Angie Thomas
January 16, 2024

The audacity of optimism

Best-selling author Angie Thomas delivers MLK Day keynote

While some schools take the day off to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Phillips Academy has proudly taken the day on for 35 years. Student empowerment was the genesis of this long-standing tradition, and it remains central today.

Angie Thomas, critically acclaimed author of young adult novels, gave the keynote address at the school’s celebration on Monday. Thomas’s debut novel, The Hate U Give, became a major motion picture in 2018; her second book, On the Come Up, hit the big screen in 2022.

Speaking to the campus community, Thomas invoked Dr. King’s message to lead and serve though compassion and action. Embracing a motto of HOPE—Hope, Optimism, Perspective, and Endurance—she said, inspires her to press forward, especially when social justice challenges seem insurmountable. “The world is a wonderful place, and sometimes it can be a place of light and darkness. Amidst all that, we need HOPE to keep moving forward.”

Thomas signed books and had lunch with students before the community took part in student-led workshops, performances, film screenings, and professional development opportunities.

Angie Thomas (center) with students in Cochran Chapel

Every person who has changed the world has been an optimist. They had the audacity to believe that things could change. And I hope you have the audacity to have some optimism. I hope that you believe things can change.

Angie Thomas Author

Taking The Day On

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Categories: Academics, Campus Life, Leadership

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