Student Promotes Kindness with Children’s Books
October is National Bullying Prevention Month which unites communities around the world to educate and raise awareness of bullying prevention. Standing up against bullying is something FLVS takes very seriously. We’re pleased to spotlight FLVS high school senior Jhett Hill who has written two children’s books to help bring awareness to this effort.
Inspiring Children through Storytelling
Alachua county resident Jhett Hill has taken courses as an FLVS Flex student for the past three years. He wrote and self-published “Griffin and Shelly: A Tale of Togetherness” and “Billy and Penelope.” He illustrated the books with hand drawings so they would appear very childlike and friendly and he imposed some digital art as background and dialog bubbles to add interest to the pages.
He said, “I published the two children’s books because I strongly believe our present-day society needed a reminder of the age-old lessons of kindness over bullying, and inclusion over prejudice. It all just seemed so timely.”
The 18-year-old shared that he was selected as one of 10 candidates to serve his community as a camp counselor in training—something he had looked forward to since the second grade—but when it got canceled, he decided to serve his community in a way that was accessible even during the pandemic. He recently created a storytime video to share with young viewers.
His mom, Deborah, said, “Jhett is passionate about social justice issues and hopes to make a difference wherever he is able.”
Setting Goals for the Future
Jhett’s favorite school subjects are World History and Environmental Science. His career aspirations include environmental engineering with conservation law as “his ultimate profession.”
“My plan is to learn all I can about how we can attenuate the environmental issues impacting our world. After gaining some real-world, on-the-job experience, I will use that knowledge to give our environment a voice through legal representation and protection, then use my legal experience to establish new laws and regulations where needed.”
Jhett’s accomplishments are already very impressive. He’s been recognized as a student in the top 1 percent of his class for the past three years, is a member of MENSA, and is a College Board AP® Scholar with Distinction. He has completed six Advanced Placement (AP) courses and is enrolled in four. The ambitious teen is also a two-time DECA State Champion.
The 6’2” senior is gifted athletically, too, and excels at golf, swimming, and basketball.
He said FLVS has helped him reach his goals as, “I was able to master online learning through FLVS and was able to positively contribute to my GPA, as well as my English language reading and writing skills.” He gave a special thanks acknowledgment to AP English Language/Composition Teacher Mr. Thomas Ruszczyk, and English Honors 1 Teacher Ms. Kelly Blount.
Giving Back through Community Service
A favorite quote he tries to live by is by Mahatma Gandhi: “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
Jhett volunteers his time to a program where incarcerated mothers can send their child a recording of them reading a children’s book so they can mimic the traditional bedtime experience.
“I could not imagine my childhood without bedtime stories and the memories associated with my parents reading to me. I knew this was something I desperately wanted to do to help all those kids with jailed mothers and help the volunteers with their efforts. Mahatma Gandhi’s has supported my drive in many of the volunteer and service activities I have chosen to participate in throughout high school, including the writing and publishing my two children’s books.”
Thank you, Jhett, for sharing your many talents with us, and for sharing your message of kindness and inclusion with other students!
Have a suggestion, comment, or student to spotlight that you’d like to share? Comment below or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Post by Suzan Kurdak, former FLVS Communications Specialist