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Randy Pausch Qoute


Last year, AYA began the practice of assigning a book for all High School faculty, staff and students to read over the summer in order to prepare for a theme of focus for the coming school year.

Our goal is to spark cross-curricular lessons and collaboration. Also, the book should provide discussion points between students at different grade levels, teachers and students, and Judaics and General studies. The book also serves as a launching point for our high school theme for the year. 

This year, we will explore the question, “What does it mean to leave a legacy?”

The Last Lecture

The theme of LEGACY will be woven into our classwork, our discussions, our community work, and our individual journeys. To begin this inquiry, our summer reading is The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch.  (link for purchase, any edition)

Randy Pausch was a computer science professor at Carnegie Mellon University. The school has an important yearly tradition; they ask one professor to give their “last lecture” to the school. The professor is asked to design the lecture with these questions in mind: What wisdom would you impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance? If you had to vanish tomorrow, what would you want as your legacy? 

On September 18, 2007, Dr. Pausch delivered his lecture titled “Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams.” This would truly be his last lecture because, at the age of 47, Pausch had been diagnosed with terminal pancreatic cancer, which he died from approximately 10 months after he delivered his lecture on campus. During the time between those events, he and journalist Jeffrey Zaslow wrote his lecture in book form for future generations.


After you read the entire book, select a total of 10 ideas that impacted you most, from the beginning, middle, and end of the book. In paragraph or chart form, address the following for each, in complete sentences

  • Quote his idea from the book, with page number citation.
  • Why is this idea important to you? 
  • How could this idea make you or others better people? 
  • Based on this idea, what type of legacy do you want to leave behind? What important ideas, beliefs, experiences, habits do you want to share? 

This is due Monday, August 22 and will be used in all classes. 

This assignment is the first step on your journey to determine the personal legacy you want to leave when you graduate and throughout your life after high school!

Please note: AP English classes have assignments that have already been assigned.