Today’s Class Review: May 13, 2020

  1.  Today’s class asked HOPE LIFE SKILLS students and guests (Marta Aparicio Hope High 2010, Georgetown University 2014, Columbia University 2020; Tara Cronin; Johnny Montanez Hope High 2010; and Diane West, Hope High Guidance Counselor) to COMPARE and CONTRAST life in the countries of Singapore and the United States of America.  After reading the Hope Life Skills textbook “The Story of Singapore and The Change Agent Who Created It“, students and guests listed their perceived PLUSES and MINUSES of living in Singapore when compared to their present lives in the United States.  AFTER an open discussion, here’s what our students decided:


  2.   15% of Singaporeans are millionaires; opportunities for making lots of money
  3.   English language – the world’ most spoken language helps doing business in a global marketplace
  4.  90% of Singaporeans own their own home
  5.  Confidence and Trust in the National Government unlike the United States
  6.  FREE, world class Health Care
  7.  Weather –  nice and warm!!!
  8.  Low Crime
  9.  Little to No drugs
  10.  Full Employment
  11.  World Class Port of Singapore is a hub for business in Asia


  1.  Cost of Owning a Car with the requirement of buying a Certificate of Entitlement before buying the actual car
  2.  Chewing gum prohibition and other strict laws, enforcement, and severe penalties
  3.  Caning (beaten with a stick for some crimes)
  4.  Weather –  too warm for some!!!
  5.  Privacy;  lack thereof
  6. lack of NATIONAL, fresh water reserves

Summary –   it’s interesting to note 2/3rds of the students participating in today’s conversation expressed a preference for the Singaporean lifestyle over the United States lifestyle.   Issues like trust in government leaders, quality of public education, home ownership and wealth opportunities, and access to good health care were a few of the most compelling characteristics of Singapore.  

Quarantine Homework: Compare and Contrast – Pandemic Comparison

Thank you for all those who completed last week’s ‘Question’ assignment.  Well done. I was impressed by your questions, your curiosity, and empathy.    Moreover, many of you did research on the people you questioned which was reflected in the quality of your questions.   Impressive.

Today’s assignment builds upon our last assignment on “Questions“.

Over the next few weeks, I will ask you to read a few pages in the Life Skills books posted on our web site and then, join me in a Wednesday, 11am conversation on Zoom about the readings.  

The final Zoom conversation will be with my friend from Singapore, Tino Chow, for you to compare your own experience during the virus quarantine with Tino’s experiences in February when he was in Singapore and Hong Kong when the pandemic exploded in these places.  Tino left both Hong Kong and Singapore one day before each place closed their airports and borders because of the Coronavirus outbreak. If Tino was not able to leave each country on the days he did, he would still be there.

The objective of our conversations with Tino will offer you an opportunity to compare and contrast your experience now in Rhode Island during the Coronavirus quarantine with Tino’s experiences in both Singapore and Hong Kong up to the days he left both places in late February of 2020.

Tino has already told me he looks forward to your questions!  Your questions could be very specific about how both Singapore and Hong Kong were dealing with the pandemic when he was there. Your questions may also be about his native country of Singapore and some of its unique policies. For instance, before anyone can buy a car in Singapore, a person must apply to buy a “Certificate of Entitlement”; in other words, you pay a minimum of $40,000 just for the right to buy a car before buying the car.  It’s also illegal to buy and sell chewing gum in Singapore.

Asking good questions is all about preparations.  Our ability to ask questions usually affects our ‘Brand’ and how people perceive us.  Don’t forget, questions are more important than answers!  Questioning skills will be important in college, in your future jobs and careers, and for those of you who will own your own businesses.

Here’s our schedule for the next few weeks:

1. Read a short story on PANDEMICS on pages 72 through 76 in our “FUTURE” textbook posted on our web site.   Join me on a Zoom conversation on Wednesday, APRIL 29, at 11am to discuss what you read on these 5 pages.

2. Read a short story on the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic which killed 75 million people worldwide and 676,000 Americans on pages 78 through 91 in our “Quest For Success” textbook posted on our web site. The story is about city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and how this city unsuccessfully dealt with the deadliest pandemic in history, the Spanish Flu pandemic. Join me on a Zoom conversation on Wednesday, MAY 6th, at 11am to discuss what you read on these 13 pages.

