Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Proud of Hill Central and the Magic They Created With @KwameAlexander #TheCrossover

I have a lot of energy. That might be my Achilles heal.

Yet, the energy (and enthusiasm, excitement, synergy, and passion) of author Kwame Alexander, the K-8 students at Hill Central, and the outstanding faculty at the school, made me look like a lethargic snail.

Kwame and Hill Central simply rocked.

There are too many wonderful moments from yesterday's literacy bonanza to capture in one post, but my favorite of the day was in Ms. O'Neill's 1st grade classroom. Kwame came to them in the afternoon and, like a pro, read from his book, Indigo Bloom, about a young woman wanting to start a city garden on her rooftop. Kwame made the kids guess what the prize would be that she won for her commitment to going green and one young man guessed a bike. When he found out he guessed right, Kwame gave him a copy of the book. He stood up immediately and did a victory dance with it. The classmates loved it and so did the author.

The other highlight occurred when after Kwame Alexander debuted The Crossover, several middle school students stayed behind and asked if they could recite their spoken word pieces for him. One by one, the hands went up and the kids performed their work. The teachers  were in awe as many of the volunteers were not the academic all-stars or individuals who normally set out to impress adults around them. "I fought back tears," admitted the music teacher at the school. "I never saw this side of the students. They had so much to say."

I am feeling proud of the day's event (although I'm exhausted) and know I am fortunate to have the irreplaceable opportunity to work with Kwame Alexander, Hill Central, and the National Writing Project on this collaboration.

Yes, I know. I know. There was a Final Four last night between UCONN and UK, but the real winners were the teachers and students at Hill Central. They were dunkalicious indeed.

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