As Philadelphia’s 2019-2020 Youth Poet Laureate, the intended goal for this capstone and my laureate project was to create a youth-based poetry anthology, centering around the broad theme of Philadelphia. The collection would have existed in a digital form, and would not only provide a voice for underrepresented poets, but also reveal the vast experiences of life in Philadelphia. Throughout the process of creating this anthology I ran into obstacles, such as realizing the difficulties of creating and distributing physical anthology books by May. Instead, I decided to create an online collection that would be more easily accessible. As time progressed and the number of submissions to the anthology remained low, I further determined that my capstone should be modified to highlight my entire year as Philadelphia’s Youth Poet Laureate. I wanted to create a digital time capsule that shows the various events, readings, performances, workshops, and poetry commissions that I worked hard on throughout my tenure as laureate. The laureate experience taught me invaluable lessons on how to communicate with event coordinators, how to lead as a young person, and how to establish a voice as an artist. This capstone serves to document the civic position for all to see what being the laureate entails, and to show rising young poets that their voices are valuable. This website is a collection of images, poems, documents, and videos that represent my time as Youth Poet Laureate, but it also exhibits just how powerful a young poet’s voice can be.
For this quarter in art class, I created a figure drawings, line drawings, digital drawings, a space drawing, a texture drawing, a value drawing, and an elements of art drawing. I gained inspiration for some of these art pieces through different settings, images, and existing art pieces. For the figure drawings I used a pencil and eraser for both the smaller sketches and the final large piece. For the line drawings, I used black pen. For the digital drawings I used google drawings on my computer. For this assignment I was inspired by settings of the ocean and the desert, as well as cool colors in general for two of the drawings. For the illusion of space drawing I was inspired by an image of a light bulb. For the texture drawing I recreated a still life of vegetables using a pencil and an eraser. For the value drawing I was inspired by an image of a conch shell. Lastly, for the elements of art drawing I was inspired by a vibrant palm tree that had a calming pink and blue background.
My favorite material to use this quarter was colored pencils, because they look nice when doing shading to give off the illusion of texture, space, and value. Some techniques I used often this quarter were shading and blending. I made the pencil drawings appear as if the lead went from very heavy to very light, through blending and shading. I did the same for the colored pencil drawing. During this quarter I used different sized paper, pencils, erasers, pens, and colored pencils. I utilized my studio time by completing some art assignments during class, and even ahead of time by starting other assignments earlier than I had to. I also utilized my home time by working on some of my art there, too. Overall, this quarter I was able to practice more elements of art and different techniques that I don’t often use, and my skills in these areas became more advanced.
The Experience of Fear
In the novel Lord of the Flies by William Golding, a group of schoolboys find themselves lost on an uninhabited island, where they struggle to survive and create order. While trying to stay alive, the boys are presented with troubles of sanity. As time goes on, they experience worsening fears. Some boys, such as the leader Ralph, take longer to truly be afraid. Why do people fear differently? For many people, direct trauma is the only way for them to feel fear. But, this is not always the case. People must have at least a memory of violence and trauma from indirect experiences in order to be afraid, because fear is ultimately based on certainty.
Towards the end of the book Ralph had been isolated from the rest of the boys, and was an outsider to the brutal force of Jack and his hunters. While contemplating whether or not the hunters would leave him be, he realized his unsafety and paranoia swept over him. “He argued convincingly that they would let him alone, perhaps even make an outlaw of him. But then the fatal unreasoning knowledge came to him again...These painted savages would go further and further.” (184) In this moment, the author’s language shows that Ralph is filled with fear at just the thought of the hunters, even though he has no direct experience of disturbing actions occurring before him. He still is very scared of these boys because he negatively associates Jack and his hunters with murder and death. He only saw them commit these actions, but never was a victim to their violence. This proves that fear can be felt even without firsthand experiences, because having snapshots of people and knowing what they have done in the past to others can induce fear.
