Students at Crenshaw High School in South Los Angeles unveiled a book Wednesday that they wrote about their year-long effort to visit the White House.
The students signed copies of their book, “Journey to the White House: An Educational Blueprint for Change in Action,” alongside actor Hill Harper from CSI: NY. Harper was also signing copies of his books “Letters to a Young Brother: MANifest Your Destiny” and “Letters to a Young Sister: DeFINE Your Destiny.”
“We’re all in this together,” Harper said of his passion for helping students. “Education is what we need to be focused on.”
The student authors are part of the Crenshaw Digital Media Team that meets after school to learn about photography, video and other media tools. Their book is being published both in paper and as an eBook.
The journey began when their teacher and mentor Daphne Bradford, founder of the non-profit organization Mother of Many challenged her students to become the type of 21st century classroom that President Obama envisioned in his 2010 Blueprint for Change in Education.
The students wrote letters to the President asking to be invited to the White House. When their requests when unanswered, they decided they needed to make a bigger impression.
They put their multimedia skills to use and created video letters and burned them to a disc, that Bradford was able to hand directly to President Obama when he was in Los Angeles for a rally.
“Once we got invited to come, we had to fund-raise and we made calendars and went around to businesses and organizations,” said Trestan Fairweather, a 17-year-old senior at Crenshaw High School.
When the students got to the White House In September of 2010, they were given a tour by the White House chef and they established a partnership with the White House kitchen to start growing food at home to better the community.
Fairweather’s first impression of the White House was just how enormous it was.
“It was very, very, very big,” he said. “Almost too big for just one family.”
The students also met with the President’s web team who showed them how the White House media presence — Twitter, Facebook, photos, etc. — is run.
“They had really cool advice on how to run our own media too,” Fairweather said.
The book signing was sponsored by the NAACP Beverly Hills/Hollywood chapter.
“We felt this was another opportunity to help these students see a different future for themselves,” said the chapter president Ron Hasson. “We thought Harper could really relate to the kids and give back.”
Order hard copies of the book at www.motherofmany.com ($25.00), digital book purchase for $19.99 at the Barnes and Noble Nook store, iBookstore and ePub at lulu.com