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The Aquilian

    Gonzaga poets bond with students from Bishop Walker School

    Photo+submitted+by+Mr.+Joe+Ross
    Photo submitted by Mr. Joe Ross

    A group of 15 Gonzaga Poets and Writers made a trip to Bishop Walker School on Feb. 9 to bond with fourth and fifth grade students through poetry. Bishop Walker is very familiar to the young poets as they have made regular trips to the school in the past couple of years.  Bishop Walker is a tuition-free k-5 all-boys school in the Congress Heights neighborhood of southeast Washington, D.C.  

    The Poets and Writers group spent the whole day with the fourth and fifth graders conducting a poetry workshop where students were able to dig deep into their emotions and learn how to express themselves through poetry. The day started with an acrostic poem activity led by senior Markieth Hogan.  Students listed their strengths and the activity served as an icebreaker to warm the two groups up with each other. This led to an activity called “In my Neighborhood and In my Heart” where students wrote about the things they see in their neighborhood and how they felt about it.  

    Mr. Joe Ross, English teacher and moderator of the Poets and Writers club, hoped that the students would learn how to write with detail and emotional honesty when doing the activities.

    “Bishop Walker School is not just about academics; it’s also about helping to raise full, healthy, whole young boys and being able to express your emotions plays a role,” he said.

     In addition to the poetry workshop, the students ate lunch with and played sports with each other where both groups were able to learn from each other. 

     “It’s definitely a huge realization to see how some of these kids live and how they view life even at their young ages. It was a fun experience being able to help them craft some amazing poems, ” said Mekhi Spriggs, senior.

    The students ended the day with a poetry slam where students shared their “In My Neighborhood and In my Heart” poems. Here, students practiced their public speaking and shared powerful things.

    The connection between the two schools started years ago when Mr. Ross communicated with Bishop Walker’s admission director, Bardell Brown, a student he taught at Archbishop Carroll High School.  The club has made trips to Bishop Walker in the past regularly and is working on inviting Bishop Walker to Gonzaga in the spring. The two schools seem to have built a “big brother” relationship in the past couple of years. 

    “I feel blessed to be in the position to learn from them because those trips to Bishop Walker aren’t for service but it is a relationship that we continue to build. My partner from last year remembered me and we were able to pick up where we left off. I’m so appreciative to be able to know that and have that connection,” said poet Richard Scott, senior.

    The members of the Poets and Writers club hope that this is an experience that the young boys at Bishop Walker will never forget.  

    “We were able to help them write and develop connections that they would hopefully remember for the rest of their lives,”  Scott said.

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