Project LIT Summit: Student Reflection and Nic Stone Introduction

We’re continuing to share highlights from our inaugural Project LIT Summit (see part 1 & part 2). Below is Jakaylia’s welcome address and introduction of Nic Stone.

Nic J

Good morning and welcome to the first Project LIT Summit! My name is Jakaylia and I am a senior at Maplewood High School and one of the founders of Project LIT Community.

We’re so excited to have all of you here today as we celebrate one another.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a reader. I’ve been fortunate enough to have books around me and people in my life who encouraged me to read. You could say that books and I have always had a great relationship.

However, through Project LIT, I’ve definitely grown as a leader. I’m normally a shy person and if I’m being honest, I’ve never been that great at communicating with people. It was always awkward.

Being a part of Project LIT has given me the space and confidence to share my opinions with others and listen to what they have to say. It’s helped me learn a lot about real-life issues and what we can do together to make a change.

Over the past two years, we have already accomplished more than most thought possible. From collecting thousands of books and starting our community book club, to getting other chapters around the country to join our movement and planning our first of many summits, it has been an incredible journey.

Looking back, I’m extremely proud of what we’ve achieved and cannot wait to see what it’s in store in the future. Project LIT Community is going to change thousands of lives. It has already changed mine.

Project LIT Community is really about giving everyone the opportunity to love reading. A lot of kids today don’t enjoy reading because they think it’s boring and, if we’re being real, they’re not wrong.

A lot of the books students are forced to read in school are not relevant, interesting, or enjoyable. They’re out of date and out of touch with our lives.

That’s why Project LIT is so important. We’re showing kids and adults that books can be just as cool as TV shows, video games and sports.

Through Project LIT, we’ve had the opportunity to read some amazing books by authors who understand what it’s like to be a teenager today.

The Crossover. March. Ghost. All American Boys. The Hate U Give. Long Way Down. And many more.

While I’ve loved all of these books, there’s one that stands out. Dear Martin by Nic Stone.

Nic is one of the most influential people I’ve been honored to have in my life. She’s one of the sweetest and funniest people you’ll ever meet but most importantly, she’s real.

She’s not afraid to tell you how it is and will tell you that your opinion always matters. She inspires all of us to be ourselves and reminds us that it’s okay to be different. To stand out.

Nic’s visit to our book club earlier this year was one of the most memorable moments of our high school experience. As many of you know, Nic is kind, caring, and down-to-earth, and after that visit, we were even more determined to find our passions and change the world.

We know that Nic has the same effect in every school that she visits, and I have a feeling that thousands of teenagers across the country are more confident and courageous because of their interactions with her.

Now, it is with great pride and excitement that we welcome Nic. We appreciate every visit, every conversation, every Instagram post, and of course, every page of your books.

Thank you! We love you!

Author: Jarred Amato

High school English teacher who is passionate about improving TN education, one book at a time.

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