Arts Partners of Wichita is affiliated with the national Young Audiences Arts for Learning network. Its goal is to inspire creativity and learning by using the arts to enhance the classroom experience for students.
“I’m honored to be invited to join Arts Partners,” Overstake said. “It’s a privilege to be included on the list of the truly amazing local artists who devote their time and talents to help educate and inspire the next generation of creative thinkers.”
A Wichita native, Overstake attended Buckner Elementary, Brooks Jr. High, and Heights High School. His novel can be found on library shelves in public schools in the district as well as in local parochial schools.
The novel centers on a gritty heroine, Maggie Steele, a gutsy Kansas farm girl who pours her broken heart into the daring and sometimes dangerous sport of pole-vaulting. Kirkus Reviews calls it, “An inspiring young adult novel about perseverance in sports and in life.” The book is endorsed by Olympic athletes, coaches, counselors and educators for its positive message to young people.
The wholesome heroine, Maggie, shares the spotlight in Overstake’s school assembly presentation titled, “Don’t Quit! Use Grit!” The core message of the program is based on The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, which ranks Flexibility, consisting of perseverance, resiliency and courage (aka Grit) as the #1 Life Skill required for success.
“The message I want students to take away from the program is that it takes perseverance and grit to become really good at anything that’s worth doing,” Overstake said. “In fact, it’s impossible to become really great at something without failing, time and time again.”
The program features real-life people, such as Thomas Edison, Albert Einstein and Abraham Lincoln, along with Michael Jordan, Steve Jobs, and Oprah Winfrey, who we regard as great today, but were once considered failures.
“I ask the students, Can you imagine what the world would be like if these people had quit too soon?” The response to Overstake’s presentation to 4th and 5th graders at Beech Elementary was over the moon:
“The workshops are flexible, based on the teacher’s wants and needs for their students,” he said. “Our goal is to work alongside teachers, to do what we can to help them succeed.”
Overstake is no stranger to the classroom. He covered the education beat as a journalist and his wife, Claire, is an award-winning science teacher at Stucky Middle School.
“I have great respect for teachers and the passion they have for young people,” Overstake said.
Overstake will continue working as author and owner of his independent publishing company, Go Team Enterprises. His second novel, Things We Put Away, will be published soon.
“I want to visit as many schools and do as many workshops and assemblies as I can,” he said. “I believe that today’s young people are truly awesome. They energize and inspire me.”
To learn more about bringing Grant Overstake to your school, contact Arts Partners Program Coordinator Nancy Lucas at 316-262-4771, ext. 100 or email nancy (at) artspartners.org.