Monday, June 07, 2010

Superintendent, BAA honored at Arts Advocacy Awards

The nonprofit organization Arts/Learning recently honored Boston Public Schools Superintendent Carol R. Johnson and Boston Arts Academy at the 24th Annual Champion of the Arts Advocacy Awards Ceremony held at the Massachusetts State House. Arts/Learning honored Dr. Johnson with the Municipal Leadership Award and BAA with the School of Distinction in Arts Education Award. All of the honorees received handmade "spirit boxes" created by Cambridge artist Judith Motzkin.

Four students from the Kenny Elementary School in Dorchester also attended the event and read poems, including those they had written in response to the earthquake in Haiti. The students participate in a program with Troubadour, a nonprofit organization that uses poetry, prose and song lyrics to improve literacy and student achievement.

Read the students' poems after the jump.

The "I Remember” poems were written in the fall of 2009 in response to “Sonje” a poem written by Patrick Sylvain about his homeland, Haiti. The children loved his poem about missing Haiti, which brought back strong images of their former lives. Using the five senses and similes, the memory comes alive.

Sonje I Remember
by Emmanuella Exinor, grade 4, Mr. Jeremie, Kenny School, Boston

I miss the coconut tree with
fronds. They are so tiny.

Listen to the river .
There is no noise.
The only noise that you hear is the water
that splashes, and after
it sounds very whispery.

I am going to tell you
about its scent like perfume.

It tastes like when someone
mixes a strawberry, cherry
and green apple, and mango.
It tastes sweet.

I can’t wait to go visit my homeland,
to taste and smell, and hear the sounds.

The Homeless
by Emmanuella Exinor, grade 4, Mr. Jeremie, Kenny School, Boston

We have no where to live
We have no where to stay
We are so cold
and we have no one to hold.
This isn’t fair
why are we so scared
All we want to do is rest
But we have to get through
this first.
We pray everyday
and try to do things our
own way
While everybody’s hoping
their family members
are ok.
We wonder why this is
happening to us
And it’s getting hard
to trust
But still help one another
Because we are like sisters
and brothers.
We cry sometimes
while blood comes out of our bodies
like red wine,
people are crying
This situation is too hard
We can’t handle it.

I Remember
by Krystelle Prosper, grade 4, Mr. Jeremie, Kenny School

I miss my beautiful house in Haiti.
I recall my beautiful cutie parent in Haiti,
The beautiful birds sing in my lemon tree.
I miss the beautiful sound of the ocean.
I recall the good scent when my mom is cooking
fried chicken and plantain.
Also the good scent of the food in the neighborhood.

I remember my good cherry leaves when I am touching them.
I miss my good pillow,
when I am yearning for its smoothness.
I miss the good taste of my mango.
I miss the good taste of the cherries.
I feel happy.

Below, Krystelle addresses the earthquake expressing her anger.

The Earthquake
by Krystelle Prosper, grade 4, Mr. Jeremie

Oh earthquake, you don’t know how much
I don’t tolerate you.
I don’t tolerate you just like demons.
You don’t know how I love Haiti
just like Jesus.
You destroy Haiti,
you make my aunt’s house fall on her,
that’s all your fault.

I really don’t tolerate you.
You know something earthquake…
if you were a person, Jesus will punish you
after you destroy
my lovely Haiti.

The following two poems were written this May, using metaphor to describe how students saw themselves change between Kindergarten and fifth grade.

The Puppy Named Karel Turns Into a Dog
by Karel O’Garro, grade 5, Ms. Nguyen

When I was young
I explored the place on land
and water. I swam until
I found a world that
said “destiny.”

I was like a poor
blind puppy that
couldn’t find
my way to destiny.

Now I’m a strong dog.
I found the path. I saw
my friends. I saw my

When I speak you
hear a roar.
When I run you
see the
grass moving.

Now I’m like a
Border Collie. A
Golden Retriever.

Watch me find
your destiny.

Young and Grown
by Sebastien Francois, grade 5, Mrs. Pierre-Louis

When I was young, I used to cry,
my face never felt dry.
I was like a wet sink and
people kept on using me
over and over.

But now I have grown up and I feel
like a dry land, even when
you spread water on me,
I will never go down the drain.

This poem was written to celebrate the changing seasons.

Summer Days
by Sebastien Francois, KennySchool

I open the door to my phenomenal dreams.
I would see the sun shining on me.
I would dribble the ball
into the light blue ocean water.
I feel as handsome as a beach flower.
I feel the sun warming me up for
a nice and gentle day.
I would breathe in the
outstanding flowers.
I skateboard down the
outrageous branches.

Oh, I love the charming spring weather.
My tree is the ocean and I am the sand.
We will stick together forever.

Writing in the persona of an animal allows a student to convey personal attributes behind an animal mask, while similes help the reader visualize the images.

Faster than Fastest
by Karel O’Garro

I’m the cheetah. I live
in the savannah.
My spots are as black
as the night sky. I move
quietly so I can stalk my prey.
My skin is as soft as a pillow.
I purred when I was little. I’m your
role model as I speed through my life.

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