Jan Cheripko was born in West Point, NY, and attended Orange County Community College from 1970-1972 and then continued on to get his BA in 1974 from St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkhill, New York. He began his career as a reporter and editor for newspapers in New York. Since then, he has been invited to speak to students, educators, and parents around the nation about the issues he sees on a daily basis, which include writing, literature, heroes, and the “at-risk” students. He has also been a featured speaker at the National Council of Teachers of English, the International Reading Association, and the American Association of Adolescent and Children Psychiatrists. Currently, he is an English teacher at The Family School, a private school in upstate New York that specializes in helping and educating potentially “at-risk” teenagers.