3. Read the short textbook “The Story of Singapore“.  It’s a short story about the country where Tino was born, raised, and served in the Singaporean army.  Please don’t get overwhelmed.  First, just “skim” the book;  this means, simply look at the pictures on each page and the breakout print sections in large print on each page.   Then, if you see anything you’re curious about, go back and read all the information on those pages in the book.  Singapore is a fascinating country with one of the best school systems in the world, little to NO CRIME, with a population of different races with long standing difference who now live peacefully together.  90% of Singaporeans own their own home or condo.  Singaporeans have a longer life expectancy than people in the United States with universal, FREE health care.  There are also strict anti-fake news laws.  Join me on a Zoom conversation on Wednesday, MAY 13th, at 11am to discuss what you read in this short textbook.

4.  Finally, join me on Zoom on Wednesday, MAY 2oth, at 11am to speak with Tino Chow and myself to ask him your questions about his experiences in Singapore and Hong Kong and your own experiences during the corona virus outbreak and quarantine. 

Tino Chow (right) visiting the Hope Life Skills class 2017.

NB –  Please feel free to invite your parents and siblings to the conversation.  And, if you have relatives living in a foreign country, you may ask if their country is affected by the Coronavirus pandemic and how their country is protecting its citizens from the virus.

Hiatus Homework


I hope you are all doing well during this virus quarantine.

We have an opportunity to come out of this quarantine wiser and more prepared for college and lifetime success than before the quarantine.

Successfully ‘managing time‘ is a skill critical for becoming the person you hope to be. To make sure we are wiser after the quarantine, you and I must manage our time during the quarantine wisely.   Please don’t forget, you’re always competing against other students from high schools all over the United States for college acceptance, scholarships, and eventually, for jobs and careers.  Let me change this statement –  ‘you are competing against students from all over the world for college scholarships and eventually jobs and careers!!!‘     This is the reality of the time we live in.  If you wish to be successful, in any endeavor, you must manage your time wisely.

Consequently, I am asking you to complete this assignment as a way of helping you become wiser and, as a result, more competitive and successful in a global marketplace for college scholarships and jobs/careers.  The goal of this assignment is for you to think creatively and use empathy in your questions to get important answers you are interested in.   Creative, empathetic questioning skills with the self confidence to ask them will be invaluable throughout your entire life to become the successful person you aspire to be.

Please list a unique question for each of the 25 people on the homework list.

I believe your questions should vary according to the person you are speaking to.  For instance, the question you ask the #1 person in the list, Dr Fauci who is heading President Trump’s team of doctors dealing with the Covid 19 pandemic, would probably be different from #22, an extra terrestrial you happen to meet.

The purpose of this lesson is for you to use empathy to understand the background of each person and the expertise they have from their experiences.   Secondly, this lesson is focused on developing your questioning skills because they are so important to your personal and professional development in life.
I look forward to reading your questions to each of the 25 people in our list.

If you have any questions about this assignment, please email or text them to me.

Please send your answers to my email address before Sunday, April 19.   Thank you.  I look forward to your questions.


Questions Are More Important Than Answers!

You’ve heard me say this repeatedly in our Life Skills class.  Questions are asked to get answers to issues you’re curious about or interested in.  There is no answer without a question preceding it.  Questions ARE NOT ASKED TO HURT OR EMBARRASS SOMEONE.  QUESTIONS SHOULD BE ASKED RESPECTFULLY TO GET INFORMATION THAT MATTERS TO YOU.

“Questions” book cover

Here is an activity I am asking you to complete.   Email or text me with questions which prevent you from answering any part of this homework.

FIRSTplease read pages 1 through 15 in the “Questions” book that is posted on our web site. You can read more pages in the book; it’s an interesting and thought provoking book.

NEXT – I have listed the names of a number of people below.  SOME OF THESE PEOPLE ARE DECEASED.  I still would like you to ask them a question.

IMAGINE – you are very comfortable pushing out of your comfort zone to respectfully ask specific questions to the people listed below to get an answer you’re curious about or that is important to YOU.


FINALLY – Please send the question to ask each person listed below to my email address ( Please write your questions so I can understand them. I am very interested in your questions.


