Today’s Homework: January 20th, 2016

1.   This first assignment is from the geography survey I gave you a couple of weeks ago.   Check the map survey answers I gave you.  Then, check out my brand perception of each country listed on the sheet attached to the map.   Finally,  give me your brand perception of the country of Russia.  Watch the news this week; listen carefully to what is being said about Russia.  Check out your favorite news source for Russia information.  If you don’t have a favorite news source, you should find one.  As students preparing for college and networking with successful people, you need to know what is going on in the world.  Russia is one of the most talked about topics in the news TODAY.   There is no right or wrong answer. I am asking for your opinion, your perception of Russia.


Russian President Vladimir Putin

Send your statement about your perception of Russia’s brand with perfect spelling, short sentences and good punctuation to my email address by Thursday morning, January 26th  at 3:45am.  Thank you.

2.  Lois Kelly today spoke about the importance and the benefit of knowing what is important to the person you are speaking with during a conversation about ‘change’. Since we are frequently speaking about change in our class, I am curious about what’s important to you.  Please tell me what is important to you.   As always, send your statement with perfect spelling, short sentences and good punctuation to my email address by Thursday morning, January 26th  at 3:45am.  Thank you.

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Lois Kelly’s communication workshop at the Hope Life Skills class on January 20th, 2016.

3.  If you haven’t established a LinkedIn profile of yourself, please set one up this week and then, send a ‘connect’ request to me.   LinkedIn is an important networking tool for getting jobs and getting into the college of your choice.  If you have trouble doing this, ask Sara, Mohamadou, Yael, Imani, or Justin for help.  They have set up profiles successfully and connected with me on LinkedIn. Thank you.  I look forward to adding you to my LinkedIn network.

Today’s homework: January 13, 2016

1.   Today’s guest, Richard Lewis, encouraged all of us to

set up our profile on LinkedIn,

a popular,  employment social networking web site (  LinkedIn is used mainly for professional networking; people looking for jobs and companies looking for credible candidates.

LinkedIn_Logo_2013.svgGo to the LinkedIn web site to set up your profile.   Check out Richard Lewis’ profile on LinkedIn.  You can also

check out the LinkedIn profiles of Hope Life Skills graduates Hafzat Akanni, Valentina Gomez, or Manuel Rivas.

Once you’ve finished setting up your profile, connect with me.  You can find my LinkedIn profile by  putting my name, Stephen Cronin, in the inquiry bar at the top of the site.

Once my profile appears, click on the connect button.

This will send a message to me asking if I want to connect with you which I will.   I look forward to connecting with you on linkedin.  Please do this as soon as possible..

Today’s Homework: January 6, 2017

1. Last week’s homework asked you to read the first 21 pages in the Telling Your Story textbook.  The purpose of the assignment is to prepare you for your future challenges and opportunities for telling your story.  Job interviews.  College admissions interviews.  Meeting new people in networking opportunities.  Asking for a prom date.   You will encounter storytelling opportunities your entire life.  I’m 67 years old and I’m presented with storytelling opportunities each week.   Imagine you are at a college admissions interview.  Write the first paragraph of the story you will tell to the Admissions Director of a college you really want to go to.   Please send your well written opening paragraph of the story you will tell with good grammar, perfect spelling, short sentences and periods at the end of these short sentences to my email address no later than Thursday morning, January 12 at 3:45am.  Thank you.  I look forward to reading your story. 

2. Starting on page 20 and continuing onto page 21 in the Telling Your Story book, I introduced a very important part of storytelling.  It’s called “the ask“.    Please read these pages again to familiarize yourself with this part of storytelling.   Then, watch the following video from The Daily Show with Jon Stewart as he interviews Malala Yousafzai.  Malala shares her story of growing up in her Swat Valley neighborhood in northern Pakistan terrorized by a gang called the Taliban.  Listen to her words and observe her body language closely. Malala appears sincere and passionate as she tells her story. She speaks about the day when gang members came aboard her school bus and shot her in the head because she had been encouraging young girls to go to school when the Taliban forbid girls going to school.  Thankfully, Malala lived and continues to share her story and encourage girls to go and work hard in school.  See if you can figure out Malala’s ask as she shares her story with Jon Stewart and his international audience on the Daily Show.    Please state Malala’s ask ‘Malala’s ask’ in ONE well written sentence with good grammar, short sentences and periods at the end of this short sentence to my email address no later than Thursday morning, January 12 at 3:45am.  Thank you.    See you next Friday.  I’m looking forward to it.  We have another young guest, a student and business man from Syracuse University who, I believe, will be very successful and very rich some day soon.  Amazing.

