Earlier this week in our COJO 111 class, we joyfully welcomed back a student who missed the Oct. 7 lecture. Yung Jen Vang is a first-year student who always greets the three of us co-teaching the class, as well as her peers, with a warm smile and kind hello. When we saw her back in class, we all had really huge grins: “Welcome back! How are you? We are so happy to see you again!”
Last week, while walking home from studying on the south campus, Yung (above right, with fellow student April Sandquist) was hit by a truck in the intersection of Cretin and Summit avenues. When she returned to class, eager to get back to learning, she told us of that eventful evening. She detailed how she had been tossed 25 feet into the air after being struck by the wayward truck. We all gasped, shocked at how she could have survived such a blow (and maybe more stunned she was standing in class, just one week later, telling us about it). She doesn’t recall the impact, remembering only the walk signal telling her it was safe to step into the street.
And then, with a nod to our course textbook sitting on her desk, she told us what her doctors had told her: if she hadn’t been carrying her textbooks and laptop in her backpack, she wouldn’t have survived. When she was launched into the darkness, the books on her back softened her fall to the earth. Her textbooks, literally, had saved her life.
As a class, the week before, we took a moment to offer a prayer for Yang and her swift recovery. We now offer a prayer of thanks for her good health (and textbooks, of course).