New City School Partnership with YourWordsSTL

Throughout the year, our 5th Graders have been collaborating with Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls through a partnership with YourWords STL. 

Both schools met several times with Anna Guzon, parent of Joe (6th) and Frank (1st) and Founder and Programming Director for YourWords STL, to create identity-based poetry.  After sharing their work digitally, students had a chance to collaborate in person, once at Hawthorn Leadership School for Girls and once at New City, to work on creating a group poem.  This project was done in conjunction with our 5th grade social studies unit on the Delmar Divide as a way to bridge the divide that exists in our community. Students worked in small groups to not only work on creating poetry, but also to discuss things that matter to them, things they share in common, and things they wish they could change. 

Pictured here are students creating an iceberg, much like the one on the bulletin board outside our main office.  Students were asked what parts of their identity they think lie above the waterline and are visible to the world, and what parts of their identity they think lie below the waterline and are invisible.  After discussing and determining where to place various cultural identifiers like race, age, ability, gender, etc., students had conversations about what cultural identifier on the iceberg they would like to move and why.

Anna added, “As the program director, I feel these school collaborations address our mission of helping youth amplify their voices while providing opportunities for the community to listen, as well as directly fulfill our vision of bridging racial, cultural, and economic divides. As a passionate supporter of New City, I felt honored to contribute to the school's mission of teaching students to prioritize diversity and connection to the greater community. I think the project was successful in helping young people feel more connected and less fearful of those who might, or are perceived to, live very different lives.”