In past posts, WITS introduced Jemma Leech, a student from our Summer Creative Writing Workshops. We’ve been following Jemma’s journey through writing over the last five years and are constantly amazed by her ability to see the extraordinary in everyday things. Her award-winning essays and poems garnered national attention when ABC World News named her their “Person of the Week.” The story, Gifted and Disabled: 10-Year-Old Beats the Odds in Essay Contest and in Life, featured Jemma’s outstanding skills as a writer with cerebral palsy who refused to let her physical condition get in the way of her dreams.

Jemma’s zeal for writing continues as an 8th grader today. Just this week, she won a national Gold Key award from the prestigious Scholastic Art & Writing Award Competition and was honored with fellow students at Carnegie Hall. She is the special guest for the Public Poetry event scheduled tomorrow at 2:00 PM at Houston Public Library. More details here.

We expect to glean more from Jemma’s genius when she becomes a freshman next year. Following are  examples of of her gift with words, taken from poems she wrote last summer.

Instruction to the Artist

Before you begin

Please remember that

Proper care should be taken

To give my thanks to the perfectly clear page

On which you draw

For it is the host of my life.

Then be sure to listen keenly

For the sound of my voice

For it sets me apart

From the burbling harmonies of the world.

Before pen touches paper

In that final moment

Search for my soul amid the air

Which surrounds you.

Only then might you draw me

Any which way you like

For if there is my gratitude, my voice and my soul

In your heart as you draw

Then the portrait will look

Just like me.

Camp Reflections 2010

So here it is, the final day of WITS 2010,
The prompt asked me to think of whether I’d do it all again.
Let me see, what have we done, these fifteen days in June
To make me wish that next year’s camp will come around real soon?

We’ve brilliged with the slithy toves, and with personas played,
Created countries just like us and detailed maps we made.
We’ve circled words in other poets’ work and drawn on top,
We’ve written plays and acted out, creative till we pop!

We visited the Blaffer and wrote of life in spheres,
We delved into our inner selves and wrote our deepest fears.
We facebooked heroes, learned to cook, wrote litanies with love,
Attempted sonnets Shakespeare-style, and hung our flags above.

Now the end is drawing nigh, Day Fifteen is now here,
Ms Irene and Aurora might be heard to give a cheer.
Ms Maddy breathes a sigh as all us eighth grades wipe a tear,
As friends we are and friends we’ll stay, and I’ll see you all next year.

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