Reading and Writing Our Way Forward
The picture is of my mom and me on senior night. Neither of my parents had attended any of my games before this night so her presence here meant a lot to me. Both my parents work hard, and I have always understood that, but naturally, I always wanted my parents at my game for support. I feel like if my parents had been able to attend some of my games, it would have motivated me to do better so that I can make them proud. I feel like if I had my family to support me at my games, I would have invested more into the sport. I will always be grateful for IAL because although my family wasn't there to support me at games, there were always people there cheering us on when we played. I will always appreciate my coaches and teachers that got closer to me and helped me more than just in the classrooms. I still appreciate my mom being there for me on senior night. In the picture, I might look like I was happy, which I was, but I was also disappointed because we had lost the game on our senior night. We tried our best even had a less-than-great start to the game. The only reason I wasn't too upset was that I knew we could make up for it at the championship game. But I suppose there are things that you have to let go and maybe you learn a lesson from it later while looking back. Not sure of that right now.
What I'm doing that's different is trying to talk to my parents more. Get to know them more. They were home with me for a week but then went back to work. But this was good because my mom needed a rest from her job. I tried to talk to my mom and learn about our family history, and what everyone did when they arrived from D.R.. I am feeling 100% bored but still trying to check up on different people to see how they've been, including old friends and the few new ones. Senior night was bittersweet because I didn't know it at the time, but it would be one of the last games of my high school basketball career. Due to the unexpected COVID-19, I wasn't able to get to the championship, which was one of the only things I was looking forward to this year. It's crazy how life throws unexpected things our way, but everything happens for a reason, and life goes on. So I'm moving along, too.
As we left school for the last time, we didn't know all that we'd be losing. Now you're sitting at home, not feeling the same connections. I've started to use tik-tok and mostly FaceTime also Instagram to share mostly funny videos I randomly find and share them with my friends and family these days.I've been playing more upbeat music than I have ever played in my life.
This month I have been eating quarantine birthday cake to find a little joy.I have developed a connection with online shopping. There's a new package in my doorstep almost every day. But most importantly, I have found some peace and quiet while I paint and listen to Harry styles Fine Line for a good millionth time.
These days I have started to occasionally walk around to see the magnolias around my neighborhood and feel the wind. This is something I haven't enjoyed in a long time, a pleasant walk down the baby snake hill up Fairview and Broadway. Everything about the way I used to think and the perspectives I have feels different. There was a week I wasn't feeling well. My mom told me "todo va esta bien mi niña." I just looked at her and responded in silence as if my fear took over me.That night I remember sleeping with a bible and a tiny bottle of metal with two blankets over my cold body. I remember praying in my head, telling God "Protect my family and everyone in the world ." At that moment, I realized that even with God I put everyone before me. It's not a matter of not loving myself, but just the way I've always been. This quarantine puts a lot into perspective it makes people write songs about future change and more love for the world and everything that once was. The funny thing is that Ms.Earth has given so much for the human race after years of humans taking it for granted I feel like she's finally taking a vacation. Although our situations could be better as humans, the earth's oceans and rivers have been able to breathe.
The way the flowers around the street polls are blossoming, I have never seen their colors brighten as they have these days. When you're trying to quarantine at your finest, I recommend you lie flat surface and listen to your favorite album. Then just breathe. Everyone deserves a break from reality. Try to remember the best time in your life and try to bring all the joy out with a simple smile. You'll find that the darkness you've felt will dissolve into dust.The light shall destroy the dark . In this time of crisis, I have become closer to my family. Being all together between four walls only makes closer. I tend to wake up late, maybe 2-3 pm, and do homework, then I occasionally paint.
Some late nights consist of late-night cravings, movie nights with a mini projector. There's always "rule breakers" kind of the quarantine kings. By that I mean the 40-50 year old uncles down at the bodega eating fritura and drinking Coronas at 1:25 in the morning. To be honest, their conversations are pretty hilarious when you can't find sleep until 4 am. I started to look forward to clapping at 7 pm out the windows to honor the healthcare workers in the neighborhood and around the world. I'm so grateful for their work and devotion to saving lives and doing everything they can to help the health of others. And to the unsung hero's sending donations to the people and families in need. This thank you is for you, along with everyone else finding ways to rise up. Thank you for working, saving lives, and loving one another.
The Choreography of a Pandemic
by Miguel Garcia
In the beginning
everything felt personal
The first swerved dap up
The first elbow tap
The waiting at crosswalks
The reminders to tighten my mask
The awkward dances with strangers
in store aisles
Made me cringe
As a country, we’ve settled on words
like “isolation” and “disconnect”
To frame this plague
Now that the denial has turned to panic
And the panic begins to dissolve into the mundane
We can move beyond the personal
And uncover the silver linings
There’s promise here
a rich stillness
A simultaneous distancing and heightened intimacy
A new language taking shape
Crafted amongst strangers
Yesterday, at the pharmacy
As the older woman shifted backward
And my hand slowly announced its next move
We learned to smile
with our eyes
Our masks on
We learned to synchronize
To use space
To infuse life
To uncover the song
Beneath the silence
To slow dance through a pandemic
A choreographed symbiosis
Dear Inwood Academy Seniors,
I’ll share a secret with you if you promise not to “clown” me. My happiest moments under quarantine have involved reading your creative writing submissions. Your words have drowned out the incessant sirens and snatched me away from the daily headlines. During a time of legally enforced separation, your writing has gifted me moments of complete connectedness. Though immensely varied, your work as a whole shares a fierce loyalty to our IALCS community and a willingness to participate in solution-finding. Speaking frankly, noticing these qualities in you brings me comfort. As your teachers, we operate with an awareness that our futures are bound up with yours. That your ideas and innovations will lead the way forward. When we first began our transition to remote learning, I worried that our classroom assignments would distract from your ability to manage the daily demands of the pandemic. I’m glad to admit that I was mistaken. Your work has revealed to me that the truth is the exact opposite. That the current state of the world renders literature and language more indispensable than ever before.
I’m comforted to know that wiser, more veteran members of our IAL community had long ago uncovered this truth. Last week, our school founder & CEO Christina Reyes announced a school-wide literacy campaign promoting the acts of reading and writing as essential to our community’s wellbeing. The new #InwoodReads #InwoodWrites Initiative will facilitate your access to books and writing opportunities across disciplines.
In alignment with #InwoodReads #InwoodWrites, I’ve updated our 12th grade ELA curriculum to grant you more freedom in coursework while increasing skill-based support as you dive into books and pick up your pens. Your overarching assignment for the remainder of the year is to build upon the work you’ve already begun: utilizing literature and language to make sense of the world around you. In concrete terms, this will involve whole-group writer workshops and individual book consultations. We will all share a book tracker on google drive revealing our current book of choice and linking our writing. Your final assignment will be interdisciplinary in nature: a mixture of literary analysis and personal narrative. On a school-wide level, we will document our journey through a blog that will be assembled and published as a book at the end of the year. My sole job as your teacher is to help you access books that speak to each of you and writing tools that clarify your voices. As seniors, you’ve inherited the responsibility of modeling forward movement for the underclassmen. Now as far as you and I go, I still have a full 35 days left as your classroom leader and boy do I have plans for us. Dust off those books and sharpen your pencils. We have work to do . #InwoodWritesforHope