April 4, 2018 at 5:30 p.m.

Author to return for discussion at school

By HSJ Online [email protected]

Philip Gulley, the author of "A Place Called Hope," will return to Hope in April to talk to students and the public at Hope Elementary School.

Nancy Banta, a music aide at the school, said she heard Gulley's talk last fall at the Hope Branch of the Bartholomew County Public Library and came away very impressed with his message and his delivery.

She, Jenna Kramer and Abby Calender decided to organize a return visit for the author to have him talk to the school children.

While writing is an important skill and is one of the basics for the ISTEP exam, it is also important that students hear Gulley's larger message about what it takes to be happy, Banta said.

"Nowadays, students that think that things make them happy," Banta said. "I want them to understand that is not what is going to make you happy. You need to be be content with what you have."

In one of Gulley's books, "Porch Talk: Stories of Decency, Common Sense, and Other Endangered Species," he writes about his mother-in-law, Ruby, and her ability to find contentment. Gulley explained that if life is mashed potatoes, most people would only see the lumps. But his mother-in-law would be excited about the gravy.

That viewpoint is an important perspective for students to understand, Banta said.

"It is just one piece of the puzzle that we try to instill in our students," she said. "Yes, academics are very important. Academics are why we are there. But that is not everything. We are trying to make good citizens. And in order to make good citizens we have to expose them to many things. And I think that is what our purpose is - trying to expose them to many things."

Banta said that an important secondary reason to bring Gulley back to Hope is to expand the sort of cultural offerings available in town.

"They can come to Columbus and see some authors but I think it is really important that we bring them to Hope -- bringing attention to Hope in a positive way, is what we are trying to do," she said.

The event will be at 10 a.m. on April 16th at the Hope Elementary School, but it is also open to the public. Getting people from outside the school to attend will be part of what makes the event successful.

"In order to make this viable, to continue doing these kind of programs, we need to have attendance," Banta said.

The town of Hope contributed $700 toward the event through economic development income taxes, and the Hope Elementary PTO also donated, Banta said. Organizers also raised funds through bake sales and proceeds raised from ball game concession sales.[[In-content Ad]]