The South Effingham High School media center teamed up with the psychology, health care sciences, business, art, pre-K and special learning classrooms to sponsor a two-day speaking event for Children’s Book Week with inspirational author and storyteller Fiona Page on Nov. 12-13.
Page, who grew up in south Georgia, shared her experiences about her 25 years of blindness in nine presentations to more than 400 SEHS students. In each animated presentation, Page spoke candidly about the surgical accident that left her totally blind and her struggles to learn to live without sight after 44 years in the sighted world.
Acting out some stories for the very young pre-K students or drawing upon humorous or uplifting incidents recounted in her book, "My Nightlife is 24/7," Page shared a deeply human perspective about a world of darkness that is very rich in colorful, inspiring experiences that children and adults alike can easily relate to and learn from.
Featured in the book "Portraits in Spirit, 25 Notable Persons with Disabilities," Page is an award-winner of the Christa McAuliffe National Foundation Fellowship, the Tommy Nobis Award and DAR History Teacher of the Year, and received commendations from Governors Nathan Deal and Roy Barnes for her advocacy for people with disabilities. She was Ms. Senior Georgia 2004, a storyteller for the 1996 Paralympic Games, and first runner-up for both the America’s Classic Woman and National Storyteller of the Year 2000. To add to her lengthy honors, the SEHS media staff made her an honorary Library Gold Star Winner.
Page’s message to any audience, young or old, is a simple, heartfelt one of "HOPE: (finding) Happiness in life and living it to the fullest with Optimism, Perseverance and Enthusiasm." In the inspiring words of Helen Keller, a personal heroine whom Page quotes frequently, she reminds us all, "The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision."
Page concluded her visit with a shopping spree at the SEHS ‘Stang Zone store and a book signing. Along with her memoir "My Nightlife is 24/7 – Turning Tragedy to Triumph," Page wrote a children’s book, "Bettina the Bold–A Blind Butterfly Discovers How to Make Friends."
As SEHS psychology student Madison Greer summed up, "If you set your mind to it, you can overcome anything, no matter what the obstacles."
For more information about Page and her speaking engagements, visit her Web site, www.fionapage.com, or email her at Fiona@fionapage.com.