Judy Wenzel Visit


Judy Wenzel reading part of her book ( PC: Fiona McKillop)

Around 2:10 on Feb. 10th, Community High students and staff quickly filled up the seats, facing the East towards the bookshelves, and were given a sheets of paper filled with statistics about Incarceration (IncarcerationStats (1)). A window was propped open in order to let some fresh air in the compacted media center. John Boshoven, a CHS counselor, stands in front of the students and staff and introduces Judy Wenzel with some of his jokes.

Wenzel spent 25 years in a Michigan prison with people who have been incarcerated. During her time in there, she taught English, civics, and U.S History. As she spent some time in the prison, she started to write a book about her experience in the prison and her students.

As she stands in front of the students and staff, she starts reading of her book. Her voice fills the room and the words capture the students’ attention. The crowd bursts with laughter while Wenzel describes the humorous students she taught in the prison. Wenzel wants to quash these rumors about incarcerated people by providing her experience in the prison while teaching them.

“I learned to see them whole,” Wenzel said, describing the unique way she looked at her students. “Once incarcerated, Society lets their crimes define them.”