Alumni, Middle School

National Political Correspondent and Author Visits Northwest

On April 18, Washington, D.C. political correspondent and Northwest School alumnus Reid Wilson ’01 visited the school to speak to students about his new book Epidemic: Ebola and the Global Scramble to Prevent the Next Killer Outbreak.

Reid writes for the renowned Washington, D.C. based political newspaper The Hill. He previously covered politics for The Washington Post and is the former editor-in-chief of The National Journal's "The Hotline." He has also appeared as a pundit on MSNBC, CNN, and C-SPAN.

Eighth grade students, who have studied Africa and world health this year, asked Reid about the details of the Ebola virus, such as how it operates, how it spreads so quickly, and what changed in the realm of world health after the outbreak. Reid mentioned how the 2014 Ebola outbreak was a turning point for the world in responding to outbreaks.

"After the outbreak, Congress spent about $5.4 billion improving public health," Reid explained. "Some of that money went to creating public health organizations that operate like mini versions of the Center for Disease Control in other countries around the world, and virus surveillance began in 49 countries."

He added that concerted effort between multiple countries and organizations produced a vaccine for Ebola, and virus surveillance has helped save lives around the globe.

At the same time, Reid warned that funding from Congress will soon dry up for surveillance and reduce the scope of the project to just 10 countries.

Students also asked how Reid organized his research and managed to complete the daunting challenge of writing a book.

"The five-paragraph essay is the fundamental structure of all writing you will ever do," Reid told the students, acknowledging that he first learned these skills at The Northwest School. "Tell them what you are going to tell them, tell them, and tell them what you told them. That structure is perfect."

The Middle School curriculum consciously focuses on writing skills, 8th grade Humanities teacher Jeff Blair explains. He notes that 8th grade is the year where much of the work practiced in the 6th and 7th grades culminate in the five-paragraph essay.

Says Jeff: "It is validating to have someone who writes professionally remember his Northwest School education as formative and effective.”

Click here for more information on Epidemic: Ebola and the Global Scramble to Prevent the Next Killer Outbreak.