This situation is found in the real world, with mass school shootings becoming a growing problem in America, as well as gun violence in general. Many people who have gone through shootings have been greatly changed by them, into becoming activists. But, sometimes the people affected by the attacks didn’t even experience the violence firsthand. An article about gun violence and its effects on children from the Washington Post said, “A study published in the journal Pediatrics in 2015 concluded that kids who witness an attack involving a gun or knife can be just as traumatized as children who have been shot or stabbed.” Since a psychological study was conducted and released to the public, this is an implication that young people who haven’t been directly involved in violence are increasingly experiencing distress and alarm. Without having been physically assaulted, these young people are still coming forward and admitting they experienced just as much fright after seeing harm being done to others. If youth are this impacted by images of violent attacks, parents of school shooting victims must also be considerably afraid of guns. For these parents, all the images they create in their minds come from the little they see on the news, and can include infinite possible cruel scenarios. This causes them to become fearful of guns, after having only a relation to an experience of gun violence. An example of this same behavior can be found in the novel.
In Chapter 12, after being told by previous allies that the hunters planned to come after Ralph and kill him, he started to vividly remember the murder of Piggy. This thought scared Ralph and even caused him to feel childish. “Piggy was everywhere, was on this neck, was become terrible in darkness and death. If Piggy were to come back now out of the water, with his empty head--Ralph whimpered and yawned like a littlun.” (190) Ralph was frightened to the point of feeling like a “littlun,” which is a representation of weakness and youth on the island. Ralph felt so terrified that he was brought to a youthful and foolish state, which shows how impactful indirect experiences can be. Similarly to before in the book, Ralph felt scared just by picturing the murder of Piggy, even though he was not killed or physically harmed. This mirrors the real world, where parents and children become terrified at only the thought of murder and shootings. They also do not have direct experiences with gun violence, but the images they see and the information they know about it plays in their mind, stimulating fear. Clearly people can be afraid from personal experiences of violence, but this quote is an example of how indirect experiences cause similar fears. Due to the nature of Ralph after he had these flashback memories, this demonstrates that indirect fears can sometimes be more powerful than direct ones.
In the real world, as violence and crime are on the rise, so are fear and paranoia. This leads many to question what a healthy fear is, compared to what an unhealthy fear is. Neuroscientists even analyze how networks in our brains work when experiencing fear. According to a Psychology Today article, neuropsychologist Theo Tsaousides Ph.D. stated that, “When these networks are electrically or chemically stimulated, they produce fear, even in the absence of a fearful stimulus.” Tsaousides confirmed with scientific evidence that fear can be felt without a stimulator present to cause harm or invoke threats. Our brains process fear for us, replaying certain images and memories to cause us to be scared. This is the case with Ralph in the novel, because he acted like a tough guy for the majority of the story, but only became paranoid at the end, after watching boys he had relationships with be killed. His brain processed the violent images of people close to him being harmed, and this chemically stimulated him to become fearful of the other boys. He originally had nothing to be afraid of because he had no images, memories, or associations to make, until he watched Piggy and Simon be murdered. For many who still wonder why they fear things that aren’t even threatening them in person, it is because our brain turns fear on and off, like a switch.
Feeling terror without a direct stimulator can be just as powerful, or more powerful than first hand traumatic experiences. Many people become frightened with at least some knowledge or visuals of threats, even without it being directed towards them. With Ralph’s fear of the boys who had commited murder before him, and in the real world with youth who watched their close friends be shot in school, fear impacted people similarly. These sources prove that direct experiences are not crucial to having fear, but knowing for certain that violence or threats existed is essential.
Golding, William. Lord of the Flies. New York: Penguin, 2006.
Rich, Steven, and Cox, John. Scarred by School Shootings. The Washington Post, 25 March 2018, www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2018/local/us-school-shootings-history/?utm_term=.5710c768de15.
