NISKAYUNA — Students at Niskayuna High School recently received real-life advice from author Hugh "H.D." Hunter.
Hunter, the author of "A Magic Door and a Lost Kingdom of Peace" and "Torment" visited the school Oct. 21 and 22.
Hunter has talked to students here before. In 2018, he Skyped with students in Leah Werther's English class to discuss writing.
School officials said students connected with Hunter during the virtual visit last year so the district invited the author to speak to students in person and inspire them to participate in writing activities during the autumn visit.
Hunter conducted multiple activities.
In one, Hunter wrote down five words. Students partnered and were tasked to create a story based on just those five words. One student focused on character, another wrote about place. Hunter taught students about story building and research.
During his keynote speech, Hunter explained how authenticity is crucial for individuals. Being authentic with each other, he said, builds trust and a better community.
"Trust, the keystone of community, demands understanding, respect, and empathy," Hunter said, "all things which interplay with one another. It cannot only flow from the students to [adults]. It has to go both ways."
Hunter also discussed the importance of community and how students, teachers and staff members all have a role to play in building a community at the high school.
"Utilize the organic idiosyncrasies of this place to build a culture that stands on its own," Hunter said. "Separate from the world. Make it a destination. Make it a home. That's what community can be, at its best — home."
Hunter was born and raised in Atlanta and completed his undergraduate studies with a bachelor of arts in English — concentrating on African Diaspora literature.