Church Hill Academy (CHA) Sophomore Zion is a student brimming with creativity, passion, and emotion. Though he may not love every aspect of school, he does enjoy writing. Chandra Wright, a Math and Computer teacher at CHA, and Katrina Schwien, a Year Long Resident at CHA, saw this as an opportunity to engage. When a colleague showed Zion’s artwork to Chandra, she challenged him to create a piece for her classroom.
Read on to see the hope we find in Zion's creativity and personal growth...
Zion was experiencing a tough start to the school year when Chandra first approached him about his artwork. “When I met Zion and talked to him about his art, it started a positive relationship. He was getting in a lot of trouble, but I see him growing into the leader that he is destined to be.” Chandra was blown away by the artwork and poem Zion created.
During Church Hill Academy’s Open House, Zion walked into Chandra’s room to see his art and poem on display. “Wow,” said Zion in amazement, “I never thought I would see my stuff displayed like this.” In that moment, he experienced his creativity being celebrated by parents, staff, and friends. It was a moment of pride and hope for Zion.
This project gave Chandra the opportunity to encourage Zion the same way she encourages students in her classes every day. “Speaking positively and authentically has created a positive relationship [with Zion] that has grown since the beginning of the year.”
This care and encouragement continues in Zion’s Creative Writing class that is led by Katrina. Zion has grown to be very engaged in Katrina’s Creative Writing class. “From leading discussions to helping other students I have seen his desire to learn grow,” says Katrina. Zion jokingly talked to her about his transformation at Church Hill Academy: “Miss Schwien, I'm used to being that cool, bad kid who gets in trouble a lot. All of a sudden I feel like I am becoming such a nerd!” These small droplets of transformation create a ripple effect that continue to inspire our students and teachers, leading us to undoubtedly see that hope is here.
Katrina believes that Creative Writing class gives her students the space to explore their imagination, express themselves, and improve communication skills. “Zion is eager to become a better writer, and I am excited to see how he and the rest of my students will continue to grow and use their creative voices to influence others.” We know these voices are strong and valuable.
Chandra and Katrina see the leadership potential, the growth, and the hope in imperfect students like Zion who are filled with passion and talent. Hope is Here, at Church Hill Academy, in the hallways, in the classes, and in the creativity of our students. And your investment in CHAT allows us to continue to see this hope every single day.
Read an excerpt of Zion's poem below...