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May 2001 / young minds :: email this story to a friend

The State of the Art
By Amanda E. Doyle

Hard times in our public schools are pretty well documented; from art to music to foreign language, many districts have trouble funding what some perceive as "extraneous" disciplines, preferring instead to focus on the readin', writin' and 'rithmetic that are easy to test and teach.

Dahveed Nelson
Dahveed Nelson

Divinity, a local African-American arts and cultural organization, undertook a project this past school year to bring the arts back into the classroom. Under the leadership of director Dahveed Nelson, himself an internationally known poet, children at Wellston's Central Elementary School were introduced to the medium of poetry, from its basic principles (rhyme, meter and so on) on through the creation and performance of their own works. Following are the poems of some of Central's fourth-graders. Nelson plans to continue the program next year, and hopefully expand into more schools, bringing the beauty of poetry and the gift of self-expression to children with something to say


I am kind as a Rabbit
My eyes are brown like a bear
My smile is wonderful as a babies first word
My hair is black and brown and long as a snake
My skin is brown as dirt
I am nice as a baby.
I am kind and helpful.


I am brave like a male lion
My eyes are green like grass.
My smile is round like a grand canyon.
My hair is black like charcoal.
My skin is brown like lion's fur.
I am intelligent like my mother.


I am friendly
My eyes are brown as sand.
My smile is nice as a baby.
My hair is brown as wood.
My skin is pretty as flowers blooming.
I am friendly as Santa Claus.

Pierica, Cartavia, Keionna, Polk
I Can Be the Best than the Rest

I can be the best than the rest because my mind is saying to me that I can beat Lil-T.
My best friend Melva said I can make a dummie that is yellow.
She said only thing you to do is put your mind into it.
So I did that and put on a play with is.
Next thing you know I was the best than the rest.
I have something else to say.
I won a gold trophy and a silver one, too.
They all were first place.
I never had a second place or higher, have you?

Christina (two poems)

Today is beautiful.
The sky is blue.
The sun is out!
The wind is blowing.
The grass is green.
The houses and buildings are tall.

Today is a beautiful day.
It is beautiful as a rainbow fish.
The sky is blue, blue as a sea!
The sun is yellow as a bee.
The wind is blowing like a fan.
The grass is green, as green as Halloween.

Peace on Earth

We need Peace on Earth
to live this pleasant day
to have something to
think about as we
Sail the Night

We Need Peace on Earth
to have so
much fun.
to walk and not
see the violence

So dream of a pleasant day and
it will come to you.
All your dreams
and wishes will
finally come

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