Last Thursday we had a very special event take place in the Junior School library: the first “edition” of our Human Library project. The idea of this project is to invite interesting people with interesting stories to come into the school to act as human books! What that means is that students can sign these people out (just like a book) and have a conversation with them about pretty much anything that they would like.
Our first human book was a man named Clement Chou. Clement is a blind athlete who competes for the Canadian Junior National Team in a sport called goalball. He also is a volunteer for BC Blind Sports, plays the guitar, practices Iaido (a Japanese martial art), and is active in his church. Over the course of the day, Clement spoke to more than 100 students, including most of the Grade 1 and Grade 2 students.
Listening in to the conversations throughout the day, you would have heard many profound things. Some examples of the diverse questions that were asked included:
- How exactly do you drive?
- Do you like video games?
- When you buy something, how do you know that you’re getting charged correctly and not getting ripped off?
- Is it difficult to choose the clothes that you will wear for the day?
- How do you read the menu at a restaurant?
Clement was very patient and open, and said lots of things that were truly inspiring. “Blindness doesn’t affect me as much as people think. It doesn’t have to be a big deal; being blind doesn’t make you less of a person.” And in response to the this question from a Grade 6 student: “has your life been difficult without your vision?” Clement responded, “”There have been difficult patches . . . but everyone has those.”
It was an entirely unique experience for our students. We have had guest speakers address the whole school or individual classes before, but the boys rarely have an opportunity to interact one-to-one with someone for a casual but informative conversation.
We are sure that everyone who interacted with Clement came away much more informed and aware, and we’re sure looking forward to the next human books that we have come to visit!