On February 23rd, I went to the Library Auditorium to watch a 2-hour documentary called Waiting for Superman. The documentary followed a few low-income families from different areas of the United States and gave viewers an up-close look at the conditions of local school systems. I was absolutely shocked by some of the statements in this film. For example, 68% of inmates are high school dropouts. If you do the math, we could send each inmate to a private school with the amount of money that is spent to keep them in prison. Most people think that children from low-income families can’t learn, but the truth is, they can. If the right accountability is applied, you will get the results you need to. The proof was clear as I watched Anthony, Daisy, Francisco and Bianca excel when put in a stable, effective learning environment. The end of the documentary showed each child waiting with their parents to see if they had made the lottery for a spot at one of the best schools in their area. Watching them wait as a number after number was called truly broke my heart. Both the child, and their parents know that is they are not chosen the chance of them receiving a proper education is very unlikely. I have always been grateful for the life that my parents have provided my sisters and I, but I have never been as thankful as I was at this very moment. As soon as I got back to my room, I wrote my parents a letter, letting them know that I truly appreciate all that they have done for our family. Waiting for Superman was an extremely touching documentary and I highly advise everyone to take the time to see it.
“The Video”, written by Fleur Adock, is about a young girl Ceri who becomes jealous when her sister Laura is born. The poem is separated into two stanzas: the first describing the delivery room when Laura was being born, and the second is Ceri replaying the video of the birth. Rather than clearly stating that Ceri is jealous of the attention her new sister is receiving from her parents, it is hinted in the final two lines of the poem when she rewinds her sister’s birth. In Waiting for Superman, children and their parents anxiously wait as each lottery number is called. When there were suddenly no spots left and their number hadn’t been called, I could immediately see the sadness across their faces. Not only were they disappointed that they were not chosen, but they were jealous of the other kids who were chosen. Just like Ceri kept hoping that the birth of her baby sister would rewind, the kids wished that the lottery were rewound and a new number, their number, would be chosen. Although at first things may not be the way that we hoped, it is possible that it can turn into something wonderful. Anthony was put on the waiting list for the charter school, but he figured that there was no chance of a spot opening up. Just a few days after the lottery pick, the school called to give him the news that he will be attending the school. Given from my own experience of having two younger sisters, I know that even though it is hard for Ceri to get used to the idea of having a younger sibling, she will soon learn to love her sister and appreciate the new addition to her family.
“My Papa’s Waltz”, written by Theodore Roethke, tells the story of a boy living with his father who is an alcoholic. The poem is set up so it seems like they are dancing, but in reality it is the dance of the chaotic and disturbed environment that the boy lives in. The entire time the boy is holding onto his father: “But I hung on like death.” No matter how drunk his father is and no matter how physically hurt he may be, he continues to hold onto him as tight as he possibly can. The children in Waiting for Superman are unfortunately placed into poor school systems because of the areas that they live in. I was shocked by how driven the children were to learn and achieve their ideal future. Although they are aware that most of the kids in their school system do not graduate, they continue to work hard and hope for the best. In a way, the children hold onto the hope for a successful future just like the little boy holds onto the hope for a relationship with his father.
“(Untitled)”, written by Peter Meinke, is a free verse poem primarily from a father to his son. The father has abused his son over the years and has realized the physical and mental pain he has caused him. The father explains that he wishes he knew his son was so vulnerable. He wasn’t angry with his son; his son was there during his “ragings”, so unfortunately he was the one he took his anger out on. He is afraid that the mistakes he has made will possibly impact his son’s confidence: “I have scarred through weakness and impatience your frail confidence forever”. A child must be told and retold how beautiful they are and the potential that they have. Their parents play a large role in this, and Peters father hopes he can rebuild his sons confidence through this poem: “so I write this for life, for love, for you, my oldest son Peter, age 10.” The purpose of Peter not titling the poem may be because he is at a loss for words. He is unable to understand why he had treated his son the way he has and wished that he could take it back.