Education: Wish Granted

The father didn't know what to do with his obstreperous teen-aged son—until he spotted the poster announcing a new sort of school. The school taught only one subject; it had only one teacher and only one classroom on the seventh floor of a dingy Chicago office building. But that day in 1896, the father entered his son just the same. He wanted the teacher, he said, to give his boy "personal attention."

Irish-born Teacher John Gregg had no alternative but to carry out the father's wishes: the boy happened to be his first and only pupil. Six months later, he was also...

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