Population One: Autism, Adversity, and the Will to Succeed
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Kopachuck Review

I have made a public speaking engagement in front of over 600 kids at Kopachuck Middle School. I do not have pictures and videos to show right now, but will be available in a new blog post.

When I arrived at the school, there was a sign that said “Welcome Tyler!” in big bold letters. Sure did made me feel welcomed.

A bunch of other posters around the school also came up saying that there is going to be another presentation about book publishing for kids who are interested in writing a book and wonder what the process is about.

So a few minutes before I started the presentation, I felt like a machine gun was firing in my chest. Never felt so scared about public speaking before. I know I have performed in front of people before like in radio stations, plays, news reports, and dancing in front of people before, but the audience is middle school children and teachers. It was also very nice for my WST teacher to come to the presentation, and so is a lot of my family members that made it to the event.

I talked to all of the students with confidence, and at times I even made the students laugh a bit, and it was a great feeling to entertain the students for a bit. There was a time when I completely lost my place on my outline, and almost blanked out a bit because there was so much going on with the kids all over the place looking at me. But I recovered by being honest with them telling them what it’s like to be nervous in front of the stage in front of kids at age 19.

Then once I finished my speaking engagement with everyone, a huge round of applause took place, and then later a standing ovation appeared in my eyes! I had never seen such a thing since my Freshman year with the Seniors, but these are kids; and that felt even extra special! It was then I spread my arms and became the silhouette on the cover of my book, a sign of victory! Then after the vice principal told the kids they can go to the library to learn about the book processing gig, there was a whole bunch of kids that ran up to my and wanted to shake my hand, have my sign autographs, and compliment me on my speaking engagement. I gotta say, it feels pretty awesome to have that little celebrity moment with the kids running up to me and stuff. I almost shed a tear on that point, but can’t cry because I promised myself I’m rock solid.

So after the fans had their moment, most of them went to their busses back home. When I went to the library, there were kids and teachers that wanted to buy the book, signed copies. Felt pretty good going back to the book signing gig.

So then I talked about the process about how to get a book into the shelves, and it was a little more brief than the one at the gym. Then when the questions came, I gotta say, these kids came up with the most challenging yet fun to answer questions. Questions like: “How do you come up with ideas?” or “Did you like writing when you were little?” and all that stuff. There were even questions that were about video games. Oh yeah! Funny and cool, that lasted for at least 5 minutes asking me if I’m a Nintendo fan and what my favorite game is, and all that stuff. “I thought this was about book publishing.” I said with a smile. It’s good to stay in topic.

Before I started talking to the middle schoolers, there have been lots of criticism and comments saying that middle school children are terrible and are not easy to entertain. Those people saying that to me were high schoolers. But hey, that’s their silly little theory because when I interacted with the middle schoolers, they all were amazing! These kids are the ones that will bring the future toward us later on. I do believe that every set of grades like elementary, middle, and high do have their little differences in behavior and attitude, but their are always kids that would still be their great selves and would never change, but add on to their personality along with their adventures. I very much do respect all children in general. They are indeed the future.
Over all, I think it was an amazing experience, and for a reward for doing so good, I got Mario Kart 8!

About the Author Tyler McNamer

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