■ Alex Cass / Contributed
With the end of the year quickly approaching, many people are beginning to think of New Year’s resolutions. Some people want to put more of an effort into living a healthier lifestyle, run a marathon, or even write a book. Two teachers at Hamilton K-8 School refused to wait for the New Year to accomplish one of their goals, which was to get their books published.
Jackie Neypes, who has always been interested in writing, published “Just Indian” in April of this year. It is a story about a Native American boy who struggles with negative stereotypes and how he overcomes this adversity.
Neypes said the story came from a series of dreams she had about Whale Beach, Tahoe. She is a registered Washoe Tribe member and wanted to use this story to help bring traditional stories into the modern era. The book won first place in cultural diversity from the Royal Dragonfly Awards and a bronze medal in the Moonbeam Awards in the children’s Mind-Body-Spirit/ Self-Esteem category.
Neypes, a former Hamilton graduate, says she hopes students can take a lot away from her book and her experience in getting it published. She teaches her students to not give up, and not to let little things get in your way or slow you down.
Kris Wood is a fourth grade teacher at Hamilton School. Wood’s book, “From Cage to Couch,” was published in October. The book describes the journey Kris and her husband experienced in adopting various animals in a year. The main animal discussed in the book, Chief, is a beagle that was used for animal testing and their journey to rehabilitate him and give him a forever home. Wood said the process was challenging because they had to teach Chief simple tasks such as eating from a bowl.
Wood said she heard about 40 beagles that were being shipped from Spain after a laboratory closed. These beagles went to The Beagle Freedom Project, which is where they rescued Chief. Wood said this experience has taught her many things like compassion, patience, and even the importance of research on animal testing.
Wood said the process of getting the book published was a long and challenging process. It was sent to many publishers and after four years it was finally published. Wood said there was a point that she felt like giving up and even stopped sending it out. However, she knew she wanted to get her story out for informational purposes and to inform people about The Beagle Freedom Project. She is very thankful for the non-profit and what it has done that she is donating 10 percent of her profits to the animal rescue program.
Thank you Jackie and Kris for sharing your stories and for teaching the importance of perseverance to your students!