BOONE, NC – Justin Chandler ’16 graduated from Appalachian State University with a bachelor’s degree in secondary education-language arts and sciences like a distance education student at Catawba Valley Community College in Hickory.
Chandler now teaches Grade 8 English and Language Arts at West Alexander Middle School in Taylorsville. He is also the author of the 2015 young adult novel titled “Guide. “
He incorporates excerpts from his book into his classroom to demonstrate that “creative writing does not come from the wealth of money, but rather from the wealth of creativity,” he said.
Chandler encourages other high school teachers to use the book with units on Consequences, Growth, and / or the Future. He is currently working on a second novel entitled “Like”, which is tentatively scheduled for publication in the summer of 2018.
One of his former teachers at Reich College of Education, Dr. Laurie Ramirez, described him as “a wonderful writer and a thoughtful, thoughtful student”. She said Chandler was careful with language, extremely articulate, and had a smart, witty sense of humor.
“His commitment to young adolescents is clear and his dedication to teaching is exemplary. I’m so proud of him and his accomplishments, ”said Ramirez, associate professor in the Appalachian Curriculum and Education Department and director of the Undergraduate Middle Years Education program.
Chandler, who was a recipient of the State Employees Credit Union Appalachian Partnership Scholarship for distance education students, said his novel evolved from a short story about free will.
“The basic plot elements were thought through until I heard of National Novel Writing Month and I became motivated to turn my short story into a full 50,000 word young adult novel as a personal challenge. Making demographics a young adult tapped into my desire to teach at the intermediate levels, ”said Chandler, originally from Icard.
National Novel Writing Month, a nonprofit also known as NaNoWriMo, provides the structure, community, and encouragement to help people like Chandler find their voice and complete a novel.
Middle school students develop emotionally, socially, physically and culturally as they strive to find meaning in the world and where they fit in, Ramirez explained. The kind of young adult literature that Chandler’s books support is “a way to open conversations, whether among students or with teachers / parents, that might not otherwise happen, but are extremely important. so that young adolescents feel empowered and valued, ”she said. .
As a teacher, Chandler said he wanted to “continue the tradition of nurturing the spirit of the next generation.”
To young aspiring writers, he gives this advice: “Let your creativity flow in and out of your lungs; let the words you write take your breath away every time ink hits the page, and always be prepared to take risks in your writing.
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