Eighth-grade author writes about future of education
Leila Hardy is an eighth-grader at Lake Oswego Junior High who is anything but ordinary.
Hardy recently published her first book on Amazon, and her second is in the works. She is also a recipient of the prestigious Caroline D. Bradley scholarship, which will fund her attendance at a private boarding school.
Hardy's first book lays the groundwork for a school that packs flat into a shipping container and can be sent to remote areas of the world where education is not easily accessible. Her second book will be about calculating and reducing your carbon footprint.
Hardy said the two books go hand in hand.
"The first book is for people who have a will to learn but no resources," she said. "The other book is for people who have an abundance of resources but no time or motivation to learn about the issue."
Hardy's first book, titled "The Flat-Pack School: Notes Toward a New Educational Architecture (That Fits in a Shipping Crate)," was inspired by the architecture club at LOJ, where students were challenged to create "the school of the future."
"For me, I was thinking of a school that would be adaptable," said Hardy. "That's what I think of when I think of the future."
Hardy said she got the idea of a flat-pack school within the first five minutes of the meeting, and when she got home, she wrote an essay that is now a part of the book.
"I got so fired up, and eventually I thought, 'I should turn this into a book.' So I did," said Hardy.
Hardy has always been passionate about architecture and education, so it made sense that this concept came naturally to her.
"As a gifted student, education has always been this part of my life that's been a challenge, and something that I'm thinking about," she said. "How does it work? What is education? It's always been this question in my brain, since it's been a personal thing for me my entire life."
Leila said her book is about getting her ideas out into the world, especially to the people she'll need to help her make it a reality.
"It's just a project plan, and it's a way of getting the word out about this project to the people that I need for it to really succeed," said Hardy. "One thing I've learned through creating this is that you can't get any idea off the ground without having a really strong team of people working with you."
Hardy hopes to recruit an architect and an engineer, and eventually get a flat-pack school built and sent to another country.
In the meantime, she is busy working on another book about understanding and lightening your personal impact on climate change, tentatively titled "The Carbon Footprint Journal." Hardy said her two books tie together, because they are both focused on education.
"In order to solve problems like climate change, you have to teach everybody how to solve them," she said. "When you boil it down, I believe there are three things people need: critical thinking, information and problem solving. Those things can all be gained if you have education."
As a Caroline D. Bradley scholar, Hardy has the unique opportunity to pursue a high school education at a private boarding school. She is currently looking at multiple schools in New England.
Hardy said the scholarship has given her "the freedom to reach for this higher level of opportunity and more intense education."
Hardy plans to start a Kickstarter campaign to get her first book off the ground within the next few months. In the meantime, she will be hard at work finishing her second book before she finishes eighth grade.