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'Death Class' Taught Students A Lot About Life

by NPR Staff
Jan 19, 2014 (Weekend Edition Sunday)

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Death Class

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Plenty of college courses delve into the big philosophical questions of life, but Norma Bowe's class was different. For years, the nurse and college professor taught a class that forced students to confront death head-on — there were poems about death, trips to cemeteries and funeral homes, and "goodbye letter" writing assignments. At its core, the class became an opportunity for students to try to come to grips with the death or pending death of a loved one in their own lives.

In Death Class, journalist Erika Hayasaki — who covered the 2007 shootings at Virginia Tech — tells the story of the class and the students whose lives were changed by it. Click the audio link above to hear Rachel Martin's conversation with Bowe and Hayasaki.

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