1. Doctor Anthony Fauci is an American immunologist who is one of President’s Trumps key members of the country’s Coronavirus Task Force fighting the Coronavirus pandemic. The New York Times newspaper called Fauci “the nation’s leading expert on infectious disease”. Dr Fauci was a point guard on his high school basketball team in New York City. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

the reincarnated one, the 14th Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso

2. Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th reincarnation of the 1st  Dalai Lama, Gendun Drup, who was born in 1391. The Dalai Lama is the title given to the religious leader of Tibet, a once independent country but taken over by China in 1951.  Tibetans believe the Dalai Lama has been reincarnated 14 times since 1391.-


3. Bill Gates, Founder of Microsoft and the world’s 2nd richest person who happened to be an just average college student, predicted in 2015 the world would be under attack by a virulent virus in the near future (2020). _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Harrison Peters

4.  Harrison Peters – new Superintendent of Providence Public Schools – __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
5. Matthew Buchanan, Principal Hope High School – __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
6. Martin Luther King Jr – celebrated American civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner (1964)- __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
7. Melania Trump, wife of the President of the United States, Donald Trump – __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
8. Jorge Elorza, Mayor of Providence – __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
9. The smartest, hardest working, most humble, honest, successful Harvard University student with a future seemingly destined for great success who graduated from an American inner city public school __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
10. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon and the aerospace manufacturer and sub-orbital spaceflight services company Blue Origin. Bezos, as a young boy, was adopted by a Cuban immigrant living in America married to Bezos’ Mom. Jeff Bezos today is the “richest man in the world” (total worth approximately $150 BILLION), __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
11. DJ Khalad (American DJ, record producer, radio personality, and record executive) – __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
12. Billie Eilish (Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter/designer) – __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
13. Selina Gomez – American singer, songwriter, actress, and television producer – __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
14. Barack Obama – former President of the United States __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
15. Ali Khamenei – The Supreme Leader of the country of Iran. Khamenei has repeatedly defended his country’s citizens threat of “Death to America”.
16. Catalina Martinez, a scientist and oceanographer with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) with multiple Master’s degrees in Biological Oceanography, Marine Affairs, and Business Administration, who grew up in poverty in Providence and was forced to drop out of high school to care for her family.   With the help of a mentor, she returned to school and followed her passion to get multiple college degrees in marine studies.

Catalina Martinez (seated) showing Hope High Life Skills students video from one of her explorations of the ocean’s floor during one of her month long voyages at sea.


17. The smartest, hardest working, most honest, humble, respectful, and successful Hope High Student with a future seemingly destined for great success __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
18. Sergey Brin, an immigrant to America who eventually graduated from Stanford University to become one of the Founders of Google (Google is an American technology company that sells Internet-related services and products all over the world like online advertising and search engine technology. Google is considered one of the world’s Big Four technology companies with Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft) – __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
19. Marta Aparicio – Guatemalan immigrant who left her parents’ Providence home to live on her own during her senior year at Hope High School (2010), a 2014 Georgetown University graduate, and Columbia University International Studies Graduate school graduate in 2020 and soon-to-be United States diplomat serving at a US Embassy some place in the world – __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
20. The most interesting and impressive person you have met this year at a Life Skills activity – Please name the person and your question to this person
PERSON’S NAME _________________________________________
21. The smartest, kindest, most successful, respectful, hardest working, African American or Hispanic student with a future seemingly destined for great success at LaSalle Academy  – __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
22. An extraterrestrial visitor who happens to come to earth from another planet beyond our Galaxy and appears to you when you are alone in your home. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
23. The most disruptive Hope High student you are aware of whose behavior creates trouble/distractions in the school and, as a result, makes it difficult for Hope High to establish a ‘culture of learning’ for all the conscientious students to learn important skills and behaviors to become the best, smartest, and most successful people they can be. __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
24. Jesus Christ  –  __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
25. Name a person, alive or dead, you would like to meet AND, then, tell me a question you would like to ask this person –
Name of the PERSON __________________________________________________
YOUR QUESTION – __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Today’s Homework: February 21, 2020

Faith Souza networks with Johnny Montanez during today’s class.

  1.   Complete the following NETWORKING SURVEY and EITHER send your answers to my email address as soon as you can but no later than Saturday, February 29th, 2020 OR return the survey form I gave you in class today at our next class.

This survey simply serves as a status report for you to measure your own progress developing a network of successful people you can call upon for advice and support throughout your life.

