Teacher Jackie Vadney reads her book, Pokeys Promise, to her class at Eastminster School in Conyers. Staff Photo: Karen J. Rohr.
When Jackie Vadney's students struggled to understand how to tell time the elementary school teacher told them a story that brought the hands of the clock to life.
She told them that Pokey, the short hand, was sad because he's wasn't as fast as Speedy, the minute hand, which was always passing him by. The kind Speedy helped Pokey understand his important role -- that children should always look at him first when telling time -- and by the end of the story Pokey and Speedy were both happy.
"When you put emotion and feeling into it, the kids remember it," said Vadney.
Years later, Vadney's story has evolved into a children's book "Pokey's Promise," written by Vadney and published in September by Publish America. The book is available online at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Publish America.
She said her students' parents encouraged her to publish the book.
"Every time I'd see a parent or student from previous classes and years, they'd ask if I'd published my story. By them constantly asking, it made me accountable for doing it," said Vadney. "I still can't believe it's been published."
Publish America provided the illustrations, which Vadney said enhance the story. Pokey is crying at beginning of the book when Speedy suggests they meet for lunch for a quick minute, since that's all they have. They show up for the meeting with their lunch boxes and that's when Speedy convinces Pokey that he's crucial to telling time.
At the end of the book, children have to take Pokey's Promise that they'll look at the big hand first when telling time, otherwise they'll hurt Pokey's feelings.
"I'm very pleased with the flow of the story, the emotion in it and the illustrations. It really holds the attention of a young reader," she said.
Vadney grew up in Rockdale County and attended Pine Street Elementary, Conyers Middle School and Rockdale County High School. She said as a high school student leading a cheerleading team of 8- and 9-year-old girls, she discovered her teaching talents.
"I loved being around kids. It was just so much fun," said Vadney. "I realized I had a knack for keeping kids' attention... It came easy for me."
She earned her early childhood education degree from Georgia State University and taught in the Rockdale County school system for 12 years at Honey Creek, Flat Shoals and Lorraine elementary schools.
Vadney took an eight-year hiatus from teaching to raise her daughters, now 14 and 17, and then went back to teach one year at Rockdale Preschool Academy and four years at George Walton Academy.
She and her family now live in Monroe and this is Vadney's second year teaching at Eastminster School in Conyers.
Vadney also has several other books in the works, including the "Soccer Sisters" series which is about two teenage girls and how they cope with the pressures of high school, as well as a novel, "Beach Daddy," based on her father's life.
"It's exciting to be an author. It makes me want to send more of my stories to be published," said Vadney.