Today’s Homework: December 16, 2016

1.   Please share with me, in a well written statement with good grammar, perfect spelling and short sentences, something you reflected upon or thought about during our conversation with Theresa.  Please send your well written reflection to my email address as soon as you can.  Thank you.

2. Please take a look at a preview of one of Theresa’s video productions about Title 9 titled “License to Thrive”. Please send Theresa an email either commenting on this preview of the film OR ask her a question about her company. Please send your comment or question to Theresa as soon as possible. Thank you.

Today’s Homework: December 9, 2016

1.  Please state one important lesson you learned today during Nan’s job interview role playing sessions and from her suggestions and comments.  Please send your lesson in a well written statement to my email address before Tuesday evening, 11:59pm.  Thank you.

2.  Last week you read pages 1 through 44 in our “Future” book posted on our web site.  Please tell me something you read that either informed you, surprised you or you questioned as realistic. Please send your answer in a well written statement to my email address before Tuesday evening, 11:59pm.  Thank you.


Today’s Homework: December 2, 2016

1.   Write an email to Don Mays, the Director of the Intercultural Center at Roger Williams University, to follow up our visit and conversation with him at the University.  Your email objective should be to make sure Don is an engaged member of your network, i.e. someone who cares about you and you can call upon for advice or help.   Your email should express your appreciation for the opportunity he provided by facilitating our campus visit and the advice he shared with you during our post-lunch conversation.  MAKE SURE YOU HAVE SOMEONE PROOF READ YOUR EMAIL BEFORE SENDING IT.  Remember, he recommended you should have someone check your college essay before sending it.  Any correspondence you have with any ‘important’ person should be proofed by a reliable person before sending.  YOUR WRITTEN COMMUNICATION AFFECTS YOUR BRAND.  Please write your email to Don IMMEDIATELY.  THE LONGER YOU WAIT, THE LESS EFFECTIVE YOUR NETWORKING IS.

2.  Please READ my vision of the FUTURE by accessing “The Future” book on this web site.  Please read the text and reflect on the photos from page 1 to page 44.  Please remember what the Roger Williams University student at the multi-cultural center told us about the amount of reading RWU professors assign. Reading is important in college and life.  The reading assignments are done to help you prepare you for what your professors and, potentially, your future bosses will ask of you. Furthermore, a secondary objective of this reading is for you to reflect on your future and begin to create a strategy for exploiting the opportunities and managing the challenges I believe you will encounter.

3.   Your 5 Year Vision plan.  Please complete Activity Six in “The Future” book on page 50 AND EMAIL YOUR ANSWERS TO ME BY 11:59PM ON TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6TH.  THANK YOU.

4. Constructive Criticism:  Please give me your candid, constructive feedback on things I could do to improve the next college tour for the Life Skills class.  Please give me your comments in well constructed sentences with perfect spelling and good grammar.   Please no ‘run on’ sentences; ( this means too many ideas in one sentence).  Thank you. Please send your comments to my email address by 11:59PM ON TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6TH.

Today’s Homework: October 28, 2016

1.  Please tell me something Carolina shared with us today that resonated with you or inspired you;  was there something Carolina’s said that made you reflect on your own life and your plans for future success?   Send me your reflection in a well written statement to my email address no later than Tuesday, November 1st, 11:59pm.

2.  Evaluation:  The Hope Life Skills class introduces and attempts to  develop the following skills and attitudes:  empathy, respect, responsibility, accountability, hard work, perseverance, the courage to extend oneself out of our comfort zone and resilience.   I am asking you to evaluate your performance in this class for the first two months of this school year based on criteria related to the aforementioned skills and attitudes like responsibility and respect.   Please send me the grade you believe corresponds to your performance from the grade criteria below no later than Tuesday, November 1st, by 11:59pm.  Please use the grade criteria below to determine a letter grade which is an honest and objective reflection of your class performance:

      A:  Perfect attendance and always on time.  For those days and times you were absent or late, you ALWAYS text or emailed Mr Cronin to inform him of your tardiness or absence beforehand.   You have completed every homework assignment.   AND, you have been a class host for at least one class or have asked at least a question of most class guests who have visited our class.

