FASTrack Learning Community

Foundations for Academic Success Track

FASTrack students use their writing skills for service

Mrs. Karen Forgette’s Writing 102 class did a service-learning project this semester in which they compiled a small classroom library for a Teach for America middle school teacher in the MS Delta. They each chose a book that was influential for them in middle school, secured a donor to buy copies of the book, and then wrote a book plate-sized trailer for the inside book cover so that the middle school students would know why they had chosen the book. The project was designed to show students how they can use writing to make a positive change in the world. Below are three book plates from the class.




Name: Tysheann Grant

Age: 19

Hometown: Grenada, MS

University of Mississippi

            The Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket, is one of my favorite and most treasured series of books.   It’s about three siblings who lost their parents in a fire and are placed with their evil uncle, Count Olaf. They spend the series trying to get away from Count Olaf while bouncing from one unfortunate living arrangement to the next. The characters are smart and witty, and the books themselves are adventurous, suspenseful, and funny.  I started reading these books in the sixth grade when I first moved to Mississippi from Chicago, so in some ways this series became my new friend. In addition, these books were a very intriguing source of entertainment for me because my family and I lived in the country where there were not a lot of activities for children. Therefore, I avoided boredom a lot of times by picking up one of the books and delving into the unfortunate adventures of the orphaned Baudelaire children and their evil uncle.I started the book during the series’ release, so some of the fun on my part was finishing one book and waiting for the author to release the next book in the series. It was a rush to finally go to the store and purchase the newest book. I could not wait to get home and read it.  The books were so exciting and adventure-filled that I could not help but stay up all night and read them. I even started to model some of the characters’ behaviors. One character is named Klaus, and he is noted for his vast knowledge of everything; therefore, I strived to increase my knowledge on odd subjects. Also, I imitated the character Violet who is noted for tying her hair up when she starts thinking. I started tying my hair up in class when I would try to solve a difficult problem. In addition, these books were my comfort zone during middle school because I was going through a tough transition, and they gave me something hold on to and look forward to.



Jordan Keplinger

University of MS

c/o 2016

Memphis, TN

Hospitality Management Major

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: It goes on.”

-Robert Frost

 When I was younger, The Outsiders, by S.E. Hinton, was one of my favorite books. I was never really interested in fairy tale and fantasy books. I liked books that related to real life, present or past, so The Outsiders was right up my alley. This book was about a group of boys in the 1950s, an era that always intrigued me. My favorite movie was Grease, and I was obsessed with poodle skirts and totally in awe with the bad boys of the time they called “greasers.” That’s why this book was perfect for me;  it was about my favorite time period and the bad boys you had to love to hate: the “greasers.”Not only was the book something I was interested in, but everyone in my grade, and also my class, was fascinated by this story. The greasers were cool and did things most of us could only dream about doing. It was the perfect coming of age story at an age where we were trying to figure out who we were ourselves. While the book may have been written about a period in time that was years before most of our parents were born, we could still relate to each one of the boys with their struggles to find themselves and grow up.Middle school was an interesting and odd time in our lives, and it was nice to have a story that made it seem as if we weren’t the only kids going through the odd, adolescent stage. Not only was it a great book, it had an awesome movie to go along with it, which got all of the students even more excited about the story. The all-star cast wasn’t too bad to look at either.




Schuyler Floyd

University of Mississippi

Major: Accounting

Hometown: Nashville, TN

When I was younger, I did not like to read books very often, but I loved reading the Magic Tree House books by Mary Pope Osborne and Sal Murdocca. Of all the books in my school’s library and in my house, these were my favorite. I was never a student who liked to sit in a classroom and learn a lot of material, so I looked forward to sitting down and reading one of these books to feel that I was escaping from the classroom. I loved the plot of every single book. I remember reading about how the characters would go on adventures all over the world and in all sorts of settings and do what seemed to be impossible. The characters would ride magical creatures, insert themselves in important times in history, and do things that any normal kid could not do. The authors gave added suspense because the closing lines of the first chapter were always, “Then everything was still. Absolutely still.” I looked forward to reading the next book published because I was always curious about the next adventure. I was always so excited to keep reading on in the series that I would read the books faster than the authors could write them. I would recommend reading one, some, or all of these books because they will enhance your reading abilities as you move farther along into school. These books taught me that I can do anything that I want to do. No one could stop me when I was reading a Magic Tree House book. It was like living in a fantasy world that seemed completely real. I got to use my imagination and dream about anything I wanted to, no matter how impossible doing that would actually be. I was invincible.