By Denise Dick
Poets Shel Silverstein, Langston Hughes and Robert Service provided the inspiration, but the talent was all Chaney visual and performing arts students.
Seventh-graders in English teacher Diane Herdman’s class wrote a poem inspired by Hughes’ “Mother to Son,” while 10th-graders used Silverstein’s “Tell Me” or Service’s “A Character” as the basis for their works.
“These students are extremely creative,” the teacher wrote to The Vindicator. “They know how to think outside the box and their emotions run deep.”
Seventh-graders Nyiesha Moore, Tamron Lewis, Javier Colon, Isis Hodges and La’Rayja Hill wrote poems following Hughes’ pattern.
“I told my son I love him, he’s a good son and I hope he stays like that forever,” Tamron said.
His poem is titled, “Don’t be a follower.”
In La’Rayja’s poem, “Stay in Reality,” she advises her hypothetical son to stay grounded.
“From birth into childhood it’s a privilege,” she wrote. “To imagine, to believe and to dream, But there’s a cruel world out there, And let me tell you this. Life isn’t a movie.”
Javier used his poem to caution his future son to stay out of trouble, Nyiesha wants her child to be wary of those who would use him, and Isis urges her son to keep going no matter what obstacles other people place in the way.
Sophomores Felipe Diaz, Phoenix Reed, MiKayla Moore and Raven Himons based their works on Service’s poem.
“How often do I wish I were my true definition of a character,” MiKayla wrote. “The girl who cares for herself even more, The self=esteem of an eagle, when I fly I soar...”
Raven said she wrote her poem as someone talking about character traits they wished they possessed.
Phoenix’s poem is from the perspective of a person with “a corrupted, evil mind who’s trying to be someone who’s proud,” he said.
Felipe, who signed his poem “True poet,” wrote about three characteristics he believes describe him: artistic, romantic and ambitious.
“Boxes of chocolate, stuffed animals and cards,” he wrote in the “romantic” section. “Long walks holding hands while we stare at the stars, Contemplating our future and what we both need...”
Sophomores Teresa Crum and Asia Jones used the Silverstein work.
Herdman instructed them to write a poem to a classmate, telling them what positive character traits they see in them.
Asia wrote about a classmate, calling him funny and easy to talk to, and Teresa wrote about MiKayla, calling her sweet, kind, beautiful and extraordinary.
Tracy Schuler-Vivo, Chaney’s VPA coordinator, said she looks for examples of art and core curriculum classes intertwining, and this project is an example.
“We’re going to try to find some grant funding to put all of the poems into a book,” she said.