Odyssey of the Mind is an international creative problem-solving program that allows students to use creativity and teamwork to solve a challenge problem with a long-term solution. For our first graders the theme was to create a cooking show. The kids created the script, scenery and props.
“If you are the victim of gun violence, raise your hand,”
said Zion Kelly.
Zion Kelly, a senior at Thurgood Marshall Academy in Southeast Washington, spoke about his twin brother, Zaire, who was shot and killed by a robber in September. “From the time we were born, we shared everything. I spent time with him every day because we went to the same schools, shared the same friends, and we even shared the same room,” he said. “I’m here to represent the hundreds of thousands of students who live every day in constant paranoia and fear on their way to and from school.”
His first season of basketball he had never attempted to dribble a ball until the first practice. From chucking the ball when his dribbling skills slowed him down to going after every rebound and passing to his teammates his growth is a testament to the patience and diligence of his coaches and his tenacity.
The most intuitive of numbers, eleven, also symbolizes disorder, extravagance and rebellion. It comes after the wholeness of ten, a decade of childhood complete, but before twelve, the beginning of angst and separation. At eleven I can still kiss you on the lips, hug you in front of your friends and be the source of your truth. You laugh at my jokes, you patiently explain video games, anime and hip hop songs and you accept my reasoning and explanations for why things have to be my way. A golden time, I realize, soon enough I will be challenged to vie for relevance and coolness.
“If the day and the night are such that you greet them with joy, and life emits a fragrance like flowers and sweet-scented herbs, is more elastic, more starry, more immortal- that is your success. All nature is your congratulation, and you have cause momentarily to bless yourself… Perhaps the facts most astounding and most real are never communicated by man to man. The true harvest of my daily life is somewhat as intangible and indescribable as the tints of morning or evening. It is a little star-dust caught, a segment of the rainbow which I have clutched.”
― Henry David Thoreau
Sand Beach is nestled between a mountain and a rocky shore on the east side of Mount Desert Island in Acadia National Park. When we arrived the inlet was shrouded in early morning fog which was quickly chased away by the day’s sun.
“Don’t trip on your hem,” I told myself as I walked up the choir bleachers, my long black skirt paired with my collared white shirt. I stood proud, excited for the harmonies and melodies I’d soon be belting out alongside my classmates, giggling to relieve my jitters and anticipation. Fast forward thirty two years and those memories come back strong and fresh as I watch Lucas walk up the bleachers for his choir performance then take his seat to perform with the band.