The Potential for Change

The Far-Reaching Impact of a Bread Loaf Education

David Wandera MA English ’08, MLitt ’13 is what one might call a teacher’s teacher. A native of Nairobi, Kenya, Wandera was elected to serve as his Bread Loaf senior class co-president. Wandera currently coordinates the Bread Loaf Teacher Network in Ohio, where he is finishing his doctoral degree at Ohio State University. Through this outreach, he helps Ohio teachers to consult each other and to develop innovative curricula and assignments. Without financial support, Wandera—and many students like him—could not have attended Bread Loaf School of English.

According to Emily Bartels, director of the Bread Loaf School of English, “Our biggest priority is to find ways to support students.” Indeed, the majority of students at BLSE benefit from some kind of financial assistance. Bartels is committed not only to lessening the financial burden for most students, but also to reaching out to those who would never have been able to afford a Bread Loaf education without significant aid.

Fellowships, in addition to recognizing and encouraging the determination and excellence of the recipients, contribute to every Bread Loaf student’s education by broadening the range of perspectives on campus. A more diverse student body enhances dialogue both inside and outside the classroom.

Moreover, since many Bread Loaf School of English graduates are teachers, the value of their education stretches beyond the individual's experience. Bartels has witnessed how each driven student possesses “the potential to change his or her school community.”

Like Wandera, recipients of Bread Loaf financial aid and fellowships revitalize institutions, spark fruitful collaborations with their colleagues, and inspire their students. In this way, they pass on the gift of learning unlocked for them by the generosity of their benefactors.

Video produced by Ed Dooley and Duna Tatour ’12

Still photographs by Brett Simison