Last week, I was lucky enough to be invited by St. Scholastica's Academy to give a talk about the awesomeness of reading and writing. And as someone who loves reading and writing very much, I was equal parts honored, excited and terrified.

Honored--- because I never thought anyone would view this blog as "inspirational"

Excited--- because I get to tell kids a story in the morning and in the afternoon, I get to hang out with their school paper staff for a writing session. I'll split this post into two parts. This part would be all about the storytelling. :)

Terrified--- because for the love of matcha milk tea and all that is good, I haven't spoken in public for a very, very long time.

I tried to tell myself:

They're just a small bunch teenagers, Krish, what's the worst that could happen?

Here's what could happen:

Instead of a "small bunch" of kids, I ended up talking to hundreds of them.

Yes, hundreds.

I'm not even kidding:

It's enough to send one running the other way.

But thankfully, I didn't run or pass out or talk gibberish, even though I was so very tempted. I ended up having a good time. I know that I was invited to somehow inspire kids to read more books and write more stories, but it's really the other way around. These kids ended up inspiring me. :)

So how does a small writer like me end up speaking for hundreds of students about a topic so near and dear to my heart? 

It began with a blog post:

Remember this? 

My little kind-of viral blog post about my dearly beloved high school? Years after I published it, it's still making decent rounds among SACS alumni and faculty all over the world. SACS and St. Scho used to be sister schools, see. Now, they're more of stepsisters (it's a long story). But the bottom line is, the blog post ended up reaching Sr. Maureen, the current directress of St. Scholastica's Academy. 

This is Sr. Maureen:

She's the head honcho of the school. A natural educator, Sr. Maureen has a calm, comforting presence that makes you feel so at ease. Sr. Maureen is the epitome of chill (am I allowed to say that?) :)

Her passion for education really shines through in the way she speaks and the way she relates to people. I was quite nervous at the beginning, but she made me feel really at ease and reminded me that there are kids out there who might need a bit of inspiration when it comes to honing their craft.

There are some bookworms out there who needed encouragement. 

There are budding writers that needed a little push in the right direction.

And there was me, who needed some confidence.

Sr. Maureen actually reminded me of what it was like to be a kid who loved reading and writing but only had a few people for support. 

So I took a breath, nodded, and reminded myself to woman up. I was going to read these kids a story, through hell or high water and when I've done that perhaps I can share a bit of my own story, too.

Now this is St. Scholastica's Academy:

It's such a beautiful campus in the heart of busy, bustling Tabunok. It was refreshing to see wide open grounds and trees. It's also full of blue jumpers! It reminded me of my own high school. How can a different place bring so many memories?

Ah, nostalgia, thy name is Krishafromtheisland.

It's another campus, for sure, but the vibe and culture is very much the same from my own alma mater.

#ReadOutLoudChallenge: Live!

The first order of the day was storytelling! If you haven't seen it already, I've posted a couple of videos for National Bookstore's #ReadOutLoudChallenge. I record like a bajillion of those videos. Only one makes it to the internet. Today, I was going to read a story live, in front of a crazy crowd of 7th graders! I was silently hoping that they wouldn't eat me alive and spit me out.

Their energy was insane. Ever heard of a roaring crowd? That was them.

Based on their fevered reactions, I figured they were huge fans of Harry Potter, Narnia, The Hunger Games, Maze Runner and most of all--- Wattpad. It was great to see that so many kids still love to read and are excited about books. What with today's technology and the rise of social media, it's so easy for these kids to get swept away by the internet wave. I'm so glad that they still know who Nancy Drew and Aslan are.

I just hope they're reading good Wattpad, though. Something that's been proofread. Thoroughly. :)

Energetic as they were, I ended up finishing a chapter from CS Lewis' The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. I was kind of shaking reading through the whole thing, but somehow I made it happen. I hope the kids enjoyed it.

"Books Are A Uniquely Portable Magic"

I was around their age when I started to read books seriously. I and my friends would rent out all the Nancy Drews from the library and swap them with each other. We'd have our library cards filled back to back to back. And of course, we had more than one card.

We befriended our librarian, Ma'am Alcantara so she would buy the books we liked. We were lucky to have such wonderful resources at the tips of our fingers. Books are worlds and lives waiting to be discovered. You just had to pick them up and take them to the counter so the librarian can stamp the return date on it. Stephen King once said, "Books are a uniquely portable magic." I couldn't agree more and that's what I want these kids to realize.

Reading is fun. Reading is wild. The right story can scare you, inform you, entertain you, make you fall in love.

Here's what Neil Gaiman has to say about reading:

They were waiting for me in the books and in stories, after all, hiding inside the twenty six characters and a handful of punctuation marks. These letters and words, when placed in the right order, would conjure all manner of exotic beasts and people from the shadows, would reveal the motives and minds of insects and of cats. They were spells, spelled with words to make worlds, waiting for me, in the pages of books.”

How can I possibly top that?

I walked out of the storytelling session with brand new eyes. I challenged the kids (and even the teachers!) to do the #ReadOutLoudChallenge, too, and I hope that they'd step up to the plate. Their energy was contagious and it actually wanted me to do more videos, write more stories and create resources for those who want to read good books and write their own stuff.

What did I tell you at the beginning?

My job was to inspire them, but really, they ended up inspiring me.

And it's not even noon yet!

Well, this wraps up part one of my awesome day at St. Scho. :) Stay tuned for Part 2---- it involves a writing session, teenagers who want to bag a Regional Schools Presscon Prize and an app called GrabSikad. :) I can't wait to share the experience with all of you.

That's it for now!

All the love,

K x

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