      B:   Only been absent one or two classes and late a few times at most.  For those few days and times you were absent or late, you ALWAYS text or emailed Mr Cronin to inform him of your tardiness or absence.  You’ve completed almost every homework assignment and you often ask a question of some of the guests who have visited our class.

      C:  You are often absent or late.  You rarely text or email Mr Cronin when you were going to be late or absent before the class. You have done some of the homework assignments and sometimes you ask a question of a guest.

       D:  You rarely do homework assignments.  You are usually absent or late to class.   You’ve never asked a question of any guest who have visited our class.

Thank you.  I look forward to reading your responses.

Today’s Homework: October 21, 2016

1.   One of the most powerful and important concepts in the Hope Life Skills program we will encounter this year is the concept of ‘change’.   I will be asking all of you to consider some ‘change’ in your life.   Your ‘change’ might be an attitude; maybe an opinion about something.    Or, it might be they way you do something or avoid something.   Why do I ask you to consider ‘change’?   Because ‘change’ is a fact of life;  it’s happening all around us, every day, often affecting our personal lives. ‘Change’ does not always have to be a ‘big’, ‘dramatic’, ‘180 degree, complete change’.  ‘Change’ can be ‘incremental; small steps’.   Yes, ‘change’ can be hard, challenging, intimidating and somewhat confusing.   But, ‘change’ can also lead to exciting new opportunities which change our life for the better!!  Whatever ‘changes’ we encounter and possibly consider, we should at least acknowledge ‘change’ happens every day in our world. I encourage you to be curious about these changes and learn about their potential consequences.  For those changes affecting our lives in a good way, we should either do something to take advantage of the opportunities or, if we decide not to act on a change, at least, justify to ourselves why we should wait.  Waiting can sometimes be the best answer  just as embracing a ‘change’ and acting now could be too.  It’s up to you to decide.   Finally, just think about the stories we’ve heard to date from our guests – Jason, Narine, Ali, Kalimah and Randy – and their attitude on ‘change’ and the changes they’ve embarked upon in their lives.    Read pages 1 through 40 in the “Story of Change” book posted on this web site.

Please don’t tell me you are “too busy”!

2179 Storm fron Bristol Hb_Merged Feathered

This photo was taken by professional photographer, Richard Benjamin. I use Richard’s photograph as a metaphor for a healthy perspective about ‘change’ in our lives.

Jason told us today he is taking 10 credits in college, has a full time job at his law firm, running his non-profit and always networking.  “Too busy” is a flimsy excuse.  Manage your time.  This is what Jason, Narine, Ali, Kalimah, Randy and every other successful person does to be successful.   Then,

tell me one thing you read or observed on these pages that made you think slightly different about ‘change’ in your life.

As always, your response should be well written with perfect spelling, good grammar, punctuation and sentence structure and sent to my email address by Tuesday, October 25th, 11:59pm.  Please, no run-on sentences.  And, thank you.

2.  Use your intuition about me, your teacher, to determine why I use this Richard Benjamin photograph as a metaphor for my perspective about ‘change’.

Please tell me what you think my perspective is on ‘change’ based on my use of Richard Benjamin’s photo on the cover of the “Change” textbook.

As always, please send your answer to my email address in a well written statement.   I’d appreciate receiving your answer no later than Tuesday, October 25th, 11:59pm.  Thank you.

Today’s homework: October 14, 2016

1.  Please tell me one thing Narine said that made you think.  Please send your answer to my email address in a well written statement, i.e. perfect spelling, good grammar, short sentences and your genuine reflection.  Please send me your answer by Tuesday, October 18, 2016 no later than 11:59pm.  Thank you.

2.  Please tell me something Kyara said or did during her introduction that either impressed you or made you think about your own decision to be a class host for a future Life Skills guests. Please send your answer to my email address in a well written statement, i.e. perfect spelling, good grammar, short sentences and your genuine reflection. Please send me your answer by Tuesday, October 18, 2016 no later than 11:59pm.  Thank you.

