Mistakes and Poems · 31 January 2015

We all make mistakes. Fortunately, with writing, we can just edit to fix them.

Last week, I posted a piece about our school’s Martin Luther King, Jr. assembly. The date on my blog says it ran Saturday, January 24, 2015, but I put links to it on Facebook and Twitter on MLK day. I figured it made sense to put it out there on the day, but I also knew there was a potential for mistakes.

Naturally, there were.

My first mistake was in assuming the poems read could be found on the internet so I searched. I could not remember exactly what was said, so I found a likely suspect. Turns out I did not cite the right poem originally. I found out that the reason I could not find the poems on the internet was because both of the poems recited at the assembly were original. They were thought out by the students in the Life Skills class and the poems were then composed by the teacher, Jolene Kallio.

Jolene told me that her class had a discussion about how the students saw themselves as “different.” She wrote down everybody’s thoughts and ideas on the whiteboard, rearranged them, and then composed the poem. It was an interactive process and everybody was pleased with the result – a beautiful poem celebrating diversity – that would be recited at the Martin Luther King, Jr. assembly.

The other poem came from a discussion with Nikole. Jolene and her student talked about coming to the United States and her thoughts about Martin Luther King, Jr. Jolene took the thoughts from the discussion and put them into a poem. Then, she translated the poem to Ukrainian. Apparently, that translation was not so great so she translated it to Russian. Nikole’s eyes lit up when she read the words and Jolene knew she had gotten their discussion right.

Naturally, I asked about the poems and found out their origins after I had posted the link on Facebook and Twitter. So those who read my blog on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day read the mistakes. Those who read later got the real scoop. Still, I wanted to let people know the story of the poems and actually give others the gift of those poems as well. So with the permission of the author and contributors, here are the poems we got to hear at the Cedarcrest High School Martin Luther King, Jr. assembly.

(By the way, I showed this to Jolene before I posted it. For even though I know I can edit my words, I hate to make mistakes.)

I am Me. And Proud.

Let’s rejoice in our diversity. After all, we can’t all go to a university;
    I am Me. And Proud.
I might have a label, but I am still very able.
    I am Me. And Proud.
I might not drive a car, but it won’t stop me from going far.
    I am Me. And Proud.
I might not walk and I might not talk, but
    I am Me. And Proud.
You might want to stare, but I really don’t care because
    I am Me. And Proud.
I might seem different, but who isn’t?
    I am Me. And Proud.
It might be hard to pay attention, but did I mention,
    I am me. And proud.
I am not afraid to shout what I’m proud about
    I am Me. And Proud.
When you hear “I have a dream”, I invite you to stand up and scream,
    I am Me. And Proud.

Recited by Travis Lems, Cedarcrest High School 1/23/15
Composed by Jolene Kallio, Cedarcrest High School, 1/2015

I Stand Strong

Over there
Many nights so long
In America
I stand strong
All of me
Invited to share
Among all of you
Hearts that care
Love that shines
Through connectedness
Will be sure to find
So grateful
For Dr. King’s song
Because of his fight
I stand strong

Recited by Travis Lems 1/23/15, Cedarcrest High School
Composed by Jolene Kallio, Cedarcrest High School, 1/2015

Я твердо стоять
(Russian version of I Stand Strong)

много ночей так долго
в Америке
я твердо стоять
Все меня
предлагается поделиться
Среди всех вас
сердца, которые заботятся
Любовь, которая светит
Через связности
будет обязательно найти
Так благодарен
на песню доктора Кинга
из-за борьбы
я твердо стоять

Recited by Nikole Hanquet 1/23/15, Cedarcrest High School
Composed by Jolene Kallio, Cedarcrest High School, 1/2015

© 2015 Michael T. Miyoshi

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