Supt's Community Book Club Inspires All to Find Courage Within
Nearly 50 members of the Oyster Bay-East Norwich community shared thoughts and ideas about the book, I am Malala: How One Girl Stood Up for Education and Changed the World during the 11th Community Book Club hosted by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Laura Seinfeld.
Set in the Oyster Bay High School Library, participants brought their passion and conviction to the table as they pondered questions based on the memoir of a 10-year-old girl, Malala Yousafzai, who stood up for her right to be educated in a Taliban-controlled region of Pakistan and nearly lost her life for the cause. On October 9, 2012, Malala was shot point-blank while riding the bus on her way home from school. Miraculously surviving, Malala has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest person ever to win a Nobel Peace Prize.
Oyster Bay High School Student Council President Jason Hom, co-facilitator of the book club, read three questions to the audience, prompting participants to examine Malala as a teenager, the role of Malala’s parents, how Malala affected change in the world, and what recognition she received for her contributions.
Following a World Café Model, participants sat in small groups, each consisting of a table host who recorded thoughts about the questions for the group. After a designated time, all except the table host changed tables to discuss a second question with another group. Participants moved to new groups three times, opening up conversations with different people and discovering new perspectives on the book. A designated spokesperson from each group then shared their most significant thoughts with the crowd. Each group spokesperson built on the thoughts from the prior spokesperson until every table was represented.
“I am always amazed by the number of community members who join us and the insightful connections they make,” said Superintendent of Schools Dr. Laura Seinfeld. “We have some members who have come to all 11 book clubs, some who have joined us recently and others who have experienced it for the first time — each person’s vantage point brings a new perspective and a new dynamic to the evening.”
Commenting on the format, sophomore Sophie Grady, who has been to every book club since its inception in 2013, said,” I love this book club. It’s a great experience. People from different ages, people from throughout the community…Vernon, the high school, teachers all come together to talk about a book and I think it’s really nice that we're are all involved together and we can share a common bond.”
She said of the book, “It was cool to see how she was fighting for people who couldn’t fight for themselves.”
Junior Aavi Gupta, a first-time book clubber, said, “It was sad that she was raised in that environment but inspirational that she had the strength to fight and raise awareness about women’s education.”
Complementing the event, participants watched an interview of Malala with Jon Stewart of The Daily Show and were given a website link featuring dozens of real-life stories about how Malala's courage inspired them to overcome adversity in their own lives. Visit the site at https://assembly.malala.org/stories/