Tsaousides, Theo. 7 Things You Need to Know About Fear. Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, 19 November 2015, www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/smashing-the-brainblocks/201511/7-things-you-need-know-about-fear.
This quarter for art class I created a bike drawing, an optical illusion drawing, a shading forms drawing, an eye drawing, and an original mandala. In order to make some of these art pieces, I gained inspiration through my favorite colors and even from my culture. For the bike drawing, I used pencil and was inspired by my own bike that I ride, and drew a version of this. For the optical illusion drawing, I used colors that were vibrant and patterns that were graphic, to enhance the illusion aspect of the art piece. For the shaded forms drawing, I followed the instructions and practiced heavy and light shading, as well as all the variations of shading in between. For the eye drawing, I demonstrated more shading skills, such as the different weights that can be seen with thick and thin lead strokes. For the mandala, I was inspired by my Puerto Rican heritage and created an original design that had tropical themes, floral hints, and was very colorful overall.
Although I enjoyed using markers and colored pencils more, this quarter I mainly used pencils for sketching on the majority of the pieces. A technique I displayed while using the pencils was blending, by shading the darker, thicker lead with the lighter, thinner lead. I learned through the bike drawing, shading forms drawing, and eye drawing that shading is difficult and can be messy if it is not done precisely. During this quarter I used pencils, colored pencils, markers, erasers, printer paper, and large thick paper to create my art pieces. The pencils, colored pencils, and markers were used this quarter as my art mediums. I utilized my studio time throughout the quarter by spending each art period completing the assignments that were due for that week. I even got a head start on some of the future deadlines because I worked hard during art class, and went home with no assignments to finish. Overall, this quarter included a lot art assignments that allowed me to practice my shading skills, and also strengthen my art skills as a whole.
I don’t want to be here right now. Not now and not ever. This is the 7th sleepover I’ve been invited to. I had a way out every other time, until now. (She says with frustration). I still got my list of excuses: a family member died, early doctor’s appointment tomorrow, I’m sick, dog died, and my favorite: throwing mom under the bus and saying she’s making me finish all my homework. But my good old mother just had to rat me out this time. (Sighs and laughs.) She told Lucy’s mom I was free tonight! (Shakes head.) And now I’m stuck here and I can’t even have fun. I want to, I really do. But it’s just eating away at me.
It’s midnight. (Looks towards window.) It’s really dark out. They already watched movies, chugged gatorades, and they just finished the final round of truth or dare. One of them just curled up on the couch with a blanket! Soon they’ll be sleeping. First one will drift off, then the next. I’m not worried about a sharpie mustache on my face. No. I can’t sleep. I just can’t fall asleep. If I do, my friendships will all be ruined. They’ll know, the secret will be out. That I’m a freak. A weirdo who wakes up almost every night in tears, unable to breath, shaking, sometimes screaming. It’s the terrors, the night terrors.
They started a year ago. Every night, it’s the same god damn thing. The same image, the same person haunting me. It’s a never ending nightmare, but worse. I just can’t fall asleep. Lucy, Olivia, Emma--they all won’t like me anymore. They won’t know what to do with me, or how to help. (Tone switches to hopeful.) I mean maybe, maybe if they see me like that, maybe I won’t get another invite. Then I’ll be in the clear! (Frowns.) But, no. They’ll still know. I mean, I’ve dealt with it long enough. None of my friends know, I’ve kept it to myself. If people know they’ll just ask too many questions. (Shakily.) I’m tired of all the questions. (Sighs and tears up.)
He hit me. He beat me. He made me feel so worthless. My mom’s boyfriend. (Screams) He hurt me. (In a more exhausted tone.) And I’ll never forget it. He’ll never let me forget it. He’s gone now; he’s been gone since I told my mom. But now, look what I have to deal with. Every night he’s there. In the darkness he comes. I don’t know how to make him leave. I just want my life back, I want to be normal. I want to go to sleepovers, I want to sleep a full night through. I just want it to be over!
