the inkling that the two shared much more than space in the same news­pa­per. After fol­low­ing the story of the rob­bery, the man­hunt, and the trial to its con­clu­sion, he wrote a let­ter to the other Wes, now a con­victed mur­derer serv­ing a life sen­tence with­out the pos­si­bil­ity of parole. His let­ter ten­ta­tively asked the ques­tions that had been haunt­ing him: Who are you? How did this happen?

That let­ter led to a cor­re­spon­dence and rela­tion­ship that has lasted for sev­eral years. Over dozens of let­ters and prison vis­its, Wes dis­cov­ered that the other Wes had a life not unlike his own: Both had grown up in sim­i­lar neigh­bor­hoods and had dif­fi­cult child­hoods, both were father­less; they’d hung out on sim­i­lar cor­ners with sim­i­lar crews, and both had run into trou­ble with the police. At each stage of their young lives they had come across sim­i­lar moments of deci­sion, yet their choices and the peo­ple in their lives would lead them to aston­ish­ingly dif­fer­ent destinies.

Told in alter­nat­ing dra­matic nar­ra­tives that take read­ers from heart-wrenching losses to moments of sur­pris­ing redemp­tion, The Other Wes Moore tells the story of a gen­er­a­tion of boys try­ing to find their way in a chal­leng­ing and at times, hos­tile world.

More information about the book, including an interview with the author, can be found at theotherwesmoore.com.

For more information, please contact:
Sarah Mosier,
Director of First Year Experience


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