My name is Zi and I have been a student at Milliken Mills High School for 5 long years. During that time I have been challenged mightily to find the relevance of education as it relates to me and to find my purpose in the world so that my education has meaning. I have had trouble with engagement – I get bored easily and I often struggle to stay positive in all aspects of my life – especially when the world around me looks like it is self-imploding. In short, I am probably like a lot of young people who get close to graduating high school but who have to no idea what to do next.
A fortunate thing happened to me two years ago that may have changed all that for the better. I was introduced to two things simultaneously and the impacts are still being felt: The T.E.A.M. Program and poetry.
The T.E.A.M. Program is an alternative education program in the York Region District School Board that is famously known for it’s contribution to modern learning, giving students opportunities to successfully complete high school with full credits while focusing on the core academic subjects in a project based learning environment. T.E.A.M was founded in 1993 by Christopher Williams at Milliken Mills High School. Williams said, “The seeds of the ideas for T.E.A.M came from my own past experiences with Katimavik, a national volunteer program for Canadian youth. Those experiences allowed me to participate in different communities across Canada volunteering while living with teenagers with similar needs and interests. We have been fortunate enough at Milliken Mills High School to have been able to use this model of experiential and authentic learning for the past 23 years. A lot of students have benefited over that time.”
For many students, me included, the T.E.A.M. program has bridged the void between staying at home and connecting with school.
This program has changed my life in many ways. Maybe most importantly this program has introduced me to poetry.
Now I find my voice in my writing. My poetry has become a way for me to express my feelings and emotions with what I am experiencing in life and with what I am seeing in the world.
To me poetry is taking a stroll in my head. I feel as if I am linking the world with the great library in my imagination. It’s always a new adventure every time, whether it be seeing things in real life or writing poetry about my experiences or feelings. Sometimes it maybe a thought that is remembered or a memory that is triggered or anything that interests me that sparks inspiration. Sometimes I am lucky, for some mistakes I make in my poetry can become beautiful mistakes.
To fly like a bird
With no one to push forward.
Unlike the other birds.
To fall from the sky alone
Seemingly free but caged
Burden less becoming burdened
But yet to still fly and to glide gracefully
Even when single winged.
Will my end be here or will I let go of everything and soar?
A sense of being pulled back
Seemingly freely sorrowing through the sky, but without knowing as time passed
Or will my fate be sealed just as Icarus.
By Zibert Wu with files from Shamar Brown