September 1, 2015 | By Jake Weber; Photos by Maddie Drury, '15, Dave Lawrence and Courtesy Albion ENews
In August, Albion's community/College Big Read took a big step as a dozen Albion youth did a week of leadership training with Albion College English professor Jess Roberts, Big Read assistant director Maddie Drury, '15, and five Albion College student mentors. The Albion Community School and Marshall High School students, all between 13 and 15 years old, studied and practiced leadership, communication and planning skills, along with doing an in-depth examination of Ursula LeGuin's "A Wizard of Earthsea." The work is part of the students' preparation to serve as discussion leaders for the Albion Big Read in October.
"The first time I read it, I thought, 'Nah, this isn't my type of book,' but now I see things in different ways," said MHS student Larenz Hill, citing one example of how the workshop expanded his understanding of the book. "I didn't really think of Ged's courage, but others said he had real courage fighting the dragon and fighting with Jasper. Thinking about that, the book is different now."
"The kids transitioned from 'I don't know' to 'I'm ready to go' by the end of the week," said Albion native Sharla Rider, '16, a sociology and education major who served as a workshop mentor. "Being a leader is hard work. It's hard to be out of your comfort zone. I love encouraging these kids to live up to our expectations."
"The Albion youth leaders and the Albion College volunteers approached every day with big-hearted courage and a willingness to learn," says Roberts. "Their thoughts about the book and the work of creating community were as dynamic and insightful as their inventiveness was impressive and inspiring. They are models for us all."
Photo 1 of sliedeshow above includes Albion Big Read youth leaders Isabella Hallock, Kei'Asianique Hill, Larenz Hill, Ian Lee, Cedriana March, Lily Miller, Cassidy Porter, Akaiia Ridley, Shi'Terriona Straham, Terek Straham A'Veion Washington, Danielle Washington and Leia Williams with Albion College mentors Alana Brinker, Maddie Drury, Victoria Della Pia, Sharla Rider, Jess Roberts, Rhiki Swinton and Alexis Tillery