Tuesday, October 26, 2010


If you've been following my Twitter updates lately, you'll know that I went to Manhattan recently for a visit to a new middle school called Quest to Learn. The students there learn through games. Completely seriously. It was the first time I'd ever seen middle schoolers so excited to go to class and get to work. The thing that fascinated me, though, was the way they fostered acceptance and diversity in that school. It honestly almost made me cry.

This was something I doodled in my notes at the school as I visited that I thought was worth sharing. I had a conversation with a kid about COD (that's Call of Duty for you non-gamer people), Mario Kart 64, and Zelda. And honestly? He sounded just like me when I was his age. Since the kids at Q2L learn through a game format (their exam week is even called their 'Boss Levels'), the fact that I can speak gamer allowed me to actually get along well with the students and not be made fun of for once. When I was their age, my ability to speak serious gamer kind of ostracized me. Now, this kid and I were talking about how I entered a Super Smash Bros. Melee tournament in tenth grade. His only question: "Did you win?" I proudly told him that I (and Roy, the character I mentioned in my last post as being my first crush - sad, I know) did, in fact, win the whole thing. I've never been able to say that anywhere offline and be considered cool.

I also got the greatest reaction from a girl in a sixth grade history class when I told her I wanted to write historical graphic novels. She gave me the biggest smile and told me, "That is SO COOL!" I think maybe, just maybe, I'm going in the right direction with my life. I just...these kids inspired me beyond belief, and it really made me feel good about myself for a change. This school was a place where a kid like me would have thrived, and I wish I could've attended it growing up. There was something about it that just seemed like a perfect fit for a girl like me.

P.S. You really can't fault me for falling in love with a video game character if he's cute, okay?

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