If we had gone to school with DonorsChoose.org founder Charles Best or the organization’s friend Mindy Kaling, we’re certain we would have spent some time in detention lockdown for passing notes.

We caught up with the two to talk about their own school days, and just as we suspected: the answers are a nice diversion from our daily duties.


Class superlative

In junior kindergarten, I got a certificate on my first day of school because I knew how to tie my shoes.

Most hated cafeteria food

Beef stroganoff. And to this day I can’t eat mayonnaise because of what we would do with the mayonnaise in our school cafeteria. I’ll leave it at that.

Favorite childhood book

Danny, Champion of the World by Roald Dahl in early years, and then Roald Dahl’s Going Solo later on.

Favorite recess game

Soccer, and we would play Stoop, a New York City game.

Inspirational teacher

My high school English teacher and wrestling coach, Mr. Buxton, made me want to be a teacher because he made you feel like he wanted you on his team. I figured that if anyone ever looked up to me the way that I looked up to Mr. Buxton, I’d have done my share.



Favorite childhood book

When I was older, it was House of Mirth by Edith Wharton. Younger: Harriet the Spy. I looked like her. If you look at illustrations from the original book, I’m identical to her.

What type of student were you?

I didn’t talk until I was 15; I was a really studious, obedient kid. I’m proud to say I don’t know what the inside of our detention hall looked like. I was so overlooked when I was in high school and junior high that I was like a ghost, but then I went to college and I started being expressive.

Favorite school subject

Latin. I loved ancient Rome. It was so violent and sexy and interesting: things like Mount Vesuvius erupting and the remains of Pompeii. When you’re in seventh grade, that’s as close as you get to sex.

Inspirational teacher

When I was in 11th grade, I took a satire course with Roger Stacey. He really thought of Saturday Night Live as art. I wish I could take the class again.

Favorite school supply

I’ll still swipe a Hello Kitty pencil case to throw in some lipstick.

If I could teach any class…

Writing dialogue for the screen or the stage is a completely different skill-set than writing English essays. Writing little plays for me and my brother to act out in front of my parents was one of my great joys growing up.


Gardner in Whiskey Tortoise

More on our partnership with DonorsChoose.org here

Tags: , , , ,