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!
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 hope to be a singer,
a soccer player, an ice skater,
we hope to be a policeman,
a fashion designer, a writer.
We hope to be an architect,
we hope to be the best.
No matter what we hope for,
we all hope for success.
We hope to enter Minecraft
and woolly mammoths come back to life.
We hope for no more war
and for peace in the midst of strife.
We hope to win the lottery
and happiness won’t end.
We hope Cristiano Ronaldo
and Iker Casillas will be our friends.
We hope that we can live
near a lake with lots of fishes.
We hope that we can eat
a donut most delicious.
We hope the Orioles in the World Series will win.
We hope to not be treated
like an outsider, but in.
We hope to travel, to make Eagle Scouts
to have the best summer we can.
We hope to move to Barcelona
to live the dreams we plan.
We hope to have cool neighbors,
to have friends that aren’t mean.
We know the closest thing to
godliness is to stay clean.
We hope for enough food
for all the world’s peace.
We hope endangered animals and oil spills decrease.
We hope no matter what our differences may be
that we’ll respect each other
and just treat us all fairly.
We hope our hopes stay secret
and our dreams will all come true.
We hope that everybody
loves their life and what they do.