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Poetry Group Brings Together Simeon H.S. and Cook Elementary Students

Trinity Lewis (l.) and Daysha Straight are Cook Elementary students who joined the poetry group ROYAL.

Andrea Watson/DNAInfor Reporter

Thanks to a partnership between her school, Cook Elementary, and Simeon High School, the 14-year-old is able to better express herself and work on public speaking.

“I write my own poetry when I get a little angry. I write when I’m bored, too,”  Trinity said. “When I write, it’s a relief of something. I feel like I’m getting something out.”

Giving young people that outlet — a voice — is what the program is all about, said Sheenita Robinson, the Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation’s civic and cultural engagement coordinator.

“The overall goal is to just show mentorship,” Robinson said. “It gives them an opportunity to use their voice in a positive way, especially in light of what’s happening in our Auburn Gresham community. This is their voice, their opportunity to say, this is what’s bothering me, and I’m going to put it on a platform. We’re able to provide that for them.”

The community organization created the Revolution of Young Artists as Leaders poetry workshop, ROYAL, which brings Simeon’s Writers Never Die championship team into Cook Elementary, 8150 S. Bishop Ave., once a week. For six weeks, the teen wordsmiths meet with the Cook students. They’re able to discuss issues and things happening in their own communities.

“It’s really fun because I get to meet new people that I don’t usually talk to when I’m at school,” said 12-year-old Daysha Straight.

Kendall Roberts (c.) is a Simeon junior. She volunteers her time to help Cook Elementary students with poetry.

Andrea Watson/DNAInfo Reporter

She said the high school students are “good mentors.” At first Daysha said she was shy when she began meeting, but she joined because she wanted to overcome her fears.

“I got over it because I knew I couldn't be shy all my life,” Daysha said.  “I have to conquer my fears and just go out there.”

Kendall Roberts, 16, has been working with the Cook students since last year. She said she came back again because it was a “blessing” working with them. She said she hopes ROYAL helps them express themselves.

“I want them to be able to say what they truly feel and what's on their mind,” Kendall said about the takeaway for the participants.

Andrea V. Watson · DNAinfo Reporter

Keywords: Chicago Public Schools, Greater Auburn-Gresham Development Corporation (GADC), Illinois State University Chicago Teacher Education Pipeline Programs and Partnerships, Poetry

Posted in Education, Auburn Gresham in the News


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