Nearly 1,200 Lycoming County students filed into the Community Arts Center to hear best-selling author, Rhodes Scholar, White House fellow and businessman Wes Moore talk about his troubled early years, the support he received growing up and how easily his life could have gone in the wrong direction. The 8th through 12th grade students, who read Mr. Moore’s The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates as part of their class curriculum, already knew the parallel stories of the two Wes Moores—both from nearby Baltimore neighborhoods growing up at the same time under similar circumstances. But one Wes Moore has achieved successes he could not have imagined as a boy, while the other Wes Moore will spend the rest of his life in prison.
Greg Hayes, executive director of the Williamsport Area School District Education Foundation, came across Mr. Moore’s book and read it over a summer weekend. Mr. Hayes immediately contacted Mr. Moore’s representative and involved Williamsport High School in a possible event. “But because of the caliber of the person involved, we decided to reach out to other high schools,” Mr. Hayes says. Jeri Sims, Director of Development at the Community Arts Center, agreed to attach the program to CAC’s Educational Series. She also encouraged Mr. Hayes to contact the First Community Foundation Partnership of Pennsylvania for help in funding the event. The FCFP responded by providing a $9,000 grant from its Williamsport Lycoming Community Fund and arranging for an additional $2,500 through the Pennsylvania Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) Program, allowing Mr. Moore’s program to reach the greatest number of students possible.