In this quarter, I created a Beatles album cover for my ceiling tile, a leaf wall hanging, and a self-portrait drawn with markers. My ideas for art come from my passions or favorite things. When sketching ceiling tile ideas, I drew tiles that related to my favorite foods, bands, and people. For my fall wall hanging I incorporated a leaf I took from my favorite place, the shore, and got inspiration to paint it with bright fall colors, since my favorite season is fall. For my self portrait I was inspired by one of my favorite decades, the 80s, and tried to draw with colors and styles that reminded me of an 80s arcade floor pattern.
To create art in this marking period, I used different concepts and techniques for each assignment. With the ceiling tile, I tried to use a focal point on the Beatles, and blurred out all the background characters of the album cover by using wispy strokes of many different colors layered on top of each other. For my fall wall hanging I used the design concept of a painted leaf with warm gradient colors, and then I made it shiny and preserved both the leaf and paint by coating it in vaseline. Within my self-portrait I tried to show myself fracturing or “coming apart” at the seams of my sweater, by switching into warm colors and lines that all went in different directions, clustered all around each other. Something I learned about painting this quarter is that the finish of paint seems very rough without water mixed into it, because when I tried to stretch a certain color as I painted my ceiling tile, I noticed that with water mixed in, the paint went on so much smoother. I had not known this before, and it showed me some new aspects of painting.
For this quarter I used a variety of tools and materials to make my art: scissors, pencils, markers, colored pencils, string, tape, glue, paint, water, and paint brushes. Each of these materials either helped me physically draw my images, or enhance my artwork by cutting it apart or taping pieces together. I spent my time wisely in art, working every possible second I could to get my works of art done, and I even came in the studio at lunch for extra time to finish my ceiling tile. I made sure to be efficient with my time, and I finished most of the assignments before their due dates, but still put in hard work and effort to make my pieces with high quality. I would just like to leave people knowing that when I make art, almost every piece I do has some greater meaning or represents something about myself. Nothing about my artwork is ever simple, because a lot goes into the background thinking process to complete them.
I never expected to be a true poet in high school. But once I came to SLA, Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement lured me in like a neon sign hanging above my head that beckoned, “this is where your destiny lies.”
After writing a group poem for a month, I edited, memorized, and practiced performance repeatedly, until my first real slam arrived. When I stepped on stage, I was a nervous wreck. My fingers shook, I kept wiping my hands on my jeans, and I couldn’t look anyone in the eye. Instead, I looked out to a crowd of blurred faces.
“Wait for quiet!” Mr. Kay said.
Each person on stage introduced themselves to the crowd. Then we tipped our heads down, and locked hands. My teammates slowly slipped their hands out from my grasp to signify that they were ready. All I had to do was take the unifying breath. I placed my lips before the microphone and inhaled. We all exhaled. Then our words came tumbling from our mouths, crashing and falling into the air.
I can still remember the faces of poets in the audience; the applause, snapping, and laughter at lines we wrote. All eyes fell on me, and it reminded me of what I wanted to do in life.
In elementary school I loved writing, because it allowed me to have total control of my voice, in an enclosed space. I created stories in my head that were later forgotten. I loved receiving validation, and leaving people hungry for more of my art. My 4th grade teacher imparted some wisdom on me and my mother.
“One of your daughters, or both, are going to be writers.”
She was right. From that moment on I kept the reminder that someone recognized my talent in the back of my head. I wrote poems in middle school, and performed in classroom slams that were mediocre open mikes. I didn’t know exactly what this passion for writing would turn into, but I knew I was headed somewhere.
SLA’s poetry team called to me at the freshman activity fair. I etched my name into the signup sheet, declaring I was becoming a poet. By December, I had already gathered close friendships with poetry members, and was working hard at the craft.
