Author Lorene Cary visited an Essentially English class, “Testifying and Recanting,” to discuss her memoir “Black Ice,” about attending a New Hampshire boarding school on scholarship in the 1970s. (Photo by Laura Jamieson)

Author Lorene Cary visited an Essentially English class, “Testifying and Recanting,” to discuss her memoir “Black Ice,” about attending a New Hampshire boarding school on scholarship in the 1970s. (Photo by Laura Jamieson)

Philadelphia author Lorene Cary visited a Germantown Friends School English class on Friday, April 11, to discuss her memoir “Black Ice.” The course, “Testifying and Recanting”– about memoir and autobiographical writing – is part of the GFS Essentially English program, which offers eight-week course electives to students in grades 10-12 (as well as parents and other adults in the GFS community) focusing on a wide array of subjects, genres and perspectives.

Cary has published multiple nonfiction books and novels, including “The Price of a Child,” which was the “One Book, One Philadelphia” reading program selection in 1995. She also teaches creative writing at the University of Pennsylvania.

Cary spoke about her personal experiences, depicted in the book, of attending New Hampshire’s St. Paul’s boarding school on a scholarship while being, what she calls, “an urban black girl” from a working-class neighborhood in Philadelphia.

Growing up in two worlds was a challenging but ultimately revealing experience for Cary.

“I needed to learn spiritually,” she told the class. “I needed to learn socially … and I needed to learn how to go back home again.”

The students asked her about her inspirations, motivations and writing process.

“It was fantastic for the students to meet her after having read her memoir about her own experiences in high school,” said GFS English teacher Robin Friedman. “Now they’re excited to write two chapters of their own original memoirs.”