Medford students are sharing their vision for the future in the school district's first poetry contest. WBZ-TV's Lisa Hughes reports.
LISA HUGHES: Series Unifying America. We often hear, words matter. And in Medford right now, some of the words that matter most are coming from students, kindergarteners through high school seniors, sharing their vision for the future in the district's first Unity Poetry Contest.
JOE HOGAN: I do not want to inherit a world that does not stay united.
LISA HUGHES: But through poetry, nine-year-old Joe Hogan can express what he does want.
JOE HOGAN: The world is like blocks. Every time you unite them, they fall down again. If we can unite, the world will be like LEGOs. They stay together. Then I would want to inherit that world, because it is united. So, what are we, a LEGO or building block? We cannot be both.
MARICE EDOUARD-VINCENT: That was the recurring theme, how can we come together, how can we be unified?
LISA HUGHES: Medford school superintendent, Dr. Marice Edouard-Vincent, announced the poetry contest the day after President Biden's inauguration. There's something that's, I don't know, healing about writing a poem, and art is beautiful, and students who are choosing to be poet artists, they are expressing themselves through the written word.
IBRAHIM AHMAD: If we reconcile our differences with many voices and choices, we can accomplish preferences for peace.
LISA HUGHES: 10-year-old Ibrahim Ahmad submitted three poems, fully embracing the theme.
IBRAHIM AHMAD: You can always accomplish unity, you just need a group of willing people.
LISA HUGHES: Inaugural poet, Amanda Gorman, planted the seed.
AMANDA GORMAN: There is always light, if only we're brave enough to see it.
LISA HUGHES: Inspiring Medford students in a special way, Gorman spoke at Medford Middle School in 2019. A powerful voice for inclusion, she's found a fan in 11-year-old Violet Bell. What does it mean for you?
VIOLET BELL: Not separating people into different categories and groups. And just like, we're all humans, so, we should treat each other like that.
LISA HUGHES: Violet's poem ends like this.
VIOLET BELL: Their hands join, their voices soaring, singing as a community. Black, white, gay, bi, singing in unity.
LISA HUGHES: Do you think that someday you will experience the world that you want to inherit?
JOE HOGAN: I think so. Um, if I don't, I'll definitely try and do that for my kids.
LISA HUGHES: Based on the entries she's received so far, Dr. Edouard-Vincent doesn't think it's that far off.
MARICE EDOUARD-VINCENT: It has been filling my bucket, reading these poems, and just giving me such encouragement and such hope. They realize what was happening before wasn't working. They want to make the world a better place. And I believe that this is the generation that is gonna be able to do that.
LISA HUGHES: Now, the deadline for entries in the Mustang Unity Poetry Contest is next Monday. The two winners, one hybrid learner, one remote learner, from each age group, will present their poems, the winning poems, at a school committee meeting next month. Well