State of the Arts

Today was no ordinary day for me, professionally and personally. 

First, my soul-sister/gem came to my school to speak with The Blossom Girls about the importance of community service. She talked about how her life has been blessed through helping others. She gave the girls examples of service activities that they could do on a daily basis such as: helping a friend with their homework and picking up trash in their neighborhoods. She explained to them that they are the future and the change that the worlds needs, must start with them. 

She also enlightened the girls about being true to one's self, explaining that individuality is the root of happiness. 

She left us with a poem titled, Unfinished, that she wrote specifically for the Blossom Girls, with a message that explicitly told them Absolutely no one will ever stand in your way. 

Thank you so much for coming today Z. I know you planted a seed in the hearts of each of the girls. I am truly inspired by you. 

Right after Z left, two of my favorite poets Josh and Davin, founders of Maverick Events, dropped by to help critique my students' Daybreak in Baltimore poems. 

They even performed their own original poems that shared the same theme of change in Baltimore, for the class. 

Thank you both for your service to us today. I am forever grateful!

Finally, while President Obama was presenting his State of the Union address, I was presenting a speech to Baltimore's Board of Education on the importance of integrating the arts into every school in the district. 

If someone would've told me that I would be asked to advocate for the importance of integrating the arts in front of the CEO of an entire district at school board meetings when I was in high school, maybe even college, I wouldn't have believed them. Speaking today was an accomplishment that I never would've imagined taking place. It was extremely scary for me... But I had a great support group of my friends right there to cheer me on. 

This was the first of many speeches to come! Here's an excerpt:

I’ll be honest, I love a good literature circle with good old-fashioned books but I also recognize the fact that my students have grown used to wonders in this century. It's hard to dazzle them. Books alone will not cut it! They need much more to sustain their attention and mentally stimulate their brains. I have the power to this by simply incorporating the arts into my lessons. It helps all students achieve success, whether they read above, on, or below grade level, because art has the ability to match any learning style. From slam poetry to paintings, art engages, inspires, and creates a curiosity that cultivates a classroom environment in which students learn to grapple and discover. I know the Board is truly committed to fulfilling their top priority of transforming the lives of our students. I just want to remind you that there’s only one way for teachers like myself, to ensure that this is done with fidelity and rigor, and that’s through the support of a CEO that is fully committed to integrating the arts into every school. 

I am truly humbled by the blessings that my students and I were afforded with today. I am thankful for having such amazing opportunities and people in my life. 

Love always,