LIHU‘E — Students in the Hawai‘i Technology Academy, Kaua‘i got a taste of being an author, Friday as they clung to the scant pockets of shade while enjoying ice cream ahead of their taking the long table set up for the book signing at the HTA campus located on 4370 Kukui Grove Street.
“They each had a part in this “We Are America, Too” book,” said Florence Scott, the HTA eighth grade teacher, and editor of the book that was just one of 50 projects selected across the nation. “They each are a part of this book because they each wrote a story that became the book we’re launching, today.”
Done in collaboration with Facing History and Ourselves, Tenement Museum, Southern Poverty Law Center, Learning for Justice, Re-Imagining Migration, and We Are America Project, the book is currently available at the HTA office by calling 808-676-5444. The anthology of stories done by the eighth grade authors is available either by cash or check at this point.
Funds will be used to finance the next project which would be a collection of the eighth grade Humanities class that starts with the fall semester.
“This was my first year teaching at HTA,” Scott said. “I found the We Are America application online, and got excited when I found out we were just one of only 50 projects being done. When I told my students about this, they got excited and all stepped up to the challenge of writing stories.”
Sage Chaney, authoring her experiences of visiting her mother’s birth country, Russia, and returning home said the task was fun.
“It was a little hard at first,” Chaney said. “But in the end, it was a fun project to do.”
“What makes an American?” Scott writes in the book’s Foreword. “For this project, students were empowered to choose a moment, whether monumental or microscopic, from their life that fundamentally changed their understanding of the world. These young stars are brave historians, sharing their personal stories with the world. This book answers our essential question because we are each an American. Each of us, readers of our book, and those who’ve never heard of us, are also Americans. We each have our own story, our own journey…and it’s in the sharing of our experiences we are transformed. Many stories. Many journeys. Many histories — We are America, too!”
The We Are America project started with a Massachusetts teacher, Jessica Lander, seeking the answer to the question in 2018. The following year, Lander’s class penned two books —We Are America, and its sequel, We Are America, Too. These led to the birth of the We Are America Project with 14 former students and their teacher Lander.
Scott said she felt that one of the We Are America Project advisory team, Nicole Leilani Harrison, has relatives in Waimea.
“I think that’s why we were chosen,” Scott said. “We are on Kaua‘i!”