Last week I had the honour of speaking to two classes at Handsworth Secondary School in North Vancouver. What a treat it was!
I have done hundreds of presentations over the past 10 years and I have enjoyed them all, but some stand out as better than others. My presentation at Handsworth was one of my most enjoyable ever and I believe that was due to the prep work done by the Librarian and English teachers before my arrival. Many of the students had read my books and they all knew I was coming to the school. The librarian had gone to the extra trouble of making sure there were additional copies of my books available, borrowed from neighbouring schools. Many of the students came armed with great questions, and I knew immediately that their English teachers were exemplary.
At the end of my presentation a couple students stayed behind to chat with me about my books. I always appreciate speaking with students one on one. The last person to leave the room was a young man who told me he also attends the Unitarian Church. I could tell he'd been listening carefully because I'd only mentioned in passing my connection with that church, but I'm so glad he hung back to say hello to a fellow Unitarian.
As I walked away from the school at the end of my session, I realized that I'd forgotten to clarify to the students the point of my presentation. I know it's unlikely that many of them will pursue careers in writing, but I hope the message of perseverance came through loud and clear. My path to becoming a published author was often discouraging, filled with rejection letters, but I persevered, continuing to practise my craft until I finally found success. It's the same with any dream. If you chip away at it long enough, you, too, will find success.
The Handsworth group clearly had a great sense of humour, too. One student asked if I found it 'creepy' that his teacher had researched my books and stumbled across my blog. Just to reiterate, no, I don't think it's creepy. I think it's wonderful! And I haven't forgotten the promised dinner out, either. :)
* The picture of Sir Winston by Cara is dedicated to the Handworth students who liked the last picture of him.