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art and reading projects

Hope Sprouts in Arlington

By Appearances, Community work, The Writing Life

I drove up to Arlington last week for a terrific ceremony for the graduating fifth graders at Claremont Elementary. Last fall, teacher Sherry Lord and art teacher Vicki Walchak decided to make a school hope tree with their students in honor of moving on to middle school. You might remember that the Hope Tree project began here in Richmond, VA when my YA novel The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind was published.  At the heart of that novel – and at the heart of the Hope Tree Project — is the question: What is a hope or dream that you have for yourself? Students create metal “milagros” to represent that hope and offer them to the world.  Here’s a poem that the students created together and read as part of the installation ceremony. I am so honored that they took on this project, and I wish all the graduates the best in middle school! Hope Poem If hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, then these are the things that keep it feeling safe and feeling whole. We hope that we’ll stay friends after shutting school’s door, we hope for family’s health and being sick no more. We hope for a healthy sibling to be born this coming summer. We hope for safe travels to this country from another. We hope Raul comes back, we hope our friend won’t go away, we hope when we grow up we’re as wonderful as we are today. We…

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