SSJLAC attends book discussion with best selling author Nic Stone


Courtesy of Jennifer Mclane

Best- selling author Nic Stone discusses the focus and messages of her novel “Dear Martin” with the members of SSJLAC. Her book was published Oct. 17, 2017. “I was actually studying Psychology and planning to go into neuropsych, but I’d started a novel the year before and managed to finish it and secure an agent before graduation. That novel didn’t go anywhere, but the switchover changed the trajectory of my entire life,” Stone said.

Sitting in the University City High School library, sophomore Tiye’ Hyler had a realization—no matter what you expect, plans and life can always change. Hyler came to this realization after hearing how best selling author Nic Stone attended college for Psychology and ultimately became a writer.

“My perspective changed regarding college because Stone is an example of someone who changed their mind on that they wanted to do for a living, and is showed me that you can always plan for the future, but sometimes it’s not what you plan for and that it is OK,” Hyler said.  

As part of the Superintendent’s Social Justice Leadership Advisory Council (SSJLAC), Hyler, along with two other students and counselor Jennifer McLane attended a discussion with Stone discussing her most recent bookDear Martin,” a novel about an African- American teenager exploring the social justice issues in his life.

“Social justice is a function of my existence as a queer black woman in America. ‘Dear Martin’ was a book I wrote to better understand the world my sons would have to navigate. I’m really just writing my life,” Stone said.

The group learned the importance of perseverance through the words of Stone.

“One of the messages I got out of Nic’s presentation was the message of recognizing the power of self. In her attempts to become an author, she was rejected many times. If she gave up at each rejection, she wouldn’t be where she is now. You have to believe in yourself through rejection,” McLane said. “Often when people tell you can’t do something it’s because they don’t think they can do it themselves. You have the power to tell yourself that you can.”

SSJLAC is an extracurricular that works to discuss and solve social justice problems through Parkway and Clayton School Districts.

“I joined [SSJLAC] because I am very passionate about social justice issues that affect me and society. I also wanted to be apart of a conversation that comes up with ways to become more active along with becoming more educated,” sophomore Ulaa Kuziez said. “It wasn’t an accident that the discussion was held right after Martin Luther King Jr. Day. We talked about the Civil Rights Movement and how it has a strong connection to the Black Lives Matter Movement. We learned to understand his legacy and how we can apply it to our daily lives.”