Rhyming to Reach Out

Kyle Beck ‘19
EE Senior Opinions Editor

Mr. McCaffrey meets with his senior poetry student teachers while they work to plan a lesson for English classes.

We all come from different backgrounds. We all are different shapes and sizes. We all think differently and have our own opinions. However, one thing that never fails to bring us together is the magic of poetry.

On Tuesday, December 11th, and Thursday, December 13th, students from Mr. McCaffrey’s senior poetry classes visited Trumbull High School’s English classes to teach them a lesson in poetry. After experiencing a semester filled with learning different forms and styles of poetry, these experts spent weeks coming together to write a lesson plan, which they executed to perfection when teaching the students that represent English classes from grades nine through twelve.

This group of student teachers visited five classes during these two school days, which are currently taught by Ms. Nancy Conroy, Mrs. Mimi Seperack, and Mr. Matthew Landin. One such teacher, senior Regina Misercola, remarked on the program, “I taught two English classes today and I loved it. As someone who wants to be an English teacher, it was a really special opportunity to connect with our peers through writing. I think that’s exactly what writing, especially poetry, serves as – a form of connection.” She went on to describe how the experience changed her. “I connected with the students and I saw them jump right into the lesson and then into writing their own poem. I’m excited to continue working with these students and help them craft their final poems.”

Further, the poetry outreach program crafted by Mr. McCaffrey and Mrs. Shupp has a clear purpose in mind: to get the students in the English classes to write their own authentic poem about a particular object or place that has significance in their lives, which they will present during an open mic on Thursday, December 20th, during periods two and three. Members of the Trumbull High School community were invited to attend the open mic event in the auditorium, including Superintendent Dr. Gary Cialfi and Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum Dr. Jonathan Budd, as well as Principal MarcGuarino and the various department chairs. In addition, the theme of this event, determined by the senior poetry students, is “You’er Than You,” a spinoff of one of Dr. Seuss’s quotes in his book, “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!” that illustrates the importance of being unique and individualistic. The full quote reads, “Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is You’er than You.”

In preparation for the open mic, the poetry students have also divided up roles throughout the process aside from acting as teachers, such as serving as emcees for the open mic, creating artwork to hang behind each poet who performs, and designing t-shirts to commemorate the day. Finally, after the conclusion of the open mic, the seniors involved will also be producing a “poetry quilt,” with each poem “sewn” together like a patchwork quilt, which will be displayed on the 2nd floor in No-Name Hallway.

At a time when many issues divide us, it is time for us to bring people together and better our community through this art. After all, according to Mr. McCaffrey, “The goal for the outreach program is to get kids to make an impact on the community using poetry.” Evidently, teaching poetry to dozens of English students has enabled the connection of many who may never have had the opportunity to get to know one another without poetry. Rhyming to reach out can be remarkable.

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