Monday night, a much-loved and much-respected student from KIPP Pride High in Gaston, NC (Where Josh--um, I mean Mr. DoBell teaches) dropped dead during a pick-up game of basketball. The student body at KIPP has had its share of tragedy and sadness, believe me.
Tuesday, I was scheduled to visit KIPP: Gaston College Prep to talk with Ms Russell's students who had just read Chasing AllieCat. The visit went on as planned, though all of the senior high kids were too busy with more important emotions and helping each other through the grief to want to attend and talk about a book. UNDERSTANDABLE.
I watched these teachers and kids, from the standpoint of a visitor on the fringe, and observed them act in a way that rings true for their motto, "We are a team and a family."
It was an amazing day.
But the visit I had with the GCP girls and underclassmen was no less amazing. Everybody had stellar questions, and our time flew by. They asked me questions about the characters, and it reminded me why as writers, we MUST know our characters like icebergs: We know the WHOLE people in our stories, even if readers just see the top 10% (floating above water) that makes it into the story. We know the whole submerged 90% as well.
Here are some photos from that wonderful visit. Thanks, KIPP and GCP!