We are accustomed to the reality that language is a living entity which is constantly evolving. Yet, it is still common to bemoan the fact (especially if you are over 50) that certain words lose their impact over time. So it is with the word “awesome.” Does that sandwich you just ate or YouTube video you watched really fill you with awe? Are you truly inspired or overwhelmed with a sense of The Deity by its creation? Not likely.

Photo by Insider Louisville

Yet there are, on those rare occasions, experiences that do in fact fill us with awe; inspire us with the power of the human spirit, and create within us a deep sense of wonder and admiration. Such was the case Wednesday evening at an event that can only be described as awesome.

Last night, the Muhammad Ali Center hosted (graciously, free of charge) an event celebrating the publication of the book “Our Shawnee.” This collection of essays written by eight students from the Academy at Shawnee was just published by Louisville Story Program and promises to be the first of many efforts to let citizens write the stories of their Louisville neighborhood lives “as they really are.”

If the first effort is any indication, we citizens of Louisville can look forward to some illuminating treats.

Approximately 400 people of all ages gathered at 6:30 for a brief social hour and then took their seats to listen to Darcy Thompson, founder of the Louisville Story Program, and Dr. Keith Look, former principal of Academy @ Shawnee, introduced the book, the broader project and the students. Then to the main event — the opportunity to hear each of the students read a selection from their essays.

_featured_projectsThe pride the students showed in their work was well deserved as each student shared with the attendees highly personal and moving glimpses into their lives. Hearing the students read made for a truly special evening.

The night ended with an announcement that Mayor Greg Fischer has designated May 21 “Our Shawnee” Day. It is unclear whether students will get that day off in the future…

It is not possible to describe here the content of the book or the impact it might have upon you. I leave it to you, dear reader, to experience it yourselves. Go to louisvillestoryprogram.org to learn more about Louisville Story Program and to order this fantastic book. Louisville needs to do everything it can to support this awesome program.

You will not be disappointed.

Story updated with correct information regarding Mayor Fischer’s designation of May 21 as “Our Shawnee” Day.

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