I’d spend endless clubs writing in the empty halls of school, and later finishing poems on the curb of the parking lot, when the building had closed. We’d huddle together next to the dumpster, fishing for ideas and potential lines to write. When we’d come to a lull in the thought process, I’d run around the parking lot and dance, reviving my energy. After we finished the drafting stage, the long editing process began: lines got chopped up, chewed up, and spit out until they were perfect.
During these sessions Mr. Kay always tells us, “I will never let you go on stage without saying something.”
Part of why poetry means so much to me is credited to writers who continue to assure me of my talent. The acceptance and love that poetry club emanates allows me to put my thoughts to paper, and truly be myself. Our poetry t-shirts have an image of a pen touching a heart, which reminds me where all our writing comes from. We all have a story to tell, and luckily we have the opportunity to do such a thing.
PYPM provides a safe, welcoming space for poets to share art. I proudly stand on stage every chance I get, holding in my heart a love for the people that sit before me, with eager ears and eyes.
My last slam meant the most to me, because it was the citywide Championships. Each time I reached an unfamiliar stage, my anxiety increased. I rubbed my jean shorts continuously, with sweaty palms. This was a performing ritual, the wiping away of my nerves. The tips of my fingers vibrated uncontrollably. The dirty, rusted mirror leaning against the wall backstage revealed my face, and that didn’t help. I wasn’t ready for such a looming crowd to hear my words and watch me perform. This was not the small audience I was used to. I put on a facade, but inside my stomach somersaulted out of the theater.
“I’m gonna pee my pants this time, I mean it.” I said this every time I was backstage.
My teammates gathered around me, and I nervously wrung my hands.
“Wait, ready for our chant? 1, 2, 3!”
We whisper-screamed the inside joke in unison. Background mumbles of daunting words drifted to my ears.
“Coming to the stage right now is S, L, A!”
With my pen in hand, I point onwards to my future with poetry, ready to hack at yet another piece of paper.
¡Bienvenido a las vacaciones perfecto para ti: España! En España, hay lugares perfectas para visitar. Estamos enviando usted a España el 25 de Abril hasta a el 8 de Mayo. En esta sitio de web, vas a aprender sobre de tu vacacion y porque esto es perfecto para ti! ¡Disfrutate!
Negative space is the space surrounding the main focus or subject of an art piece. It is known as the background or irrelevant space, that forms the outline and silhouette of the subject. Negative space truly helps viewers decipher boundaries, and find a balance in the art piece.
In order to find negative space in my drawing, I had to look for the part of the drawing that had more emphasis on it. Since the drawing was of a house and front yard, it was easy to see that this bolded and darkened space was intended as the subject. The background was also lighter, and did not contain as many details as the house. The light space in the background formed a silhouette of the house and yard as well, therefore, this was definitely categorized as the negative space.
It helps artists to see in negative space because otherwise, it is much harder to determine the main focus, or to find the boundaries of the positive space. Negative space also brings nice balance and contrast to an image, which are important elements of art for artists to understand and be able to present in their own works.
Seeing in negative space does enhance drawings, because without it, the drawing would be too abstract, with no set subject. There would be no way to tell the difference between the relevant and irrelevant parts of the drawing. Also, because negative space brings elements of art with it, this helps enhance drawings more.
Soy Mia Concepcion.
La hija de padres americanos,
Una niña puertorriqueña joven,
Y Italiana, también.
Soy la nieta de una migrante de Puerto Rico:
La isla de encantamiento.
Cuando pienso de Puerto Rico:
Veo la lluvia y el sol luminoso,
Saboreo la piña coladas, y arroz y frijoles deliciosos,
Huelo la empanadas cocina,
Oigo el cacareo de los gallos,
Y toco la arena granulosa.
Mi familia eres aquí porque de una persona.
Dibujo mi corazón en la arena.
Bailo con las olas y con destino.
Salgo mi hogar, buscando para recuerdos nuevos.
Trabajo duro muy, mi alma sudor con tristeza.
Mi abuela aguantar estas luchas todo para mi familia.
