Warwick, RI — It all started with the simplest of objects: A dot.
Author Peter H. Reynolds used that image in his book The Dot to show how one teacher could make the difference in the life of a girl who really didn’t think she could be artistic.
But starting with that one dot, Vashti realizes that she does have talent — and goes on to inspire her classmates into finding their creativity.
Reynolds’s story — one of “creativity, courage, and collaboration” — has bloomed since its publication in 2005 into an international effort to urge kids to challenge themselves and reach for their goals.
On Monday, Sept. 15, the entire student body of Warwick Neck Elementary School gathered to celebrate International Dot Day, the “birthday” of The Dot, and to get a few doses of inspiration from Mayor Scott Avedisian, U.S. Army SFC Shayne Chapman and X-Games champion [and Rhode Island native] Kevin Robinson.
First-grade teachers Tracy Mollock and Amy Dolan put together the event, which involved the whole school community.
“Everybody had a little bit of a part in organizing this,” explained Mollock. “Our overall goal is to get the kids to know that they can make a mark in the world, they can make a difference.”
That message permeated the hour-long presentation, with Avedisian reading The Dot while Dolan projected the text onto a large screen for all to read.
“It goes to show you that the faculty here is very creative and very innovative,” the mayor said in an interview before the event.
Chapman, who first joined the Army at age 17 and is a well-known coach of Warwick American Little League, had the honor of an introduction by his son, Tyler, before speaking to the students about the importance of education in his life, and about bravery.
“Everybody thinks of bravery like a firefighter going into a burning building, but every single one of you here is brave,” Chapman told the students. “Being brave is not being a bully — being brave is talking to that bully and saying ‘that’s not right.'”
The biggest reaction, though, went to Robinson, who led the assembly in a rousing chant of “Dream your life, live your dream” as part of the event.
In an interview after the program, Robinson spoke about what inspired him in his youth.
“A big inspiration for me was my dad, just for how hard of a worker he was — he just put his head down and did what he had to do, him and my mom,” said Robinson. “Another inspiration for me was negativity — the people who told me I couldn’t do it, the people who said I couldn’t be a professional bike rider — proving them wrong and that I could do it taught me how to face adversity and persevere through it.”
See more from International Dot Day in the video above.
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