Kids Issue 2016: Kindred ribbons and more

IMAGINE: Claire Wallace, a first-grader at Vance Elementary School, created this self-portrait meant to be half-realistic, half-abstract at the Roots + Wings Community Design Lab at Vance Elementary School

Editor’s note: The following essays and art are part of Xpress’ 2016 Kids Issue, a 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?”


I’m about to introduce you to someone very special to me. I am very proud to call Alma Ruth Hagaman my great-grandmother. My whole family calls her Nanny. On July 14, Alma Ruth will be 90 years old. She was born in 1926 in Forest Grove, N.C. She married my great-grandfather, James Marsh, on June 15, 1945. My whole family and I called him De. Sadly, he died about a year and a half ago.

Just like me, Nanny’s favorite color is purple. She also played piano. Nanny had only one brother, who was 12 years older. His name was Rex Hagaman. “He was one of the best brothers: He always took care of me,” she says.

Unlike my great-grandmother, I have two stubborn older brothers, Ethan and Alec. I love them so much, and I hope they love me back. Ethan, the oldest, plays basketball. Alec is the middle child; he plays soccer. I’m the youngest in my family, and I love to play volleyball, which is similar to pingpong (which Nanny was really good at when she was younger).

Nanny’s only living grandmother was Sarah Louise Moody, who Nanny says was “one of the best things in the world to me.” Sarah Louise lived with her. “She would let me sit in her lap and read to her in a rocking chair. She would do anything for me.”

My grandparents would also do anything for me. They support me in every way. When I was younger and went to their house more often, I would almost always sit in my grandaddy’s lap while watching TV. Being at their house was always a special time for us to bond.

Spending time at Nanny’s house was always special too. Whenever I went there, she would have these orange candies covered in sugar. My family and I would just talk and have a good time. We may have some differences, but one thing I know is that she’s the most courageous person I will ever know.

— Olivia Stacey, The Learning Community School, sixth grade

WORD PORTRAIT: Lan Lin, Asheville Middle School
WORD PORTRAIT: Lan Lin, Asheville Middle School


At 1 in the morning I get a call from Erin and Todd. Their precious Jane’s breath is shallow, and she can’t get up. I clamber out of bed, my eyes still half-closed, weary but concerned about the fact that Jane might not live through the night. It’s my job to save her, and two hours later I drive away, my job complete. I’ve saved Jane the thoroughbred horse: Now all I have to do is be patient and wait for the medication to work.

I know that if I become a veterinarian, life will be hard, but it will be worth it, because I want to help people and animals. First of all, I love animals, especially horses. I ride them often and am crazy about them. Where I ride horses, we only call the vet if we can’t cure the horse ourselves, but all the while the horse is waiting in pain; I hate to see animals in pain.

In my free time, I will train and ride horses. When I ride I feel centered, calm and carefree. The connection between the horse and me is unbreakable: They are loyal and lovable. If I’m away from my favorite horse for a long time, I feel unbalanced and discombobulated. If I didn’t ride, my life would be incomplete and worthless. Nothing can take the place of that love and connection.

Horses are hugely important to me and always will be. They make me happy: Just the thought of them puts a smile on my face. You don’t need words; you communicate by body language. To me, this is important. Every time I think something, it happens, though I don’t even really know I thought it. I am truly mesmerized.

— Johari Baschnagel, The Learning Community School, sixth grade

ALL SMILES: Charlie Donnelly, Odyssey Community  School
ALL SMILES: Charlie Donnelly, Odyssey Community School


Imagine 30 years in the future. So many questions: Are there new forms of transportation? New kinds of technology? Are the Nazis back? Will I be famous? You might ask all these things.

First, what do you want to do when you grow up? I’ve always wanted to work with computers. I always ask myself, do I want to do computer science, computer engineering or software engineering? But I think I’m waaaaaaay too young to decide.

I also LOVE music. I play guitar, violin and piano. I play music and listen to it. I love classic rock: My favorite artists are Led Zeppelin and David Bowie. I play with my dad, my brother and my friends (the ones who play guitar).

When my friend Jacob comes from Virginia, my brother and I play music with him. We already have a band: We call ourselves The Rolly Pollies. I know you’re probably thinking that’s a weird name, but we like it. In the band, I play guitar and keyboards, my brother plays bass, and Jacob plays lead guitar, but we switch off sometimes. And if I do get a degree in something with computers, recording music will be way easier.

What do you want your job to be? Just imagine it. And if you keep imagining it, it might even become a reality. Imagining things just makes your life easier. Follow your dreams.

— Riley Johnson, The Learning Community School, fifth grade


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