Essays

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A fourth-grade classroom photo of a whiteboard with a collaboratively written poem about stars hand-written in black marker.

Children on the edge: a fourth-grade poetry teacher mourns Uvalde

They were fourth graders.

Anndee Hochman is a parent. She remembers what a horrible day for schoolkids used to mean: sniffles, the dentist’s chair, lima beans for dinner. Today, she teaches fourth graders. The fourth graders who are still alive.
Anndee Hochman

Anndee Hochman

Essays 6 minute read
Christina, an Indian American woman in her 30s, doing stand-up in front of a black curtain. She smiles and holds a mic.

My comedy career was taking off, but so was my anxiety. Here’s how I learned to handle it.

Losing sleep over laughs

Christina Anthony thought she was good at coping with stress, until she discovered she wanted to be a stand-up comic.
Christina Anthony

Christina Anthony

Essays 5 minute read
Four bagels on a small slate platter, one plain, two with sesame seeds, and one with poppy seeds, and a tub of cream cheese.

I just saved someone’s life. It’s easy if you know how.

A crisis at the kids’ table

The world seems chaotic and hopeless, especially over the last two years. It’s easy to feel powerless in the wake of so much grief, but Roz Warren discovered that being ready to save a life really matters in the moment.
Roz Warren

Roz Warren

Essays 5 minute read
A scene from Rent: 15 ensemble members in colorful 90s garb standing on an around a long table, raising one fist in the air.

The Kimmel Cultural Campus presents the Rent 25th Anniversary Farewell Tour

Why take Gen Z to a 90s icon?

After a BSR podcast conversation between Gen X and Gen Z Rent lovers, Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer takes her teenager to experience Rent live, finding out whether Jonathan Larson speaks to a new generation.
Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

Gabrielle Kaplan-Mayer

Essays 5 minute read
A photo from inside a scenic mountain cave in Puerto Rico, showing two people in silhouette in front of a grand tropical view

What happens when you’re living a story that someone else handed you?

Who’s really telling your story?

The painful end of a long friendship helped teach Michelle Chikaonda about the power of owning her own story—thanks also to a return to another favorite Hamilton song.
Michelle Chikaonda

Michelle Chikaonda

Essays 5 minute read
A smiling outdoor selfie of the three walkers. They are white and have short gray hair. Bare winter trees are behind them

What Walk Around Philadelphia taught me about our city’s borders—and my own

Here, there, home

Anndee Hochman’s Walk Around Philadelphia began as a refuge from the first year of the pandemic, but as her route continued into 2022, she remembered that living in Philly is a lifetime of crossings.
Anndee Hochman

Anndee Hochman

Essays 5 minute read
Hiller’s eyes are framed over a black background with the text I Am Not Your BIPOC.

Why terms like “people of color” are a dangerous de-evolution of language

I am not your BIPOC

“People of color,” “BIPOC,” “Latinx,” and others have become household terms in the last five years in America. But with their origins largely ignored, these terms are becoming dangerous to the people they represent. Kyle V. Hiller considers.
Kyle V. Hiller

Kyle V. Hiller

Essays 5 minute read
On a yellow background, a stack of 12 poetry books, including Walt Whitman, Pablo Neruda, Lucille Clifton & Emily Dickinson

Poetry at Payne Tech: Finding the words that show where you’re from

The people who write poems

Writer Anndee Hochman makes space for poetry at a New Jersey school of technology, where students prepare for a national contest, and appreciate the masks they’re tired of wearing.
Anndee Hochman

Anndee Hochman

Essays 5 minute read

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A snapshot of a snowy, small town with a couple of house complexes in the distance under a partly cloudy, blue sky

How working in journalism in rural Pennsylvania opened a new perspective

Learning to serve communities better

Isabel Soisson, a Philly-bred journalist with experience working in New York City, contemplates the differences in rural America that go unspoken and why it's important to capture the whole picture.
Isabel Soisson

Isabel Soisson

Essays 6 minute read
Two male cast members, in splendid blue 18th-century coats, face each other onstage. One has a quill in his outstretched hand

Surviving New Year’s 2022 means finding the story that’s true for you

What Washington knew

This year, Michelle Chikaonda marked the anniversary of her father’s passing with a trip to see Hamilton in Philly, which reminded her that we can’t control life’s chaos—but we can find the right story.
Michelle Chikaonda

Michelle Chikaonda

Essays 6 minute read