Tag archive for ‘Page 15’

Dr. Jennifer Porter-Smith

Dr. J and I met at the downtown Marriot for this interview, just a few buildings down the street from Nap Ford. After the interview, on our walk back to the school, a former student’s dad started waving at us ferociously.

“Hey! How you doin’?” Dr. J asked. She walked over and gave the man a hug.

“I’m good. I’m good. You’re never gonna believe how my son is doing. He scored a 1410 on the SAT as a seventh grader. The UCF student average is 1328. Can you believe that? That boy is so smart!” the man said, beaming.

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Cam Road Films

It’s true—some of my best ideas have come about while I’m at the bar. I’m not ashamed to say it. It’s just that, unfortunately, most of these epiphanies have never made it to see the next day, except for this one time.

About six months ago, in the dirty, smoke-covered booths of Burton’s in Thorton Park, there was a meeting of the minds. In attendance was, yours truly, college student, free-lance writer and Page 15 volunteer, helping mostly with the downtown literacy arts center’s summer camp, and also Michelle Cameron and Chris Stephenson who were on the break of starting a film company, only they had no projects, no name and therefore no existence yet. Over a few draft beers, it slowly came to me that Page 15 needed a promotional video to gain sponsorships and also that Michelle and Chris needed a good-hearted project to film. It only seemed natural that I connect the two organizations; and so I did. And pretty much, that night, as a bunch of ideas scribbled on dirty napkins, the concept of Cam Road Films was born.

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Justin & Graham

Page 15 is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping inner city kids discover their voices through reading and creative writing. It’s also a foundation that my best friend Julia has dreamed about doing since we ran laps around Lake Silver for high-school soccer practice. Nearly fifteen years later, she has made the foundation become a reality.

The Page 15 kick-off is a five-week camp that starts this summer at the Urban Think! Bookstore in Thorton Park. Five groups of kids will meet for one week at the bookstore, for a total of five weeks, to write their first children’s book. They also get the chance to design the cover of their book as told to a professional illustrator, experience a reading of a children’s book by the author himself and cooperate with a musician in writing a class song. When the camp started with its first group, a brilliant but wild bunch of kindergartners, I was there to help Julia corral the young writer’s.

The highlight for me was interviewing each child for their Author’s Bio found on the back of each writer’s book. The interviews were only meant to be short, but when a couple of the kids started talking I just couldn’t stop. And so I pressed on with more questions until they were ready to end the interview, which wasn’t long. Below are interviews from Justin and Graham, two very talented young men. I can only hope you enjoy the interviews as much as I enjoyed conducting them.

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