The stunning kids of Norristown High

Monday, December 13, 2010

I never quite know what is going to happen when I enter into the world of students, and earlier today, thanks to Asha Verma of the Montgomery County-Norristown Public Library, I spent an hour and a half with the ninth graders of Norristown High School—students who had read Dangerous Neighbors as an independent reading project and who had questions they wanted answered.

We created classified ads declaring our secret ambitions or yearnings (WANTED:  Peace.  WANTED:  Fluency.  WANTED:   Summer freedom.  WANTED:  One more chance to say goodbye.  WANTED:  Sunday, Again.  WANTED:  Someone to look up to.).  We identified those 2010 world phenomena that, were the kids in charge of a contemporary world exhibition, would get top billing:  Puerto Rican culture, iPads, student grades and grading systems, a slice of ocean, a sliver of mountains, the history of cancer treatment, a display revealing the history of computer technology, a peace congress, a collage of 2010 headlines from a multitude of media, a history of music.  We talked about how books get made and why they are read.  We talked about faith in the face of rejection.  We talked about the kids' own writerly aspirations.  We talked about birds.  We talked about my character Anna's last word—the why of it, the impact.  These were beautiful kids, with wholly invested teachers, and it was an honor to share my morning with them.  It makes what I do so worthwhile.


Sherry said...

Thanks for sharing this, Beth. I'm impressed! Wish I could have been a mouse in the corner.

Lilian Nattel said...

Oh it sounds wonderful, Beth. They were lucky to have you there.

bgelrod said...

Thank you Beth, for providing our students at NAHS with an amazing opportunity. To meet and speak with a real live author was a wonderful experience for them. We think you may have lit some fires and inspired future writers.

Beth F said...

Sounds like a terrific event. My husband graduated from Norristown High lo those many years ago.

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