I was fortunate enough to be invited to speak at Thomas Jefferson High School of Science and Technology in Alexandria, VA. It was an amazing time and I’m blown away by how smart and talented these kids are. There’s a reason this high school is nationally ranked #2 in the US. These kids are wicked smart!
And can I just tell you how cool it was to go into the main office and have to stick my face in a machine and have it scan my drivers license and print out this sticker? It was quite high tech and I admit to being very impressed!
The fabulous school counselor, Christina Ketchem, who is the reason I was invited to Thomas Jefferson in the first place, was there to meet me with a big hug and an enthusiastic smile! I’d first met her at my Hooray for Books event back in January and we’ve been chatting ever since! I’m quite jealous of the TJ kids for having such a cool school counselor!
She led me over the the auditorium where a jazz band was performing. They were amazing! Then the 9th graders started filing in. I think there might have been 130 kids there or so. First they started off with a poetry competition. I thought this was incredibly unfair to have me go after these poets. They were phenomenal! These guys weren’t just poets, they were performance artists. I was so impressed.
And then I was up.
As is usual for me, there were some technical difficulties in getting my powerpoint going. But eventually, with the help of a lot of teachers pressing buttons in the media room, we were able to get my presentation up and running! The students were just wonderful to present to. They were attentive and enthusiastic and laughed at all my jokes, which goes to prove just how smart these kids are! :o) Because these were high school students, I started off my presentation on a more serious note with a discussion about the importance of diversity. And it was clear from their responses and their expressions that I had touched a chord with them. These are kids who are used to seeing diversity in their lives everyday and want to see it everywhere else too.
I even got to do a mini signing for some of the kids. Thank you to Olivia who bought my book and said she loved it! I wish I had a chance to talk to her longer! And I was touched to have students asking me to sign bookmarks for them, as they assured me that they would be reading my book over spring break. Since spring break is next week, this made me pretty happy.
So another fantastic school event! Thank you Christina! Thank you Thomas Jefferson HS!