Kids Issue 2016: A collection of oddities and more

IN THE GARDEN: Fourth-grader Addison Hudgins of Sand Hill-Venable Elementary School painted this watercolor in the style of North Carolina visionary artist Minnie Evans. "Students created symmetrical works using imagery that is personal to them or represents their inspirations," notes art teacher D. Elise Reed.

Editor’s note: After a spring-break hiatus, the online 2016 Kids Issue is back with another installment of the colorful annual feature that offers local K-12 students a chance to express themselves through art, poetry and prose. This year, we asked kids to focus on themselves with the theme of “Who am I?”

A COLLECTION OF ODDITIES

I once read a book called Mosquitoland. The main character, Mary Iris Malone, likes to say she’s “a collection of oddities,” and she is. She goes by Mim, her initials, instead of her name. When she was little, there was a solar eclipse, and everyone said not to look at the sky. Instead, Mim closed one eye and looked at the eclipse with the other, so she’s blind in one eye. Mim knows what she is made of, but who she is and what she will be remains unknown. Like Mim, I don’t know everything about me. But I do know what I’m made of, and that’s what will make me who I become.

I am made of horses: countless hours spent riding them, training them and running alongside of them as small children bounce on their backs. I am made of worn and tattered friendship bracelets and the time spent making them with my closest friends. I am made of standing on the porch with my mother’s arm around me, watching a thunderstorm. I am made of a little red spot on my face, which someone once told me was a ruptured blood vessel: Someone else said I wouldn’t be me without it. I am made of laughing so hard with my cousins that I cry and hurt my stomach. I am made of sitting on my roof, under the overhang, watching the rain fall, watching the car headlights on Route 9, watching the birds in the trees, watching my dogs parade down the road, watching the world go by.

I am made of holding my younger brother in the big red recliner my mother used to rock us in. I am made of standing with my feet far apart and my arms crossed to make myself look bigger and feel less irrelevant. I am made of hot summer mornings spent rehabbing an injured horse. I am made of going to the Mellow Mushroom with my father and grandfather. I am made of an hourglass birthmark on my leg, a scar where I was pierced by a tree limb, a slight Southern drawl that is prominent in some words and nonexistent in others, fangs where dental crowding has caused me not to chew with my canines, and a miniature horse with an underbite that my father doesn’t know about.

Who am I? I don’t quite know yet. Who do I think I am? I could write forever. But I think Mim says it best: I am a collection of oddities, and I will always be.

— Ella Davis, The Learning Community School, seventh grade

THE START OF A JOURNEY: Sydney Ella, Timbersong Academy
THE START OF A JOURNEY: Sydney Ella, Timbersong Academy

NORMAL/NOT NORMAL

Who am I? The quick answer is Bea Perez, the weirdest person you will ever meet. The long answer is…

I’m a 12-year-old girl who was adopted by two amazing dads and has a brother and a sister. I’m a girl who goes to an amazing school and has a wonderful education. I’m a girl who loves to dance and act, because that’s when I’m the happiest.

Some people say I have a perfect life! But really, I’m a normal girl who does normal things. Well, I am not totally normal. Being in a family with two dads can be hard. Like whenever I join a club outside of school, people say stuff like “Is your mom picking you up?” I just say, “No, my dad is picking me up.” That’s only one of my struggles.

Another thing I struggle with is being adopted. I always wonder who my mother and my father are and which one I look like. I know that I have other brothers and sisters, and I want to know about what they do. I just know that I will meet them someday, just not right now. Don’t get me wrong: I love my family and what I have in my life, but I want to know my real family tree. I just want to know!

I might have two dads; I might be adopted. I am different. All these things make me not normal, but I am normal in some ways, and that’s who I am.

— Bea Perez, The Learning Community School, sixth grade

PERSONALITY PORTRAIT: Samantha White, North Buncombe Middle School
PERSONALITY PORTRAIT: Samantha White, North Buncombe Middle School

ZOO-MAZING

In the future, I see myself working with animals at a zoo, because I love animals and I’ve had a bunch of experience with birds, dogs and hamsters. All animals are soul-filling to me, no matter how slimy, how scary or how small. Animals are a decent part of my life, so I hope I can share my affection with them. If I get the opportunity to work with animals, I will be the happiest person in the world. Sometimes when I’m sad, my dog comes up to me and makes me remember that I am loved.

How I’m going to get there is the part I need to focus on. It’s going to take a lot of work, but I’m willing to take that risk. I know that it’s a competitive field: You have to go to school to become a zookeeper, and it’s going to be hard to find a program. I’ll probably have to start by hanging out with the easier animals. You need experience to get a full-time job, but you can get part-time experience somewhere first. You have to clean the cages and the exhibits; you have to hose, shovel and rake.

— Jesse Smith, The Learning Community School, fourth grade

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