Palmerston Senior College Visit – March 2014
11th March 2015
It was an absolute honour to visit a Year 10 English class at Palmerston Senior College. They were the first school to choose Nona & Me as a class text; their fantastic teacher Ms Hempel jumped straight in and ordered a set for the school after coming to the ALEA conference last July and reading the uncorrected proof.
I learned that some of the students had read the book multiple times and were keen to star in a film version! Many were interested to learn about my time working as a TV writer. The best feedback comes from the students themselves – here’s what they had to say:
“It was entertaining, it was inspiring…she told us the truth on how she thought and felt.”
“I remember Clare having an activity for us and we had to read the palm cards that explained the process of scriptwriting. I remember her sharing her experience about living in Yirrkala and contributing in Aboriginal culture.”
“…going through the process of being a scriptwriter…was a pretty interactive activity…”
“I liked how you told us some stories and I really like it how you told us how you came to write the book.”
“She spoke very comfortably – I felt like I could say or ask things.”
“I remember her talking about the Yolngu community because I actually listened.”
“I remember how she talked about the characters and how she acted like they were her.”
We also had an interesting discussion about the roles of parents in the book. Apparently, there had been a heated debate in class about whether Jen, Rosie’s mum, tried to push her own views onto Rosie, and hadn’t really listened to how Rosie felt. I talked about Jen’s character motivations and why she might act this way. In the feedback after the talk a lot of students wrote about how they could understand why Jen might have acted like she did, and why she would be nervous for her daughter, even if she perhaps didn’t go about showing this the best way possible.
Thanks again to Ms Hempel and her students for having me in to talk to the class – it was a lot of fun and so great to meet students and hear their thoughts on the book.