Fact – most career opportunities in life will come from someone in a person’s network.

  • Name one of the most important people in your present network. _____________
  • Name or describe a new person you’ve recently added to your personal network and explain how this person has enriched your network; explain how this person has improved your network.
  • Has there been a member of your network you decided could no longer be part of your present network?   yes or no     If yes, please explain why you decided to no longer have this person part of your present network
  • Give an example of recently extending yourself out of your comfort zone.
  • Describe a lesson learned from a recent mistake or failure which has made you a wiser or stronger person.
  • Describe a recent decision you made because it was the ‘right thing to do’.
  • Give an example of something creative you recently did.
  • Give an example of a kind act you did for a person who needed some kindness.
  • Name the book you are PRESENTLY reading.
  • Have you created a LinkedIn site?    yes or no
  • Who is the most recent person you sent a request to CONNECT with on LinkedIn?
  • Name most recent person you sent a ‘congratulations’ message on LinkedIn acknowledging a promotion, new job, or birthday.
  • Name the person in your network you sent an email, text, or written note to saying ‘thank you’ for doing something nice they did for you
  • What is your latest personal accomplishment you added to your LinkedIn profile?


Today’s Homework: January 31, 2019

  1.  After reading the newspaper article entitled “Graduate of the Year” which I gave you in class today, please answer the following question –
    1.  compare and contrast the person described in the “Graduate of the Year” article, Tai Thi Nguyen, with yourself.   Specifically, list the SIMILARITIES (if any) you believe you have with her and then list how you are  DIFFERENT from Tai Thi Nguyen.   Please send me an email with your answers by Tuesday, February 4.

Today’s Homework: November 1, 2019

  1.   Please write a ‘succinct’ statement sharing your perception of one LaSalle Academy student brand you encountered yesterday that impressed you.   Describe the brand using adjectives which describe the brand of one of the many LaSalle students you observed yesterday.  Please, send your ‘succinct’ statement to my email address no later than Tuesday, November 5th, 11:59pm.  By sending me your homework before Tuesday, November 5th, 11:59pm, it will give me an opportunity to read, reflect, and respond to your statement.  Thank you.
  2. Establish your personal LinkedIn site.  After doing this, send a “CONNECT” request to my LinkedIn site.  I spoke about the value of LinkedIn yesterday to you and the LaSalle students.   Please keep in mind the importance of the ‘information’ you share on your LINKEDIN site.  Information like your extracurricular activities, your after school jobs, your enrollment in the Hope Life Skills program, your attendance in the FUTURE FORUM, and your career aspirations are important to encouraging successful people with their LINKEDIN sites to send a “CONNECT” request to you to join their network.  This is one way for you to build your valuable networks for lifetime success.   For example:   describe your enrollment in Hope Life Skills as “an elective, credited course introducing and developing life skills and attitudes for success. The program’s foundation rests upon the importance of personal brand and the development of specific skills using one’s personal brand to build a network of successful, reputable professionals for career opportunities and mentorship for life.  You might also acknowledge your attendance in THE FUTURE FORUM # 4 as “an annual event bringing national corporate futurists (e.g. Bank of America, Data Robot, Accenture, Working Planet, Brown University, etc) together with a diverse group of high school students for a collaboration using design thinking and creativity to solve a social problem or create an entrepreneurial opportunity with AI (artificial intelligence).   And, don’t forget the teams you’re part of AND the part time jobs you hold. Hope High School soccer team or Subway Sandwich Shop, shift manager


  1.   Please look up the definition of “succinct” in the dictionary.
  2.    THEN, after reading pages 52, 53, 54, 55, and 56, in your “The FUTURE” book, send me an email expressing your reaction to what you read on these pages in a way that REFLECTS THE DEFINITION OF “SUCCINCT”.   Send your answer to my email address before Tuesday, 11:59pm, October 29th.  Please don’t forgetyour statement expressing your reaction to what you read needs to be SUCCINCT“.   Thank you.   If you don’t have “The FUTURE” book, click on “THE FUTURE” book cover on this web site.

