Solomon Challenges NACSA to “Expect More” for NACSA’s 2018 Leadership Conference

Solomon Challenges NACSA to “Expect More” for NACSA’s 2018 Leadership Conference

Solomon Parris’ drawings (left) is the inspiration for NACSA’s 2018 Conference logo.

The theme of the 2018 NACSA Leadership Conference is meant to capture the resounding sentiment of our nation’s best authorizers: to Expect More. To create more quality school options, authorizers are expecting more of schools, educators, politicians, and even themselves.

When we selected this year’s conference theme, we decided to turn to the students we serve to interpret this idea. We reached out to charter schools in Florida—our host state for this year’s conference—and asked students to submit ideas through a contest.

We were struck by Solomon Parris’ entry.

Solomon is a rising tenth-grade student at Pepin Academies, a charter school network in south Florida empowering students with learning disabilities to reach their full potential. He visually captured what we and great authorizers across the country aspire to do every day: Create educational opportunities that allow students to pursue their dreams and find success in life.

His two sketches (see above image) are the direct inspiration for NACSA’s 2018 Leadership Conference logo and more importantly, serve as the lens for all aspects of this year’s conference, challenging us to go deeper with our work.

Help us celebrate Solomon and check out our short interview with him below.

Solomon Parris inspired the logo to NACSA’s 2018 Leadership Conference.

How long have you attended Pepin Academy, and what kind of a difference has it made on your education and life?

Well, I’ve been attending Pepin Academies Riverview campus for the past four years.  The difference that Pepin Academies has made on my life and education is that attending school is better and more comfortable for me.  I enjoy going to school every day, because of my friends and teachers.

Next year, you’ll be a sophomore. Congrats! When you think about your future, after high school, what do you envision?

After high school, I see myself attending college for drawing and cooking; meeting and making new friends; and getting use to a totally different class schedule.
Drawing by Solomon Parris

We know you love to draw. What got you into drawing? 

Why yes, yes, I do enjoy drawing. When I first moved to Mississippi, with my family, I had a Doodle Pad. It allowed me to draw different shapes, colors, and forms of different things.  It also allowed me to express what I was thinking of creatively.

What are some of your favorite things to draw and why?

My favorite thing to draw is TV show characters, such as; Ben 10, Scooby-Doo and Power Rangers.  I enjoy drawing TV show characters because it’s better for me to describe them by drawing; instead of using my words. Sometimes, most people don’t understand what or who I’m describing or talking about.

Drawing by Solomon Parris

We loved your concept design for NACSA’s 2018 conference. Why do you think you design best demonstrates “Expect More,” NACSA’s conference theme?

My designs show that most students want to help others in the future. My male example shows a shadow of becoming a doctor someday, and my female example shows a shadow of becoming a superhero. I wanted to show both boys and girls doing something that expected a lot of their future. We must all work together to reach our goals, and we must expect more of each other to reach our potential.

We were so happy to use your concept as the inspiration for our logo. Do you like what we came up with?

Yes, I do!  I like how the letters stand out like a rubber stamp.  The letters look as if they’re in 3-D.  And the colors look as if they’re apart of a sunset celebration!

What would you change about school and what would you keep the same?

I would change school by adding lockers in the hallways.  Because, it would be helpful to have somewhere to store our things, instead of losing everything in the classrooms or around the building. I would keep the cafeteria the same because it’s better for the staff and students to be able to get prepared for lunchtime and to break down at the end of the day for daily cleaning and dismissal.

Final question, since we’ve heard you’re getting into cooking a lot lately…what are your favorite dishes to cook and to eat?

Well, my favorite foods to eat are chicken, chicken and shrimp hibachi, fruit salads, bananas, sweet potato pie, waffles, pizza, French fries, Jell-O and grilled cheese sandwiches. Well, when I lived in Idaho, I loved baking pizzas.


Register for NACSA’s 2018 Leadership Conference, Expect More

Learn more about Pepin Academies

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