Ghosts of War: One School, One Book

By on November 11, 2019

A sense of purpose, a drive to do something. This is not a typical teenager’s story. In this year’s reading project, Brockport High School students and staff are exploring the true story of a 19-year-old soldier from New York State. 

After watching 9/11 unfold, Ryan Smithson said the experience shook him into reality; pushing him to join the Army Reserves. In 2004, he was deployed to Iraq where he experienced the fear and friendships forged through war. 

Upon returning home and finding himself on a college campus, Smithson began an essay for English class on his combat experience. Those papers eventually turned into his memoir, Ghosts of War: The True Story of a 19-year-old GI.

The firsthand account of combat and commitment to his country is now being read by the BCSD community as part of One School, One Book. The program encourages students and staff to engage deeper into the reading, by questioning the lens in which they view the world while considering Smithson’s detailed experience. 

The book will come to life during Smithson’s visit to the school on November 19 when students will be able to hear from the military veteran firsthand while he holds assemblies for BHS students. There will also be an evening event open to the community on November 18 starting at 6:30 p.m. with Smithson in the Seymour Library. 

The One School, One Book initiative is part of the district’s continued goal to promote literacy while also building understanding, growing empathy and fostering community connections. The book is available at the public library and at Lift Bridge Books.

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