3. One of the objectives of Hope Life Skills is for you to reflect on ‘personal change’.  Yes, acknowledge the challenge and anxiety which comes with pushing out of our comfort zone to change.  However, let’s not  become intimidated by potential mistakes or embarrassment but focus on the rich opportunities that personal change can present us.   Here is a video of 2 young men who went to school for most of their lives to be trained as classical cellists for a major symphony orchestra.  However, one day a trusted mentor  suggested pushing out of their comfort zones to try a change;  to do something they may not have considered.  “What about taking a Michael Jackson song and just play the song with your cellos.  Rock music, not the symphony music you’ve been trained to play….”   They did.  They created a video for their musical interpretation of Michael Jackson’s classic song, “Smooth Criminal“.   Their video went viral!  Over 21,000,000 (million) views!!! A major entertainment star asked them to open his concert with their music.  Before long, they were booking their own concert performances.  They are famously known today as “The 2 Cellos”.  I hope you enjoy these videos.  Please share your reaction to the 2 Cellos story and music in an email to me before Tuesday, October 18th before 11:59pm.  Are you able to draw any lessons for your own quest to be successful?  Did the 2 Cellos make your reflect on how you view ‘personal change’?  Please be candid with your reaction.  I won’t be upset if you don’t like them or see any relevance in their story.   This activity is simply about considering perspectives from different people to improve our empathy and expanding our horizons of what is possible. Thank you.

Here’s 2 more videos on the 2 Cellos pushing out of their comfort zone to explore new opportunities.

Today’s Class and Homework: September 9, 2016

Today’s class opened the 2016-2017 Hope Life Skills program.  The message to students was hopefully clear:  the Hope Life Skills

mission is to introduce and develop critical life skills for students to maximize their abundant potential for their life time success.

After 13 years of teaching at Hope High, the students have repeatedly proven their intelligence, resilience, respect, curiosity, creativity and empathyTo maximize this obvious and impressive student talent, the Hope Life Skills program focuses on introducing and developing other skills, ‘life skills’, sometimes called ‘soft skills’.  From networking and brand development to collaboration and critical thinking, these are the skills the world’s top companies, from Google to CVS Health, are demanding from their 21st century employees” I said in today’s class.  “This is what we will focus on”.

On Thursday, September 15th, several of this year’s Life Skills students will attend

the all day BIF 11 Forum at the Trinity Theatre in Providence.

Successful people from all over the world share their personal stories of success.  Stories reveal challenges pushing out of their comfort zones, being curious, overcoming challenges, often adversity, and finding trusting mentors on their journey to  be successful.   All within 15 minutes. On the Trinity stage, in front of hundreds of listeners.  The Hope Life Skills student objective for the forum is straightforward – start building a network of successful, ethical, interesting people.  In order to do this, students will need to exhibit their positive personal brand with good communication skills like respectful, attentive body language, listening and observing, eye contact, a firm handshake, ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, a genuine smile, and questions, all followed by a respectful request for a business card.  Admission, breakfast and lunch, and the opportunity to meet and speak with interesting people will be available, free of charge.  It will be a fun and interesting day.  Students interested in going to BIF need to email their request to me at

no later than Sunday, September, 11:59pm.

BIF 10photo

BIF 10. One of the Forum’s storytellers on stage at Trinity.  This storyteller was sharing his story about his recent brain operation and showing the video he asked doctors to take when doctors opened his skull to remove a malignant tumor.

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Hope Life Skills students Gisabel Salcedo (left) and Fernando Perez (right) share conversation after lunch with one of the BIF story tellers. This BIF storyteller shared her story about becoming  a professional singer/songwriter.

Homework -

  1. Read pages 1 through 28 in the book entitled “The Development of the American Brand in the Twentieth Century” posted on the Hope Life Skills web site (
  2. Send me 1 (one) question about this reading.    Please know that there is no ‘best’ or ‘perfect’ question I’m looking for.   If you are curious about something you read or there is something you want to know related to the reading, or something you thought about as you read these pages, this, then, is the ‘best’ question I am looking for.
  3. send to me your question, electronically, to before Monday, September 13, 11:59pm.