Jaxon Schmidt is an 11-year-old Grade 6 student at Prairie View Elementary School in Dalmeny, Sask.
Normally a very quiet boy, Jaxon has recently discovered a new passion, one that’s really brought him out of his shell.
“He just came to me and said ‘Mom I have a really good idea and I need some paper,'” his mother Tania explained. “My first thought was why do you need paper, what are you up to and he said, ‘I want to write a comic.'”
Over the next few hours Jaxon, who is autistic, began to craft out a plot and create illustrations to bring his masterpiece to life.
“He sat down at the table and he just started writing, it just came to him,” Tania explained. “He was so excited, he would write a little bit and then he’d act it out.”
“He just kept going and before the end of the night he had a comic, something that he was just so proud of.”
The passion felt by Jaxon was hardly containable, she said, and he wanted to share it with as many people as possible.
“He said he was going to sneak it into the library (at school) – that way the other kids can enjoy it,” his mother said. “I thought, oh no, I better send his teacher an email to let her know that if he disappears tomorrow that he’s on a mission, he wants that book in the library.”
His teacher said Jaxon was brimming with enthusiasm at school that next day. “Before he even walked in the door, he was outside and had this binder clutched to him, he was embracing it,” Teress Waters said.
It was obvious that his creation meant the world to him, and the staff at Prairie View Elementary wanted to do whatever they could to help. Inevitably they teamed up with Jaxon to copy, laminate, and bind his work before giving the comic a place in the school’s library.
“I saw Jaxon with his comic book at the table and I asked him to read it to me and I just saw the look on his face,” Prairie View Principal Lesa Heath said. “You can’t see smiles under masks but, man oh man you could sure tell that he was proud of his work.”
“All we ever want is for our students to find those passions and those successes,” Waters added. “Just to support them in any way possible.”
Not only has this artistic endeavor created a positive ripple across his entire school it’s also helped Jaxon find his voice.
“There were tears in my eyes,” Waters recalled. “You see Jaxon every day and he’s so welcomed and loved in our classroom, but he is typically not as verbal as some of the other students. So, to watch him have these back-and-forth conversations with students and to have him initiate them and go into details, he was sharing his thoughts, he was sharing his feelings, it was just mind blowing.”
“I’m so happy that he found a way to communicate with people and express himself,” Jaxon’s mother said. “He was able to show it to the other kids and for them, it was a conversation piece. He could communicate with them, he felt included and it’s nice to see.”
And his teacher says his enthusiasm for the craft of comics and heroes radiates from Jaxon so much it is infectious.
“The whole school is now involved with Jaxon’s comics. Rumours about them have spread throughout the entire school, everybody is interested, the staff is interested,” Waters explained. “The Grade 1s invited Jaxon into their classroom last week and he read his book on the document camera to the entire class which had such an incredible response that the Grade 1s are asking if they can make comic books.”
“Jaxon is not only pursuing his dreams, but he’s inspiring other kids within the school as well.”