Chain Letters Poetry Project at Morningside K-8 Academy
Photo credit: Chantal Lawrie. Courtesy O, Miami.
Take a stroll by Morningside K-8 Academy and you’ll encounter the words, dreams and memories of their students hanging on a fence outside of the school.
Chain Letters is a poetry project that began in 2019 through a partnership with O, Miami. Caroline Cabrera, O, Miami’s Education Coordinator, called it a visual boost for those who live and work in the area.
“The poems serve as a love letter to the community,” she said.
The installation consists of a wrapped fence divided into four sections that run along NE 4th Court, NE 65th Street and NE 67th Street. Not only does the fence offer an opportunity to display the student’s creativity it also converts basic infrastructure into something more dynamic.
“The beauty and the privacy that it provides will also bring joy to those that pass by the athletic fields,” said Cabrera.
The fence features a total of 28 poems written by students from the third through the fifth grade and will be displayed on an ongoing basis.
“It’s a semi-permanent installation,” said Cabrera. She also notes that the project highlights the academy’s focus. “Not everyone knows that this is a language magnet school.”
The poems are written in English, Haitiian Creole, Spanish and French and tackle a variety of topics.
Diana Martín Dalton, a 5th grader, describes her idea of happiness in a poem entitled “Joy: A Special Feeling”
“Joy is love with the morning sun
Joy is candy, cats, and fun
Joy is friends, us together
I will be with them forever”
Wensly Jean-Glaude,who is in the same grade writes:
“J’aime ma maison
There’s beaucoup rooms
Have a pool
And I can only go to six feet”
Persia Gilbert, who is now in the 7th grade, begins her poem with a self portrait.
“Something special about me is my singing
and how my body moves.
I see my beautiful face.”
And If you ask the students what is one of the best parts about the project, they’ll tell you that they love the visibility.
“Having it on there makes me feel like I’m famous,” said Jean-Glaude. “It lets everybody see your poem when they are driving by,” adds Martin.
Cabrera said that the project achieved impressive results.
“We could’ve done 200 [poems],” she said.
“We had a wealth of beautiful poetry from the students. They are amazingly creative and they are fearless in the way they write.”
Dianna Rose, a Lead teacher at Morningside, agrees. “I think every child needs to learn poetry,” Rose said. “This has been a fantastic project for our school.”
What: O, Miami’s Chain Letters Project
Where: Morningside K-8 Academy, 6620 NE 5 Ave., Miami