Dinicola’s book signing at Barnes and Noble


Photo Credit: Michelle Remite-Berthet

Mrs. D’s book, Tell Me A Story About this Crazy World Called High School: A Survival Guide for Adolescence, is actually a book filled with excerpts from previous students who she has counseled.

Colonia High School’s very own counselor, Mrs. Ann Dinicola, has published her own book,  Tell Me A Story About this Crazy World Called High School: A Survival Guide for Adolescence.

In honor of the new release, a book signing and book fair held at Barnes and Noble in Menlo Park Mall took place. At six o’clock the book fair had commenced. Colonia High School’s acapella group, the Aca-Patriots, opened with the National Anthem, and We Found Love by Rihanna. Next, CHS’s guitar club made several performances. History teacher and rocker, Mr. Perrino, and senior, Julia Paradizova, played Dreams by Fleetwood Mac. After, performances transitioned between the CHS Jazz Band with Mr. Barbato, rock group Overly Attached, alternative group Zodiac Arrest, and more.

Also, artwork  by Colonia High School’s very own talented students displayed around the upper-level of the bookstore. Parents, teacher, fellow students, and shoppers made sure to see each individual piece of art.

mrsd2Next, readings from both students and teachers started at seven o’clock, again on the upper-level of the store.  Talented CHS students including Destiny Davis, Julia Paradizova, Ryan Campbell, Micaela Camacho, Frankie Brock, and more showcased their readings. CHS English teacher Michael Quick had also done a reading solo, and another read with sophomore, Ryan Campbell.

Now, how did the guest of honor feel during the festivities? “My whole life was before me. Students who were in the book were there. I had students come back that I taught in third grade that I haven’t seen in years, and they came because they heard about it over Facebook. My family, my kids that I have counseled an their parents, teachers, and my my grandsons were all there. It was like my whole life was before me, and listening to the music is so special to me…I made sure to go upstairs and listen to those stories. The nicest part about it was the way they (the readers) spoke is what I had hoped for,” remarked Dinicola.

“It was even better than I had expected, and I still feel like I’m on a high, and I’ve never had a drug in my life,” Dinicola joked.

At eight o’clock, readers purchased Tell Me A Story About this Crazy World Called High School: A Survival Guide for Adolescence, and immediately wanted a signature from the author. During the book signings, Mrs. D also says that the experience was just as surreal as the rest of the book fair.

However, how did this survival guide for adolescence come to be? The whole process started when Dinicola went back to earn her master’s degree in psychology after working as an elementary school teacher for 15 years. After earning her master’s degree, she eventually became a counselor for JFK high school. After four years at JFK, Dinicola has been working as a counselor at CHS for 16 years. This will be Dinicola’s 20th year as a counselor overall.

“The first person I met on the high school level, I was introduced to by the Vice Principal of JFK. The boy was going was contemplating suicide. That is where the book began without me knowing it… ” recalled Dinicola.

As she learned who she wanted to be as a counselor, Dinicola began to use writing therapy for students who she was counseling. She would give students who needed counseling a piece of paper and tell them to write their feelings. “The written word is most times deeper than the spoken word” says Dinicola. She calls these writings “dear me” letters, and collects them from each student. Now, when another student comes in with the same problem from a previous student, Dinicola hands them the previous letter (with the name censored) for the new student to read. The purpose of this is to show every student that they are not alone.

Now these letters are excerpts in Tell Me A Story About this Crazy World Called High School: A Survival Guide for Adolescence. The survival guide is not only for adolescents, but for for anyone who comes across adolescence, including teachers, parents, and guardians.

“If one person reads this story and it saves them mentally or physically, the book has done its job,” said Mrs. D.

Tell Me A Story About this Crazy World Called High School: A Survival Guide for Adolescence is on sale now.