Based on a beloved teacher’s most popular lesson, The Priority List is a bold, inspirational story of learning, love, and legacy that challenges us to ask: What truly matters in life?
David Menasche lived for his work as a high school English teacher. His passion inspired his students, and between lessons on Shakespeare and sentence structure, he forged a unique bond with his kids, buoying them through personal struggles while sharing valuable life lessons.
When a six-year battle with brain cancer ultimately stole David’s vision, memory, mobility, and—most tragically of all—his ability to continue teaching, he was devastated by the thought that he would no longer have the chance to impact his students’ lives each day.
But teaching is something Menasche just couldn’t quit. Undaunted by the difficult road ahead of him, he decided to end his treatments and make life his classroom. Cancer had robbed him of his past and would most certainly take his future; he wouldn’t allow it to steal his present. He turned to Facebook with an audacious plan: a journey across America— by bus, by train, by red-tipped cane—in hopes of seeing firsthand how his kids were faring in life. Had he made a difference? Within forty-eight hours of posting, former students in more than fifty cities replied with offers of support and shelter.
Traveling more than eight thousand miles from Miami to New York, to America’s heartland and San Francisco’s Golden Gate, and visiting hundreds of his students, David’s fearless journey explores the things we all want and need out of life—family, security, independence, love, adventure—and forces us to stop to consider our own Priority List.
About the Author
David Menaschemajored in journalism at Eugene Lang
College and the New School for Social Research. He later earned his
teacher certification from Florida International University and taught
at the renowned Coral Reef Senior High School for fifteen years. In
2012, he was awarded Teacher of the Year by his region. He lives in New
In this poignant and inspiring memoir, a beloved high school English teacher with terminal brain cancer undertakes a cross-country journey to reunite with his former students in order to find out if he made a difference in their lives, discovering along the way what is truly important in life.