Spotlight on Literature at the Jackson Mann

Spotlight on Literature at the Jackson Mann

By: Haley Hunt, Tenacity Intern and Special Correspondent

Athletic contests are not the only events in which Tenacity students compete. Today, students at the Jackson Mann School were tasked with presenting their book club projects, which they have been working on for the past week. Prizes were awarded for projects voted the most creative, the most prepared, and the best presented.

AmeriCorps fellows handpicked the books for their respective groups to read, and students decided how they wanted to present their final projects. Many students used their emotional responses to the novels to drive their presentations. The result was a wide range of projects—individual, interactive, evaluative—on display for all judges to view.

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Some projects stood out as particularly impressive. Hajira Aden’s project about the novel Because of Mr. Terupt, by Rob Buyea, was centered on analyzing the book’s major themes. The book focuses on a tragic accident that occurs to a teacher of a fifth grade class, and how his injury affects students. Hajira also took an extra step to help familiarize judges with the characters by comparing both their personalities and their experiences to that of celebrities. Her explanations were original, her synopsis was engaging, and her presentation as a whole certainly gave this book a must-read appeal for all judges in attendance!

Both Manoucheka Durosca and Daisy Ogbesoyn were terrific spokeswomen for their respective groups. Manoucheka created a poster board for her presentation on Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper, where she cut out words and photos from magazines to describe the main character’s (who was born with cerebral palsy) mental state. She tied in the lessons she learned with the book’s significance, stating that, “people should see others past their physical disabilities, because how they look on the outside is not all that defines them.”

Daisy’s group’s project was designed as “a campaign against bullying,” according to their poster board. The Skin I’m In by Sharon G. Flake is a story about a young black girl who has low self-esteem, which is perpetuated by her classmates’ bullying because of the color of her skin.

Daisy’s group stressed the importance of “loving the skin you are in” instead of trying to change for others. Their poster was decorated with both motivational hash tags to encourage self-confidence, and illustrations of the types of bullying (such as peer pressure) that both the characters and students face on a day to day basis.

Award winners on these terrific projects have yet to be announced, however, all students should be proud of the hard work they put into these presentations. As many of the students had said, the lessons that they learned through these novels will help to improve their decision-making, while also allowing them to guide their peers towards making better choices. Overall, the book presentations proved to be a successful day of learning and friendly competition for judges, students, and teachers alike!

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