Henry Middle School 8th-grade QUEST students hosted LISD Superintendent Bruce Gearing as part of their study of Apartheid in South Africa. Dr. Gearing shared cultural keepsakes and stories from his upbringing and young adulthood growing up in the segregated country, as well as perspective on the challenges South Africa faces post-Apartheid.

Cultural keepsakes from Gearing’s life in South Africa.

“As a child, Apartheid was just a part of life. As I got older, I started to realize how wrong that was. When I was in college, Nelson Mandela was freed from prison. As white people, we lied to ourselves a lot. We justified our system by saying that our economy and society depended on this. It was hard for us to come to the conclusion that it was wrong and that we needed to change for the betterment of all citizens.

“I taught for a year at the school in Soweto, a black township outside Johannesburg. We had voluntary tutorials on Saturday, and I remember that every single student of mine showed up in their uniforms. They knew that education was their way out of poverty.”

Bruce Gearing, Ed.D.

The presentation was recorded and will be made available throughout the district as students study the oppression of people of color and the fight for equality led by Nelson Mandela.

Gearing began his career teaching science and math at the high school level, including three years at international schools. He proudly became a United States citizen in 2010.