What is your favorite book and who is your favorite author?
My favorite book is probably The Phantom Tollbooth. It’s just kind of a lot of random stuff out of nowhere and I like that it’s random, and it’s kind of imaginative. You travel with the characters.
What is your favorite memory of 826CHI?.
I think there’s a few of them. Being on the stage reading [is one]. I like reading on the stage because it’s a challenge for me and I like challenging myself.
Do you have any special hobbies or talents?
I like to bike at the skatepark. Building Legos out of nowhere. I like train sets because even though they’re directed to go a certain way you can make them go different ways. We have a train set pack at home and we made a fort of pillows and the train went through them, inside and out all over.
What is your favorite thing about writing?
I can contain anything with writing no matter how big it is. I guess it’s something I just realized today in the class I had. We were reading this poem from a book of poems and one of them one of them includes this part where the author says if they listen they can do anything with writing, and that was the last line. And I thought well basically, what this means is that even the world, the whole entire world, you can’t contain it in a box, but you can contain in writing.
Your poem, “A Common Species: The Eraser,” is both funny and serious at the same time. What inspired you?
I make a lot of mistakes and I write a lot of stuff that I don’t want to write. Sometimes I make my letters weird and I have to use an eraser. I see erasers so much and use them so much, so if it’s an ode to something every day, an eraser is something I use every day. At first I didn’t even notice [the poem] was that good. I was drafting and trying something out. And then I noticed that other people liked it and I thought about it closer, and I noticed the parts about it that were good. And when we were revising it I added to the parts I understood.
I love the line, “Erasers are the unveiled superhero/ to save the day when they’re needed.” I like how you’re talking about something so small in a way that sounds very mighty.
I guess in my language arts class, at that time, we were practicing words and “unveiled” was one of them. And I was just thinking of that word a lot and I wanted to use it. The comics here, I read them a lot, so superheroes and “unveiled” came together.
Is there anything else you want the world to know about you?
One thing I think of is that I want to have certain experiences, extreme stuff, like climbing the tallest mountain and that contribute to me being better at things. Pretty much I want to be good at a lot of of things.
Our 826 Day event on the roof of Ace Hotel Chicago was a beautiful celebration of our community from our donors to our students and everyone in between (pictured above is 826CHI supporter TASHA’s performance). Our book P.S. You Sound Like Someone I Can Trust was available in the hotel’s suites, Ace Hotel Chicago has hosted our annual love-themed print show featuring work by local artists inspired by our students writing on love, and their Senior Sales Manager, Tenasha Wilcoxon, spoke to our students in After-School Tutoring & Writing’s Speakers & Snacks series about what it’s like to work at a hotel.
The partnership between East Village Youth Program and 826CHI is a yearly collaboration to help students achieve their goal of being accepted into their college of choice and for many to be the first in their family to attend college. This fall, 826CHI staff and 12 volunteers worked with 13 high school seniors on their personal statements for college applications. The partnership continues in the Spring when 826CHI and volunteers will return to EVYP to support students as they apply for scholarships.