re·mark·a·ble
/rəˈmärkəb(ə)l/
(adjective) worthy of attention; striking.

Room B-104 is located in Muskegon Correctional Facility’s school building. It is the home of the Hope-Western Prison Education Program.

Remarkable things happen there.

During the summer of 2021 the COVID pandemic forced the Michigan Department of Corrections to close prisons to visitors, volunteers, and everyone else who did not absolutely have to come to the prison. This forced the HWPEP leadership to get creative with ways to keep its students intellectually engaged (to say nothing of spiritually encouraged). We settled on the idea of a book club. We sent each student two books with instructions for how to organize and run a book discussion.

We also asked the students to send us feedback on each book and the process they engaged in thinking together about the texts. We received many inspired and inspiring reports. Here’s an example:

“Many of us [in the HWPEP] are searching for our own kind of freedom. Some of us may never again step foot outside a prison setting. Yet, we have all still made the choice to act on our hopes and dreams, wherever this journey leads us. And for me, that’s a special kind of freedom – the ability and willingness to choose something other than the life I’ve known.”

Remarkable.

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Source: Amazon.com

Asked for his impressions about tackling Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics in only one week, a student responded “I didn’t understand it at all the first time I read it. The second time was equally difficult. I mean, it was like reading a foreign language. The third time I began to see some of the elements of Aristotle’s philosophy beginning to gel. Now that I’ve read it four times I can see how his ideas connect to Augustine, Aquinas, and Plato.”

All of his classmates nodded in agreement, as if they too had read Aristotle four times in one week.

Remarkable.

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