This spring, magic ensued in Room 2612 during fifth period. Bonham Academy and Gemini Ink teamed up to form a creative writing space for a group of 15 young learners for a nine-week reading and writing series. Students produced bound-book-worthy poetry – with the guidance and support of Carol Gonzales and Pam Deusing from Gemini Ink’s Writers in Communities (WIC) program, along with Maile Parker, sixth-eighth grades educator at Bonham.
Each day, the children read, shared, and discussed selected works from various celebrated writers including Sandra Cisneros, Maya Angelou, Langston Hughes and Pablo Neruda. Students also received a visit and reading from a local published poet and playwright, Andrea “Vocab” Sanderson. Sanderson shared her first published poem with the students and spoke to them about being comfortable in their own skin, celebrating what makes them unique, and the significance of writing daily.
The students read and wrote diverse styles of poetry, from odes to haikus, blank verse to acrostics. One poem that was perfected by the students was a work that reflected on the children’s fond memories of their family and home. It was appropriately entitled “Where I’m From,” and was inspired by the works of educator and writer George Ella Lyon. Each of the students’ writings revealed the pride of place and their appreciation of being in the heart of San Antonio with its vibrant and vast cultural persona. The children described streets, buildings, melodies, flavors and scents in ways only a San Antonian would truly understand. On most days the class sessions ended with students proudly sharing what they produced that day, and each poem unveiled a new layer of the students’ creative minds.
The young writers not only rose to the opportunity; they eventually exploded with creativity and sincere expression of their fears, dreams, and inspirations. During a post-questionnaire given on the last day of the series, some students shared that they themselves were their biggest inspiration when writing. Students compiled their poetry into a handmade bound book and performed their favorite poem during the final celebration.
The community that has carved out the special creative space of Bonham Academy should be very proud of the students’ work. Each of them displayed soaring pride in their ability to express themselves through poetry and creative writing. We would like to extend our gratitude to Maile Parker for creating a place in her curriculum to allow a partnership between Bonham Academy and Gemini Ink.
A special thank you to the students of Ms. Parker’s fifth period class for allowing the WIC writers to help them stretch their creative minds further. Lastly, a gracious thank-you to the King William Association and the community of Bonham Academy for their continued support of the arts!
- Carol Gonzales and Pam Deusing