NY Times Bestseller visits St. Clair High School

Mattie Groninger and Jackson Sandusky

Jessica Sourbeer, Staff Writer

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IMG_6130Amy S. King visited Upper St. Clair High School on Thursday, April 23, to give a presentation and writers’ workshop to students interested in creative writing. This visit was made possible by a generous sponsorship from the PTSO. Ms. King writes mainly young-adult novels and is a New York Times Bestselling author, so this was a great opportunity for the students of St. Clair.

According to librarian Mrs. Rentschler, in her creative workshop she answered questions like, “What’s the best way to become a published author?” or “How is the writing process completed?”

In Ms. King’s presentation she delineated essentially her life story. She began with her original aspirations moving into how they panned out and evolved over time. At one point she wanted to be a Forest Ranger, but eventually realized that it involved too much khaki for her liking, which is where her interests shifted to writing. After a few novels she found her niche in the Youth Adult Genre and this is the category in which she usually writes right now.

In her presentation about bullying and being happy in life, King talked about how not to just be happy but how to be truly happy by removing the bullying from your life. She talked to the bullies, the victims, and the bystanders.

“[Positive places] are the best places to be in life. […] It is the last place bullies come from,” said King. She advises that you should tell an adult as soon as you come across bullying. She is generally an advocate of empowering teenagers, but dealing with bullies is an area where teenagers need to enlist the help of adults.

The thing that impacted students the most was that “she was really passionate about the extravagant process and time she puts into each book,” said Lizzy Schmitt, a junior in creative writing. Schmitt went on to talk about the connections of the class to the seminar and notes that, “[The seminar] was very helpful.”

King emphasizes teen growth and development when she talks about issues like bullying. She understands what high school is like, as do most adults, but unlike other adults she applies it to her parenting and her job.

“It is important to have a frank discussion about bullying and self-preservation, self-growth. Teenagers are at their smartest time, their minds are so open, yet we underestimate them and in turn they undervalue themselves. I want to be able to walk into a high school and say I value you, I’m showing up for you to help you understand what can happen because [bullying] will catch up to you later in life.”

“A big budget goes into preventing bullying, but just because there is a banner in the front of the school, it still happens. There is no such thing as bully-free anything. This is how it works: people pick on other people for their own good. People can be affected for life from not only being the victim, but being the bully.”

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NY Times Bestseller visits St. Clair High School