Thursday, December 18, 2008

Project 4 Awesome

Project 4 Awesome is the brain child of Hank and John Green. John Green being the award winning young adult novelist--author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines and his latest, set in Winter Park, Paper Towns. Hank Green being the Eco Geek and my former student. I didn't put the two together until I read the acknowledgments at the end of Paper Towns. When Lee, Christine and I were at the ALAN reception at NCTE, I took a picture of John for Lee. She mentioned he was from Winter Park and asked if I'd taught him. I couldn't imagine forgetting a student, much less one that became a writer I look forward to reading, so I just said I hadn't taught him and kept on going.

Then I finished Paper Towns and when I read John's thank you to Hank, I had a light bulb moment. I could see Hank's writing in my homemade yearbook from my last year at WPHS. I texted my friend, Lee, John Green fan that she is. She texted me back. The back and forth continued. I found the yearbook the next day in my classroom and indeed, it was Hank. The Hank I remembered from my senior gifted English class; I was a 5th year teacher when I had him. I was the age he is now. I am such a different teacher now and of course, the first thought I had was had I done him justice?

My old yearbook led me to looking him up online. Lee had mentioned the Vlogbrothers, so I looked them up and found Project for Awesome. What a thing he and John have created in Project for Awesome. What a team and a coming together--it truly is getting the fish to swim in the same direction, if just for a moment. Powerful. For one day, their Nerdfighters and other followers, rate, favorite and comment like crazy on videos posted about charities. They comment tirelessly in order to take over YouTube's most discussed list. Finding Hank Internet famous and doing swimmingly made me want to participate in his Project Awesome. I shared the story with my current students and we decided to pull together our pictures from volunteering at Give Kids the World. We pulled the video and sound together and posted it to YouTube.

The brothers took turns live on pointing the people to videos. Comments swarmed. Literally, a few of the videos I participated in would move from 100 or so comments to 4,000 in less than an hour. It reminded me of how Crichton wrote about flock and swarm behavior in Prey. Amazing. In the process I looked Hank up on Skype. Sure enough, found him.

Project for Awesome took over the most discussed list on YouTube at 9:06-- quite a phenomena. I learned a lot today. Definitely a pink stone day. That and I got to skype chat with Hank--pink stone all the way. Strong work, Hank and John, strong work.


  1. Nerdfighters, really can change the world.

  2. That's an amazing picture of Hank. =)

  3. Hello! Nice picture of Hank. Yay Nerdfighting!

  4. You must have done something right! DFTBA

  5. I love it :D


  6. Nice post. Thanks for taking part in the P4A! I remember my English teachers with great fondness, as it is apparent that Hank remembers you.

    And great that you're a Crichton fan! I loved "Prey."


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