Nothing more gratifying for teachers that to hear from former students. Teachers like to hear and know that the seeds that planted many years earlier have made a difference in their student’s life and work.

Here are two letters from two of John Hunter’s former students — Irene Newman and Moira Kearney. They are excellent proof that challenging students with real world situations and letting them know we believe enough in them and their thinking makes all the difference.

From Irene Newman:

Mr. Hunter,I just watched your TED talk on the World Peace Game and cried for the entire last ten minutes. Some of my clearest memories from elementary school are those I spent in your room, particularly gathered around the World Peace Game. I was privileged to play two years in a row, and I will never forget the day my parents came to observe and were a little concerned by the way I fearlessly purchased black market arms and defied the UN. The World Peace Game has never left my mind; I’ve continued to mull over the issues we discussed and to apply those concepts to today’s conflicts.

For some of my classmates, the World Peace Game may have been just another awesome experience in the Quest classroom, alongside Pearls of Wisdom, video projects, and other endeavors. For me, the World Peace Game shaped the entire course of my life. I am currently a Peace, War, and Defense major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (along with another major in American Studies and a minor in Creative Writing). My concentration is in National and International Security and Diplomacy.

Rarely does a day go by that I don’t think about the World Peace Game. I can’t describe the feeling of adrenaline and excitement that starts in my fingers as I take notes in my Public Policy classes and runs to my brain as I begin to meditate on current global issues. It is an indescribable feeling, but one well known by anyone who has played the World Peace Game.

I am sometimes frustrated in class when our lectures focus on problems and I want to discuss solutions. My Peace, War, and Defense professors comment that I approach current issues and conflicts differently than many of my classmates. I believe that this difference exists because I’ve been thinking about global peace since my formative years. When I approach a conflict, I don’t try to think like a seasoned politician or diplomat. I try to think like the nine year old girl who sat amongst her cabinet in a Venable classroom, who focused on her plastic tanks and troops and weighed options with the utmost gravity.

I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I do know that I hope to take the skills I acquired in third and fourth grade and make a tangible difference in the world. I sit in my college classrooms and outline plans for conflict resolution and global education, and I hope that I can one day make those plans a reality. If I could solve the world’s problems at age ten, there’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to at age 30 or 40.

Thank you so much for your dedication to my class, for your encouragement as we wrestled with the ethical dilemmas we encountered in pursuit of peace, and for your ability to transform a task that gives our world leaders headaches into an experience that I love more than any other game in the world. I hope that hundreds of schoolchildren will be able to learn from this game the way I did, and that one day a generation will be able to implement those ideas and achieve world peace.

Thank you, thank you, thank you,
Irene Newman

And this letter from Moira Kearney:
Hello Mr. Hunter!
You’re likely not to remember me. I was a student in your GT classes at Swansfield in ’92. I just wanted to say hello and to thank you for your instruction all those years ago.
My mother just sent me a load of my old school things and one of them was related to… your class, so I looked you up to see if you were still teaching… and I was delighted to see you’ve been recognized by so many for your outstanding teaching.
At any rate, I certainly retained an interest in global politics thanks in part to the World Peace Game, I’ve been an activist for global workers rights and human rights. I’m now back in University (U of Washington) in an earth sciences program because I still feel drawn to global problems, and I hope to contribute research that will help us better understand (and care for) our environment.
Thanks for encouraging all your students to have a global perspective and a sense that problems can be solved (or at least better understood) with cooperation.
Moira Kearney