Wendy Kopp: I remember our first corps of 500 folks, at the end of our training institute out here in Los Angeles. They were ready to go, ready to change the world, and some of the most inspirational among them had given powerful and rousing speeches. This is not a clueless group of people, and it’s not a white, privileged group of people. It’s a very diverse group of people. Some of them grew up in the communities in which we were going to be placing others. Very big range of backgrounds. But I still remember, when they started teaching, they hit the wall very early on as they saw our country’s greatest challenges playing out before their eyes. Kids who face extreme challenges that many of us would find to be inconceivable, who were bringing them into classrooms and schools that really were never set up to meet their extra needs. Survival became the mantra. If we can stick it out in the classrooms with the kids, that’s a victory. And I think what happened was a few of those people, over time, through going through their own learning curves, figured out not just how to survive, but how to actually help put their kids on a different trajectory. That began the real journey of Teach For America. And at the heart of that journey has been really learning from the most successful among our teachers. And understanding from them what it took to actually get their kids invested in working incredibly hard in pursuit of a great education, and what it would take to actually instill in them the self-advocacy skills — as well as the academic skills — necessary to actually have many greater options than they otherwise would.