The humanities rite of passage

(May 24, 2013) — As teachers Jennifer and Chris Davis announced the children’s book project to their 2011 Humanities class, the sophomores stared at one another in worry. Some were reminded of the agony that befell them with the children’s book project for physics teacher Zifard Arstakis. Others didn’t even flinch, fully prepared to take on any assignment. Two students, however, were determined to show their talents with this new project.

“Of all the projects we did in that Humanities class, the children’s book was the best one,” said Brendan Mallory. He, along with his partner Corey Hoard, were tasked with creating a children’s book about an uplifting event in world history and presenting it to elementary school kids. Right from the start, however, they hit a roadblock.

“Our topic was the Tiananmen Square protests. I didn’t exactly know what it was, but I was a little off put by the fact that the paper said ‘The Tiananmen square protests (not the horrible massacre that happened afterwards)’. I had no idea how I was going to use that as an uplifting story.” Deeming the topic unusable, Mallory and Hoard asked to change their topic to one that they could actually use. The Davises allowed them to pick a different topic, so long as it was approved.

“The topic we ended up settling on was when they legalized homosexuality in England, because why not,” Mallory said. “We thought it was an important issue and historically relevant, so we just chose that,” Hoard added.

They immediately got to work with the illustrations and story. “Even to this day, I consider that as the only group project I’ve ever done where every group member did the exact same amount of work,” Mallory said. “For the illustrations, Brendan hand drew all of the illustrations, while I scanned them in, cleaned them up and colored them in,” Hoard said. Mallory said that he and Hoard made sure the story was airtight by constantly working on it and editing it.

Eventually, they completed their children’s book after all their hard work. Hoard said that he was very proud of the final product. In fact, the Davises deemed it so good that they suggested that Hoard and Mallory publish it as an actual children’s book.

“The Davises had a connection to some publishing people, but it ended up not going through,” Hoard said. Mallory said that they didn’t even get to read the book at the elementary school due to the nature of the subject, but they still got a high mark on the project. “I still really like it and would like to publish it one day,” Mallory said.