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4/27/11 “Spring”

– by Lisa Ellis, 2nd grade, Talbott Springs Elementary School.
Published in The Columbia Flyer

In the Second Grade, my teacher, Mrs. Allen, gave us a poetry challenge.
The subject was spring, and was supposed to provoke life and happiness.

The winner of the poem would win a prize and have their work published in the next Thursday’s “Columbia Flyer” (the weekly newspaper for the town).

I remember cranking out my poem in about 5 minutes and presenting myself immediately in the front of the room at her desk. She looked up after reading it, and told me that the poem was my “homework”, and that I had clearly not given it enough thought to have completed it in 5 minutes.

I was very disappointed because I liked my poem, and did not understand why she would not accept it.

Reluctantly, I worked on the poem at home that evening, reciting multiple versions of it, and even a complete re-write. It was not sticking. So, the next morning, I turned in my original poem (except I added colored illustrations so that Mrs. Allen would not think I just ignored her suggestion).

I truly felt that my premature submission had eliminated me, but I didn’t care (all this in the second grade!)

That Friday, Mrs. Allen announced the Third, Second and First Place winners. After the first two were announced, I remember being crushed at loosing, and then she announced my name as the winner.

It was such a surprise, but I realize how much it meant to me because I still remember it. Mrs. Allen immediately reminded me that she never said she didn’t like my poem or that it was not good. She simply said to spend more than 5 minutes on the task. I do not remember the prize, because to me the prize was that it was published in our town newspaper.

To this day, I love to write. Here it is, my very first “work” (laugh).

Spring has arrived!



Spring Spring what a wonderful thing

Leaves on the trees and beautiful scenes

Ride a bike

Fly a kite

Flowers have bloomed and the grass is green

Firecamps and picnics are so much fun

Spring has just begun

Baseball, Soccer, and tennis are great

So is fishing in the lake

Riding horses, camping out

Makes me want to jump and shout



Today marks an extrodinary day in history. It has been said millions of times today.

This day will define more than just the future of The United States of America, but define all of our lives no matter who we are.

I was born and raised just miles from the Capitol steps today. A building I took for granted that I got to see every week for the first 22 years of my life on earth. Today was beyond special to me like most Americans and the extended citizens of the world. The day made me realize the impact of the NEW President of the United Stayes of America; Barack H. Obama.

I arrived to Orange Gate Section 16 at 7am. I was lucky enough to have a seat. Millions joined me on my early journey just a day after the Martin Luther King, Jr Holiday. You did not have to be physically there to have taken this NEW journey today. It is as if we all knew our lives changed today. The NEW feeling came over me.

I did not feel the below freezing temperatures. I remember every detail of the neighbors I shared this day with upon Capitol Hill. It did not matter that there was no possible way to get back to my hotel other than to walk, or that all of us would be sitting there for hours tested by the elements.

Young, old. Black, White, Asian, or Hispanic. It did not matter. Famous actors, Musicians, waitresses, labors, and attornies. Everyone was the same. Equal. That alone seemed NEW.

Isn’t that what we have been reaching for?

It is a time to celebrate the NEW. It is also a time to reflect on our own lives and how we can make this NEW world “work” as our 44th President has pointed out.

I love the NEW feeling I have today during a time of transition and challenges for most. If these challanges did not exist, would Barack Obama have been sworn in today? Would the world believe it is finally time for the NEW? Perhaps not. This is why times of hardship always produce a NEW perspective.

I hope you all gained the experience that I did over the past 24 hours. We really are NEW.


This year has been one around the world that the right to be heard has been more prominent than in recent decades. Presidential elections and attempted couts have been the front page news on every continent and are in many ways sharing the common persons need to be heard and equal rights for all.

Seem cliché? Or does it seem like a time in history that we read about and learn in school? Whether it is right here in the United States, with one of the most tumultuous, but exciting primary seasons remembered in electoral history; or if it is the radical elections in Zimbabwe or Pakistan, people want to be heard, they want their opinion to count.

This needs to be heard. The need to have a voice can be translated into any life situation. It seems as if during a time of global economic issues it is exaggerated for those without resources or for those that are disadvantaged. I am likely not telling you anything you do not already know, but more people everyday become faceless statistics that are part of studies and reports.

I recently got a dose of this myself. I own a home on Long Island, New York. My homeowner’s policy was not renewed because the company felt I was in a “risk area”. Firstly, I was astounded by the news considering that I had been of the up most status with the company, and had never even filed a claim on any of the four policies I had with them for many years; but mostly I was offended by the “form letter” I received from the corporate offices notifying me of the “non renewal status” with no reason stated. Global Warming has caused many natural disasters, hurricanes, and tornados, and after a very angry note to the company’s CEO, I finally was told this was the reason.

Now, I certainly am blessed enough in life to be able to immediately get another policy, but that is not the point. This company could really have left me out there with no options. In the wake of Katrina, and now Ike in Texas, many people will be left with no support from exactly who is supposed to be there for them. My dear friend Wyclef Jean is in Haiti now for a relief effort for his native land. Many are left stranded with no government or assistance from anyone. You can say this about many industries, and countries on a global basis. It is not exclusive to any country or any insurance company now. It is a shame, much like Wall Street however, that these big insurance companies have CEOs that are not taking cuts in wages or bonuses what so ever. The CEO of my insurance company for example makes over $20M in salaries and bonuses per year. However, his company is canceling policies to eliminate the company’s risk. Is that what insurance is? Risk?

In any case, my point is that you need a voice. You need to be heard. Whether it is the election on November 4th here in the United States, or your insurance policy being unjustly cancelled for no reason. Participate in what is your life. Stand up. Be heard. VOTE!