FCS Elementary Student’s “Spark” Inspires Others

  • Posted 8/30/2023




    High Point Elementary student Kaiya Desai has an impactful message to share.

    “No one is too little to help,” she says. “Everybody can help, even if you do little things.”

    Kaiya proves the power of that mindset in her book, “My Life: Dida and the Stroke.” She wrote and illustrated the story of her grandmother’s recovery from a stroke in 2022. Kaiya worked on the book last year, as a first grader.

    Kaiya’s father, Dr. Dhaval Desai, says the “original plan” was for him and Kaiya to work on the book at home, as a project for Stroke Awareness Month last May. Kaiya’s “Dida” is his mother.

    “Being a physician, I really like making stories out of my own family’s experiences – just to give hope,” he says.

    Dr. Desai says he and Kaiya had different visions of what the book should be, so he asked Kaiya’s teacher, Tiffany Churchwell, for guidance.

    Ms. Churchwell describes Kaiya as “so bright, so enthusiastic and just self-motivated.”

    “Ms. Churchwell is a very special teacher,” says Dr. Desai. “She creates community and just does an amazing job in that classroom.”

    Part of that sense of community comes from High Point’s designation as an International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP) World School. Dr. Danielle Miller, High Point’s principal, says IB PYP encourages students to be caring communicators who are “knowledgeable, open-minded, principled and reflective.”

    Ms. Churchwell encouraged Kaiya the same way she encourages all the students who have walked through her doors in her 23 years at High Point.

    “I want them to know that not only am I their teacher, but I’m genuinely invested in them and their well-being and their families,” says Churchwell.

    That openness helped Kaiya with another central theme in her book.

    “If you share your problems, other people may follow and do the same,” she says.

    Ms. Churchwell recorded Kaiya reading her book and says the project, “sparked all the other students to want to write stories.” Kaiya’s story was recently shared on the American Heart Association’s website.

    When asked about her future career, Kaiya says she might want to be a writer, a teacher, or a scientist.

    Dr. Miller calls Kaiya “an exceptional young lady,” adding, “I can’t wait to see the impact she makes not only in her community but in the world.”

    “I’m just very excited for Kaiya,” says Churchwell.  “She’s very empathetic and she wants to do better, she wants to know more, she wants to help.”

    Kaiya is doing exactly that with her book. You can see it here.