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Contemporary legend says the business of high school is boring and must forever be that way--that its sole purpose is to deposit tidbits of knowledge into young minds and standardize the way each attacks the world. School Tales begs to differ. As is made clear by its five spunky student narrators, high school, the home-base social institution for teenagers, exerts powerful agency over answers to fundamental questions--Who am I? What do I want to learn? Am I able to direct my life? Can I trust friends to be there for me? How do I find a sense of purpose in contributing to our world?--and is a time of struggle with life's questions amidst intense pressure to make decisions by graduation and launch into adulthood. Students in School Tales, living in a small town of the southern Shenandoah Valley in Virginia, encounter a number of personal and public issues including racism, anxiety, shame, a cross-country move, gender identity, immigration, family instability, depression, lack of self-direction, abuse, and law enforcement. The lessons they learn in school include the meanings of freedom, success, friendship, exploration, inquiry, confidence, false either/or choices, and dreaming. As these students take charge of their learning, the true goal of high school emerges--and the result is a truly heart-warming view of students building what they would call "a life worth living."
Sharon Myrick grew up in the Deep South, trying to figure out why she was not the image of a white southern belle. School was no help in understanding that problem, or any other, until a college professor finally taught her to think. After her doctoral work in the sociology of education, Sharon's passion became teaching, and over the course of eighteen years she experienced every level of school, preschool through college. Related work experiences, managing community educational programs for thirteen years, revealed how change is possible through an "it takes a village" approach. When not tending her Virginia mountain cabin or engaging in local political concerns, Myrick contributes to the school change movement by listening to current high school students speak about their personal needs and new ways school could help them (www.schooltaleslive.com). She loves to hear from kindred spirits who want to connect with the national discussion of school transformation