From the beginning of their freshman year, students are told that Central High School will stick with them and affect them for the rest of their lives. Just from looking at the Alumni Hall of Fame, it is easy to see all of the amazing things that people have achieved as a result of the quality education and the immense support provided from the teachers and staff. There is no question that Central changes its student’s lives for the better.
Chyna Moore-Smith (276), is now attending Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, as a drama major. Her experience at Central, like many others, has shaped her to become a better person. In the summer of 2017, she put her experience into words by writing a book called Orbit. This book is a collection of short stories and poems, focusing on her senior year, that all tie into the central theme of self-acceptance. Orbit. will be officially published on November 20th, 2017. In an interview, Moore-Smith describes her experience at Central and how it has shaped her views on life and influenced her to write her book.
Moore-Smith describes Orbit. as “a collection of thoughts, poems, and conversations about the first time I fell in love and the lessons I’ve learned from it.” Her main purpose in writing the book is to let out any pent up tension and to voice things she was previously unable to. In her words, she describes Orbit. as simply honest, funny, and bittersweet: all of the emotions she felt both when writing the memoir and when living the experiences. When asked how writing Orbit. has helped her cope with any problems she had in high school, Moore-Smith said, “It’s helped me understand things from a different narrative and has given me a way to vent and express myself better. It’s also helped me move on because I’ve found that I’m happier with what was created out of my relationships and I’m able to look back on what happened with happiness now. It’s also helped me grow as a writer because when I first started, I felt like the story I was writing was immature and I was embarrassed by it, but I’ve grown to embrace the feelings I had in that moment no matter how immature, because they were real in that moment and to create something out of it that I am extremely proud of.”
When asked how her experience at Central shaped her writing, she stated, “Well, as far as the plot, if I hadn’t gone to Central, the story would have never been created—very butterfly effect—but as far as my writing, two teachers inspired me: Ms. Yakov and Mr. Burns. Ms. Yakov published her own book inspired by stories from her life, which made me confident enough to do the same, and Mr. Burns for so many different reasons. He always encouraged me to do the things I loved; he has helped me become a more confident writer and person. Drama Society is the first place where I was inspired to write about my experiences and also write comedy, and he also helped me with a lot of the situations mentioned in the book.” In her opinion, she believes that the most amazing thing about Central is the people. She said that the friends and experiences she has made at Central will stick with her forever and she is extremely grateful for that.
Finally, Moore-Smith stresses that Orbit. is a memoir, and though the events in the book maybe be the truth, they are her truth, so her words should be taken with a grain of salt. She would also like to give a word of advice for any other aspiring writers at Central, “Don’t limit yourself to your expectations. Read and reread your work, then have two people read it again. Find time to read books for leisure. Those classes where you’re not really learning anything and zone out will be amazing times to write when you don’t have time otherwise. Don’t expect your story to come at 18 years old either, I just got lucky. Most of all though, just don’t take yourself, or anyone else, too seriously. Just relax and be yourself.”
For anyone interested, Orbit. will be sold on an online bookstore, Lulu.com, and will soon be available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble online for about twenty dollars. If you have more questions about Moore-Smith’s life or writing, you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yasmine Mezoury (278)