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Author promotes learning to local students

Award-winning author Da Chen spoke to classes at Scotia-Glenville High School Friday, May 31, as a follow-up to the students' study of his work, including his best seller Colors of the Mountain.

Chen spoke to, two English and two global studies classes.

"Colors of the Mountain" tells the tale of his life growing up during the upheaval and political persecution of the Cultural Revolution in Communist China.

Diana Carpenter, an English teacher at the high school who coordinated the event, said that Chen was gracious in accepting the invitation from the school. She said he recently visited the Writer's Association in Albany, as well as other area schools in an effort to promote his love for writing and education.

"He's a truly gracious person who takes the time to speak with students who read his work because he wants to emphasize the importance of learning all you can during your high school career," said Carpenter.

She said students made memoir chapters of their own, which they bound in a book and presented to the author as a thank-you gift after the assembly.

For two hours after the assembly, many students clustered around him in the Library Media Center as he quizzed them on how they would best describe themselves by answering the question: "What is your essence?"

For each student who approached, Chen created elegant full-page Chinese characters with brush and ink depicting their personalities. A girl from the rowing team became "fire on the water." Others received wishes for the realization of "dreams and diligence."

Student Mariah Senecal said that her introduction to Chen was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for her.

"I've never met an author before, and I've read hundreds of books. I think that it will make this book special because I know that each time I read it, I will feel like I'm there because meeting Da Chen shows us that it was real, that he is real and that his story is as authentic as our own memoirs," said Senecal.

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