The Dream and the Highest Peak

Photo by Sandra Selva

As part of a recent residency led by Get Lit – Words Ignite instructors Raul Herrera and Brian Sonia-Wallace at Sierra Preparatory Academy, students selected a classic poem, wrote their own response poem, and performed both for an audience of peers and family members. The following is a response poem to Langston Hughes’s Dream Variations.

The Dream and the Highest Peak
By: Erik Lopez, 6th grade

Racism feels like looking at a box of colored pencils without every color, full of emptiness

And it tastes like all the bitterness of the world put in one lemon

Racism is an on-going nightmare that has not yet ended

Racism is the train that’s been going since 1807 that only carries depression

It’s just like numbers, it doesn’t seem to end.

Langston Hughes’ unfulfilled dream will hopefully one day become a reality.

So that anyone can fling their arms wide

Enjoying the vibrant sun’s smile

And being allowed to dance

Till the wonderful day is done

As they watch the beautiful stars come on lightly like a warm blanket

Then sleeping without worries and only comforting dreams.

THAT IS THE DREAM!

And the highest peak

The peak that all civil rights activist want to reach

But if they want to make the dream a reality,

Then they have to pick up the pace to pass the point of the peak in stopping the painfulness of the racist to re-paint the picture of the passionate world with more colors than just white.

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Taking “Flight”: Compton Unified’s King Elementary Students Perform at the White House

On May 25, 2016, nine students from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Elementary School (King) in Compton, CA, confidently took the stage and performed at the Turnaround Arts Talent Show, hosted by First Lady Michelle Obama at the White House! Their powerful spoken word piece, “Flight,” was aptly titled, as many of the student performers had never been on an airplane before — it also spoke symbolically to the ways in which King’s entire school community has soared since becoming a Turnaround Arts: California partner school in 2014.

Teaching artist magic: Galvanizing your team with a high-quality residency

When we learned that Wolf Trap would be doing a one-week residency at our school, I was excited because I had participated in several of their workshops in Virginia at the national Turnaround Arts retreat last summer. Finally my colleagues were going to experience what I had been telling them about.

Wolf Trap is a nationally recognized leader in the field of arts education. Its Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts trains teachers through residencies and workshops “to use performing arts techniques to enhance instructional practice and achieve curriculum goals set for young children. The focus is on essential areas such as math, language arts, performing arts fundamentals, critical thinking, and collaboration.”