As I type an ABC News affiliate stands at the front of the classroom filming our kids. The kids are quiet; pencils scratching their college ruled paper. They have a lot to say right now. You can almost see the wheels turning as they interpret the poetic display of passion that they have just witnessed. Ms. Brown just introduced them to slam poetry.
“Will they ever call your death beautiful?” –The two Chicagoan slam poets ask. They chew on these words.The young poets were presenting the issue of gang violence and teen mortality.
They share their thoughts:
Krisshandra stands to share what she has written. She says a lot and closes with--“I can relate to this because a little boy at John Essex died the day before his birthday. His name was Nathaniel.”
Curtisha tells us how she is feeling after watching the video-“I am feeling sad because people are killing people who are young and innocent,” she says solemnly.
As Pound Cake (Ja’Terica) stands, we smile-“I am feeling sad because the young people who died didn’t get a chance to see their futures or go to college.” Pound Cake wants to attend Harvard one day. She elaborates on how young lives are lost-“hanging around the wrong crowd can get you killed.”
Mantricia, who was interviewed privately by the news team, shares her thoughts on the matter-“I don’t think it is going to change. People are going to do what they want to do regardless of what people tell them”
After the news team left the kids hit the books again. At 3 O’clock they broke into groups; some went to play soccer in the gym, some stayed in the computer lab and studied, while others headed back to the dorms to relax. And at 6 o’clock we crowded around the TV in our common area to watch ABC news present our story. Just as promised, we heard the words, Higher Achievement Summer School!! We cheered so loudly we nearly missed the rest of the story. We saw clips of interview footage of Davontae and Mantricia.The kids were so excited! Davontae ran around squealing with glee!!! I think he is still in shock.
We are so proud of the students. They are working extremely hard, and we are so glad that other people are taking the time to notice just how GREAT these kids truly are.