Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Letter About Kalypso

Kalypso's teacher for AP European History and Anthropology, Mr. Steven Pape, asked parents to write a brief letter introducing their children to him. Here is what I wrote.

Dear Mr. Steven Pape,
As you asked for a brief letter introducing you to my daughter Kalypso Homan as an individual and as a learner, here is my response:
Kalypso has always been exceptionally bright. I remember when she was five-years-old, and she heard the story of Icarus’s flight that ultimately failed due to his hubris and the sun’s heat melting the wax that attached the feathers to his wings. Kalypso wisely pointed out that Icarus should have flown at night.
Kalypso as a child was very outgoing and she fought to make the world a better place. This was especially true after the levee failure and the devastation of our house and most of New Orleans. After attending a school in Nebraska for several months, many people were surprised to hear that we were moving back to New Orleans to rebuild. The “Bourbon Street” inspired stereotype of New Orleans led many to believe that New Orleans was an ill-suited environment for children. In response, Kalypso made a short video entitled “Kalypso’s New Orleans”. The video is charming, and it represents New Orleans well, and it currently has 65,000 views on Youtube.
As a teenager, Kalypso’s personality dramatically changed, as she entered a phase in which she decided she was “introverted,” to use her apt description. The film character Margot Tenenbaum became her behavioral model. Kalypso presented herself as an apathetic emotionless wall. It was hard for me to get a handle on how she was doing and I worried about her.  But now, slowly, I am seeing signs that her confidence and her ability to communicate are returning. I hear from friends of mine associated with Lusher that Kalypso is excelling. I was very proud of her leadership role on the robotics team. I know that she worked very hard on her grades in order to become a National Merit Scholar. More recently, she conducted field research at Tulane to study the effects of the BP oil spill, and she successfully completed three Tulane courses (Painting, Hebrew Bible, and The Trojan War). My biggest concern for her at the moment is that, at times, Kalypso seems to be fearful of greatness.
This senior year will be challenging for Kalypso. In addition to her many difficult courses at Lusher, she is currently enrolled at Tulane in GenChem and GenChem Lab, of which a Tulane official advised her: “Chem is a graveyard for many students. She really needs to consider if this course is for her.” Also, this academic year Kalypso will choose a college to attend.
I am very proud of Kalypso, and though I fear that I put undue pressure on her by saying so, I honestly expect great things from her. I hope and expect that you will enjoy getting to know her in your AP European History and Anthropology course.
Signed Michael Homan


David said...

I just rewatched Kalypso's video and found it very moving. I remember watching those parades at Lee Circle with y'all. And it's quite something to see how much smaller Kalypso and Gil were then. They're both great kids.

Judy Thorne said...

What a great video. Quite a talented child you have there!