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An unforgettable year in the life of a visionary high school science teacher and his award-winning students, as they try to get into college, land a date for the prom . . . and possibly change the world
Andy Bramante left his successful career as a corporate scientist to teach public high school—and now helms one of the most remarkable classrooms in America. Bramante’s unconventional class at Connecticut’s prestigious yet diverse Greenwich High School has no curriculum, tests, textbooks, or lectures, and is equal parts elite research lab, student counseling office, and teenage hangout spot. United by a passion to learn, Mr. B.’s band of whiz kids set out every year to conquer the brutally competitive science fair circuit. They have won the top prize at the Google Science Fair, made discoveries that eluded scientists three times their age, and been invited to the Nobel Prize ceremony in Stockholm.
A former Emmy-winning producer for CBS News, Heather Won Tesoriero embeds in this dynamic class to bring Andy and his gifted, all-too-human kids to life—including William, a prodigy so driven that he’s trying to invent diagnostics for artery blockage and Alzheimer’s (but can’t quite figure out how to order a bagel); Ethan, who essentially outgrows high school in his junior year and founds his own company to commercialize a discovery he made in the class; Sophia, a Lyme disease patient whose ambitious work is dedicated to curing her own debilitating ailment; Romano, a football player who hangs up his helmet to pursue his secret science expertise and develop a “smart” liquid bandage; and Olivia, whose invention of a fast test for Ebola brought her science fair fame and an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
We experience the thrill of discovery, the heartbreak of failed endeavors, and perhaps the ultimate high: a yes from Harvard. Moving, funny, and utterly engrossing, The Class is a superb account of hard work and high spirits, a stirring tribute to how essential science is in our schools and our lives, and a heartfelt testament to the power of a great teacher to help kids realize their unlimited potential.
Praise for The Class
“Captivating . . . Journalist Tesoriero left her job at CBS News to embed herself in Bramante’s classroom for the academic year, and she does this so successfully, a reader forgets she is even there. Her skill at drawing out not only Bramante but also the personal lives, hopes and concerns of these students is impressive. . . . It is a fascinating glimpse of a teaching environment that most public school teachers will never know.”—The Washington Post
About the Author
Heather Won Tesoriero was an Emmy-winning producer for CBS News and has been a reporter at The Wall Street Journal, Time, and Newsweek. A Korean adoptee who was discovered on a doorstep when she was just a few days old, she grew up on the eastern end of Long Island and now lives in New York City with her husband and two young daughters.
“Captivating . . . Journalist Tesoriero left her job at CBS News to embed herself in Bramante’s classroom for the academic year, and she does this so successfully, a reader forgets she is even there. Her skill at drawing out not only Bramante but also the personal lives, hopes and concerns of these students is impressive. Clearly, she created a level of trust that enabled her to tell their stories so honestly and compellingly. . . . It is a fascinating glimpse of a teaching environment that most public school teachers will never know.”—The Washington Post
“Schools matter. The teachers inside those schools matter. The Class shows us what amazing things can happen when those two things come together. . . . [The Class is] more than a story of Andy Bramante and his students. It’s also a roadmap to improving our educational systems and the unimaginable bounties waiting if we do.”—Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Tesoriero’s account should serve as a reminder of what our schools can be, everywhere in America. . . . The [students’] stories are both heartbreaking and inspiring. In the end, one cannot help but root for all of these talented teenagers. ”—Bookreporter
“[An] inspiring account of how a high school science teacher mentors and motivates his prize-winning pupils . . . The students’ kindnesses, worries, feuds, and projects are . . . sketched so lovingly that readers cannot help rooting for them. With its winning mix of human-interest and scientific innovation, this book will appeal to general readers and fans of pop science alike.”—Publishers Weekly
“Tesoriero, a former TV news producer and newspaper reporter, captures with humor and empathy the lives and dreams of an extraordinary group of students. . . . Tesoriero makes a strong case for the importance of science and inspirational teachers. . . . Recommended for readers of Alexandra Robbins’s works, The Overachievers: The Secret Lives of Driven Kids and The Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth.”—Library Journal
“A riveting look at a year in the life of an inspiring teacher and how he is helping kids create amazing and award-winning science projects. With the turn of every page, we see the joys of discovery and the immense satisfaction this brings to Andy Bramante, who made a life choice that transforms his students’ lives every day.”—Walter Isaacson, author of the New York Times bestseller Steve Jobs
“In The Class, a devoted teacher and his driven students provide something like a perfect picture of what it means to be human: striving with a noble purpose, failing with resilience, and always finding humor and humanity even in the face of tremendous pressure. Both teacher and students will surely teach you many things, but perhaps more important than the lessons is the sheer wonder inhabiting these pages. In its light you will be transported to a place and time of life when the simple desire to reach for the undiscovered can lead to remarkable achievements. This book is a remarkable achievement.”—Jeff Hobbs, author of the New York Times bestseller The Short and Tragic Life of Robert Peace
“Heather Won Tesoriero’s breezy, even whimsical voice coupled with her off-the-charts emotional intelligence and stunning powers of observation launches The Class into one of its own.”—Jonathan LaPook, M.D., chief medical correspondent, CBS News