Monday, September 26, 2011


The woman on the right is Donna Protter. She and her mother, Lucille Fasanella, were profiled in the third article in the Slate series (Lucille is the one who saved her beautiful sample book and was flagged as a "troublemaker" by the school's staff). On the left is my friend and researcher extraordinaire Diane George, who found Donna and her family about six months ago.

Donna and Diane were among the 20 or so people who joined me for a Permanent Record party this past Saturday. I was so busy talking, thanking people, and generally feeling happy that I didn't take nearly as many photographs as I should have, but here are a few shots.

These are my longtime friends Daniel Radosh and Gina Duclayan:


It was at Gina's birthday party back in 1996 that I found the report cards, so it's not a stretch to say that the entire project started with her. She and Daniel took a large batch of cards that night, saved them for over a decade, later donated them to me for the purposes of this project. I'm super-grateful to them for all their help and support.

The two guys in this horribly composed photo are Kenny Lauterbach (on the left) and Matt Weingarden:


They're the other two friends were took some report cards that night back in 1996. They too saved their cards for more than a decade and then donated them to me. Matt has been one of my closest friends for many years, but I hadn't seen or spoken to Kenny in ages until I decided to pursue the Permanent Record project.

This is Dr. Robert LaPorta, the son-in-law of Marie Garaventa, whose report card was featured in the first and second installment of the Slate series:


Robert's wife is Doretta LaPorta, Marie's daughter, who I interviewed extensively for the series. Unfortunately, Doretta wasn't able to join us on Saturday because of a family emergency, but I was extremely happy that Robert came in her stead. They were both incredibly gracious about having a stranger visiting their home and asking all sorts of personal questions.

Many people who read the Slate series mentioned how much they liked the photo interface. That tool was designed by this guy, Slate designer Jeremy Singer-Vine:


Jeremy actually left Slate before the series was published (he took a new gig at the Wall Street Journal) but continued to work on the project during our final week of production, on his own time. I can't thank him enough for all his contributions to the finished product.

There were lots of other people in attendance, but I didn't get decent photos of them. Still, it was a great time, and a nice way to conclude this phase of Permanent Record.

I say "this phase" because I hope to continue researching and writing. Maybe there will be a book, or maybe there will be more Slate articles. And there will definitely be more material here on the blog. Stay tuned.

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I'll be discussing Permanent Record Tuesday morning on "The Brian Lehrer Show" (WNYC radio). My segment is due to start at 11:40am Eastern. You can access the live audio here, and I'll link to the archived audio once it's up on the WNYC web site.

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