Today’s Homework: October 18, 2019

  1.  Bring to class next week your time management worksheet that shows:
    1. a personal goal you write on the bottom of the sheet under the GOALS box;  a life goal you have this moment in your life.
    2. WEEKLY objectives you write on the bottom of the sheet under the OBJECTIVES box;  the objectives you are focusing on this week.  These objectives are activities which help you achieve your goals.  These objectives could be coming to school each day on time, adding successful, reputable, conscientious people to your personal network while, at the same time, ending relationships with people who do not share the same values you have, who may not be responsible or focused on doing the things they need to do to be successful, or who are not respectful of all people.   An objective may be always doing Mr Cronin’s homework you are assigned during the week.  Because Sara reminded us how important reading is in COLLEGE and LIFE, you read 10 pages in Mr Cronin’s FUTURE BOOK.
    3. WEEKLY priorities you write on the bottom of the sheet under the PRIORITIES box;  priorities are SPECIFIC activities that help you accomplish the objectives you set.
    4. On your time management worksheet, write in TWO specific PRIORITIES or activities YOU COMPLETE EACH DAY in the daily boxes that help you accomplish the objectives you identified at the bottom of the page.  Those priorities could be getting Mr Cronin’s homework completed on Tuesday evening at 9pm OR sending an email to Sara Jackson on Monday at 6pm thanking her for coming to our class on Friday, October 18 OR reading at least 5 pages in MR Cronin’s FUTURE BOOK on Sunday evening from 7 to 8pm.  Remember, two activities you completed EACH DAY during the week that help you accomplish your objectives.
  2. PRIORITIES help you accomplish OBJECTIVES.  OBJECTIVES help you accomplish your GOALS.  They are all connected.   Managing your time to accomplish priorities, objectives, and goals will help you become the successful person you aspire to become.
  3. Remember:   COURAGE, DISCIPLINE, and FOCUS on doing the right things when you need to do them.

Time Management Worksheet to be turned in next class with YOUR NAME ON TOP.


Today’s homework: October 11, 2019

  1.  Send me your BUSINESS CARD information before Sunday night, 11:59pm.
  2.    click here for the Business card template showing the information you will send me.       Business Card template-
    1. the day you’ll be sending me your business card information.
    2. THEN, FILL IN ONE activity each day  THAT IS something HELPING YOU ACCOMPLISH YOUR LIFETIME GOAL OR A WEEKLY OBJECTIVE.  (i.e. Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday).   All I need to see is ONE ACTIVITY EACH DAY on your worksheet but that one activity must an activity that helps you become a successful student and person.   Bring this worksheet to next week’s class and give it to me.  Make sure your name is on your worksheet.  PLEASE MAKE SURE I CAN READ YOUR WRITING!!!!!!!  PLEASE.
    3. Fill in the FAMILY CONTACT sheet so I can contact your parent, guardian, or mentor TO introduce myself and the LIFE SKILLS Program.  I want your parent, guardian, or mentor to know and understand what we do in this class.  TURN THIS SHEET IN TO ME AT NEXT WEEK’S CLASS.   THANK YOU.  

Today’s Homework: October 4, 2019

  1.  Complete the TIME MANAGEMENT worksheet I passed out in class today.   Read the second page FIRST before answering the questions on the first page.   Bring your worksheets to class next week.  MAKE SURE YOUR PENMANSHIP IS NEAT, please, SO I CAN READ YOUR INTERESTING ANSWERS.   SECONDLY, PLEASE WRITE SHORT SENTENCES WITH GOOD PUNCTUATION (COMMAS AND PERIODS) AND PERFECT SPELLING.  If you get confused completing this assignment, please feel free to email me any questions you have.   REMEMBER, your questions will always be viewed as good questions.  If a question is important to you, it’s important to me.

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    PAGE 1

  2.  HERE’S A NEW TERM FOR SOME OF YOU – SKIMPlease skim the entire THE FUTURE BOOK;  in other words, just read the words in red or highlighted in yellow accompanying each photo or image.  THEN, after skimming the entire book, identifyONE TOPIC connected to a photo or photos that made you ‘think‘, possibly ‘concerned‘, ‘afraid‘ or ‘angry‘, maybe ‘confused‘, or even ‘curious‘ for more information.  THEN, after identifying the topic that made you ‘think’, tell me ‘what’ your favorite topic/photos made you think about  Please, short sentences.  Perfect spelling.   Good punctuation, i.e. periods, commas, etc.   SEND YOUR ANSWER TO MY EMAIL ADDRESS NO LATER THAN WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 9, 11:59PM.   Thank you.  I look forward to reading your answers.