Congratulations are in order for Scott Blumstein. He just won $8.15 million in prize money as the champion of The World Series of Poker that was just held in Las Vegas. Scott is not a former student of mine, but he did graduate from Morristown High School, where I teach, and I remember him well from his presence in the hallways. I’m not sure why that is, because I don’t remember him as particularly loud, boisterous or charismatic in any particular way.
What is astounding is that he emerged at the age of 25, from a field of 7221, to win in his first time ever, to become the champion.
While we might want to downplay this achievement as unworthy of respect, educational recognition, or even admiration ( it is gambling after all and we might want to justify our envy by citing dumb luck ) I would argue quite the opposite. Scott’s achievement is an educational model. It was born of an intense curiosity, that quickly became a passion. It then became a goal, need, desire and obsession. Scott spent countless hours practicing his skills through the direct experience of competition. I’m sure he lost at first, but he learned from his failures and remained focussed and persistent. In addition he put in extraordinary amounts of time researching strategies, masters of the game, and new techniques. Finally, he tested his skills in the ultimate test – real world performance on a real world stage.
The proof is in the pudding, and not that money is the measure, but Scott has made more money at the age of 25, doing what he loves, then I will make in my lifetime.
CO-FOUNDER & President
John Madden has been teaching for the past 18 years. He entered the field after working for a General Contracting and Engineering firm in the Greater Metropolitan area for over a decade. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins University. John’s work over the past 5 years specifically, as both a teacher and the Instructional Leader of the Humanities, has centered on the creation and maintenance of the Classic Academy. This program is designed to elicit and privilege the passions of its students, and culminates in a major presentation of public work. John resides in New Jersey.