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“The Best Part of Us” reflected in poetry

posted May 11, 2017, 4:21 AM by Michael Richards
On April 28th, eighteen multi 3rd & 4th grade students from Wells Elementary School took to the stage in the Wells High School Performing Arts Center to present a poetry reading.   The poems, all composed by the students, were about one recognizable characteristic of theirs that they believe to be the best part of themselves such as one’s smile, hair, nose or even glasses.  

The audience of about 80, was a mixture of residents from Avita of Wells, parents, school staff and Becky Murphy’s AP English class at WHS.  The Masters of Ceremony were Kendall Maxon and Eli Potter who cleverly mixed in poetry and humor with their introductions. 

The idea for the poetry project was that of a school intern, Emily Lewia, who is working with Melissa Stapleton’s class this spring.   Lewia said that her project was inspired by the book, The Best Part of Me by Wendy Ewald.   The assignment leading up to the show consisted of two sections, one focusing on the individual student and the other on the class as a unit. The poems were read with an accompanying overhead slide show which produced supersized photos of the actual features that the students were reading about.

“This poetry reading was an opportunity to bring together high school students and staff, Avita residents, and parents to celebrate our students and their poetry,” commented Lewia.  “Another positive outcome of the celebration was creating conversations within high school classrooms recognizing that 3rd and 4th graders have the confidence to publicly speak about the best part of themselves…”

WHS teacher Becky Murphy later shared with Stapleton that she and her class enjoyed the poetry reading which later led to a classroom discussion about the event. The older students were impressed with the younger students’ bravery to speak about themselves in a candid fashion in front of an audience.     

“We discussed how as we get older we are much more self-conscious,” commented Murphy.  “A student commented that an answer (to their best characteristic) might be taken as boasting and that we would feel judged.   We also discussed how innocence is so precious and that the kids were so honest and cute.”   Murphy added, “Thank you for bringing your kiddos to the high school!  It was a great experience and created an interesting dialogue.”

In the second portion of the poetry reading, students read poems about the best part of themselves as a class unit followed by some impromptu dancing to get the audience up on its feet before leaving the auditorium.   “This class is truly a gift.” commented Stapleton.

Below is an example of a “best part of me” poem (untitled) written by Eli Potter about his glasses.
“My eye’s hold me back, and guess who comes to save me. 
When you look at them it unlocks my personality. 
They really are quite unique while bursting with color.
Though when they get all fogged up your appearance gets duller.
Without them my life would be quite a bust.
But when I first put them on trust me I never fussed.
Seeing my family every day really warms my heart.
Man the person that made them must've been pretty darn smart.
Though sometimes they leave me searching drastically
This is why my glasses are the best part of me.”

Eli Potter reading his poem on stage

Wells Elementary School student, Eli Potter, one of the Masters of Ceremony at a recent WES poetry reading event at Wells High School.  With part of his image pictured overhead, Eli is reading about his glasses.  

Students on stage

Elementary school participants in a recent poetry reading on stage at Wells High School reading poems about the best parts of them as a class. 
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