By Philip Schueler
Students in Richard Cook's A.P. U.S. History class were treated to a special visit by former North Cross student and current UVa third-year Daniel Wendell, who delivered a guest lecture about the administration of John F. Kennedy and the era of the 1960s.
Wendell spent almost 14 years as a student of North Cross and said he was incredibly nostalgic during his visit. When asked about how the school helped prepare him for college, Wendell said the school allowed him to develop personal relationships with his teachers and mentors who continue to support him today.
"It truly was teachers like Mr. Cook, Señor Douglas and many more that gave me some of the tools I use to excel in the classroom," Wendell said.
"The extremely small nature of North Cross and the personal relationships each student makes with the teachers help give students the communication skills necessary to go to office hours and create relationships with professors and teaching assistants."
Wendell has known Cook since he was his student at North Cross five years ago, when his interest in government and political science began. Wendell said that the reason he attended UVa was the human relationships and opportunities it provided.
"In short, the people and the opportunities. I have been able to continue spending time with people who I have grown up with at North Cross along with make more lifelong relationships," Wendell said. "UVA has some of the brightest students, which I am reminded of when trying to beat the curve on exams."
While at UVa, Wendell has been exposed to experienced and respected professors such as Larry Sabato, who wrote the book The Kennedy Half Century.
"Sabato is a renowned political analyst and historian who appears on CNN and other forms of media almost weekly," Wendell said. "I am lucky enough to find myself in a small class co-taught by Larry Sabato and Kenneth Stroupe. Professor Sabato's intense nature and passion for the subject make for a great class."
Cook enjoyed seeing Wendell again after so many years and marveled at his perseverance and strength, both in the classroom and out.
"Daniel has made a remarkable comeback from some serious personal issues - last Friday was the first time I have seen Daniel in an academic setting since he left North Cross - not an easy thing to return to your high school and put on a performance to students not that much younger then you, but he did well," Cook said. "I think the fact that he is a Junior at UVa speaks highly of a remarkable turn around both personally and academically."