The following blog post and corresponding pictures were submitted by students who are concurrently involved in both the AICHS Journalism class and THE MJ PROJECT sponsored Digital Media program. Both students are high school seniors on track to graduate in June and pursue their passions. It is an honor for us to showcase their hard work and creativity on our blog.
A Guest Post by high school senior Vanesa M.
On Feb. 1, 2019, The MJ Project, a nonprofit organization that supports teenagers in traditional and digital literacy, gifted a personal classroom library to Animo Inglewood Charter High School. The library, housed in 11th grade English teacher, Romel Nusdorfer’s room, aims to inspire students to reach for a diverse collection of books that they can genuinely enjoy.
On Friday afternoon during the last class of the day, curious students waited outside of the classroom as Leslie Lipton, co-founder and treasurer of The MJ Project, filed the brand new books into an orderly row. Her eyes wandered excitedly from the bookcase to the doorway as students peeked into Room 403.
Eagerly preparing for her class, Nusdorfer adjusted the brand new shirt that wore “Be Kind,” across its front. Only a few minutes passed before the students took their seats while confusion and wonder settled into the classroom.
“MJ...Mary Jane Nelson...was my husband’s mother, and she was just the coolest person ever,” Lipton began.
When Lipton taught at Animo Inglewood Charter High School, she and and her husband, Tom Nelson, co-founder and president, provided books and encouraged students to seek out literature that interested them. They continue to honor Mary Jane Nelson by dedicating their resources to students and classrooms in need.
The MJ Project also sponsors the school’s Digital Media program, exposing students to film making and the world of television and media within their communities.
“We believe that all kids should be able to communicate and understand— not just books— but different forms of communication,” Lipton continued.
Throughout the class period, students began to select books like The Hate You Give, Homeless to Harvard and I am Legend. When Nusdorfer called the last row, furthest from the bookcase, students anxiously anticipated their book choices. Edgar, a junior, approached the bookshelf and pulled a new, polished copy of The Shining by Stephen King.
“I think it’s a really good idea to offer kids books...not everyone can have [them],” Edgar stated.
As the class period drew near its end, Nusdorfer admiringly glanced over to her beautiful, newly filled bookcase.
“It’s nice to see that [the students] will be able to check [books] out. There are multiple copies, and I think more kids will come back to [check them out],” Nusdorfer stated.
Special thanks to the teachers who put in the extra work to make this blog post happen, Ms. Johnson, Composition & Journalism Teacher, Ms. Violeta Reina, Digital Media Program Facilitator, and Ms. Nusdorfer, English Language Arts Teacher.
The MJ PROJECT Blog is written by students, teachers, and MJ Project team members seeking to keep our supportive community in the know with regards to our most recent projects, grants, and programs.