Nunca olvido el viaje de ella.
Mi familia y yo sabemos el privilegio nosotros tenemos.
Vemos la luchas de inmigrantes.
Y, recordamos mi abuela trabajar duro para nosotros.
No estamos Inmigrantes.
Pero, tenemos migrantes en nuestros sangre.
Chloe Simmons as Rosa.
Assirem Hosni as Oficial Valentina.
Zeke Maitin as Santiago.
Mia Concepcion as Río.
After presenting my google slide, I received new insight on how the design of my slide could be improved. I learned that I had a good use of each element of art: such as line, space, texture, depth, contrast, and more. But, I made changes where I got suggestions, like in my font hue. My use of large text stayed the same, but I changed my text to green to create a lot of harmony with the trees on the left side of the slide. It originally was a blue hue to compliment the water, but I got feedback that there was not enough blue water present to be noticeable. So, I highlighted the tall green trees with my use of army-green text. I also made the backgrounds behind the black trees brighter, so their greyish-white background matched the white background of the slide. I realized how very important research is when doing a project, because without my research from Slide Design for Developers, I might not have made large, bolded, brightly colored text. Then, my quote would not have been seen as easily and understood. Also, if I hadn’t gotten research from the Ikea link, I might not have made such a simplistic slide, and I might not have known what it meant to be understandable at a glance media. Now because of my research, my slide was a success and well-received by my reviewers. I got very small suggestions, but fixed what could improve my slide even further. I am proud of the final slide that I re-did, because it does address each element of art and has a simple and understandable design.
This is the slide that I created to represent who I am, and it took much adjusting to get it visually pleasing, and to make it understandable at a glance media. I wanted to demonstrate an implied line with the water-line, right where the water meets the trees in the image to the left. I also chose the image because it shows great depth within the space, because my body is centered in the middle-ground and makes it seem like there is a lot more both beyond and in front of me. As well as this, I wanted my body to be highly defined against the trees and water. I then tried to emphasize my use of space by presenting an image on the left of the slide, and large words on a white background to the right. Color was a large aspect of my slide design, because value is seen within the light blue hue of the water, and the dark green hue of the trees. There is also high and low intensity seen, with the contrast of a bright color of the water and a dull color of the trees. This image was the most ideal choice for the slide because it not only highlights my adventurous, care-free attitude, but it also has a strong feeling of texture among the rough-looking trees and splintered wood in the water. I chose to use small black tree drawings to contrast with the real green trees. This same contrast was also shown with the 3-dimensional shapes of the real trees and 2-dimensional shapes of the tree drawings. The real, tall trees also were a great use of form, because it enclosed a great measure of height against a smaller me. Lastly, the quote in bolded, large letters were a key element to the layout, because it emphasized the constant dreamer and explorer in me, just like the image taken of me walking through water. I chose to make the font very large, based on inspiration from the Slide Design for Developers Link. And I made the font color a nice soothing blue to go along with the color of the water. I’m pleased with this draft of my slide, because it uses all the elements of art and still shows who I am. In future edits, I hope to maybe edit the font or colors for more emphasizing. That’s all folks...hope you enjoyed my slide!
The devices on my internet connection are: my iPhone and chromebook, my sister’s iPhone and chromebook, an iPhone an Macbook, an iPhone, our Wii, a Sony Blu-Ray player, our HP printer, and a chromecast.
When learning about networks, I did know a lot of what I learned already, such as knowing that the black wire in my kitchen brings internet into my house. But, I also learned something new, that my network is run through Fiber Optics, which uses light to make the network run “faster”. But in reality, it doesn’t run that fast, and my devices still run really slow on wifi. This is most likely because there are so many devices connected.
I would tell other people that when having a Home Network, they need to know how the internet gets into their house, what their ISP (Internet Service Provider) is charging them, in case it is too much, and how many devices are connected wifi, because that might slow the whole network down.
Enjoy my Home Network Chart!