In June 2016, our second group of 8th graders graduated Community Roots. Below is the poem that a few students shared, written by Jon Jorgenson, the ending of which was adapted by a few of our students to depict their time at Community Roots. Our 8th graders recited this poem at graduation:
I used to be afraid at night.
Afraid of the dark.
Afraid that just beyond the point my eyesight allowed me to see that there was something lurking.
Afraid that the darkness itself would somehow surround me and swallow me up...
as if darkness were anything more than simply
the absence of
I used to be afraid of tomorrow. Afraid that who I was would continually dictate who I am and that who I would be might be someone who I didn't like very much at all...as if there was no such thing as being made new.
I used to be afraid of opinions. Afraid that though words would not break my bones, they certainly would shatter my dreams...as if I started doing this for the approval of many rather than the glory of one.
I used to be afraid of failure. Afraid of losing. Afraid of falling. Afraid of being wrong, creating busts, and looking absolutely stupid because who am I to think that I could ever actually make a difference? As if those setbacks were anything more than stepping stones on the path to success.
We used to be afraid.
But then I did a little research.
And by that, I mean I re-searched, and
And I re-searched
over and over again, and through all of my re-searching, I kept coming up with the same exact question:
What room does fear have?
What room does fear have when I cling to trust?
What room does fear have when I lean on hope?
What room does fear have when I search for something more,
When I discover what's good, and when I stand in awe?
When I run with perseverance,
When I walk by faith, and when I rest in comfort.
What room does fear have when I surrounded by love,
When I take hold of inspiration, explore the possibilities, and step into freedom?
What room does fear have when I discover strength,
what room does fear have
I'll ask you again: what room does fear have
When I step out of the darkness, and I bask in the light?
When I let the past be the past and the future has no limit.
When they can talk all they want but their opinion doesn't matter!
And when failure is nothing more and nothing less than the road by which I walk my path to success.
What room does fear have when I have?
What room does fear have when I am an advocate not just for myself but my community members?
What room does fear have?
When I am an
Because we refuse to be
in the face of
What room does fear have when I have to?
Think for myself