ASCD Whole Child Bloggers

I Am Byrne Creek

Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award

Byrne Creek Secondary School, located in Burnaby, British Columbia, is the 2012 winner of ASCD's Vision in Action: The ASCD Whole Child Award. At ASCD's Annual Conference in Philadelphia, Principal David Rawnsley accepted the award on behalf of the Byrne Creek community and shared a student-written poem that represents the rich diversity that is so valued at the school. Here is "I Am From" in its entirety.



I am from Iran, a country with scorching hot deserts, a rich history,
colourful gardens, of roses covered with unforgiving thorns.

I am from the Pearl of the Orient Seas,
where the Sun rises from the west,
vanishes before the clock strikes—to thick puffs of gray.

I am from Kinshasa:
big city, large population, huge family.

I am simply from a quiet neighbourhood nearby.

I am from Shanghai, China,
where my precious childhood memories remain.

I am from Burnaby, BC, with its temperamental weather and slush:
urban centre, heritage site, earth covered in pavement and green trees.

I am from the memory of coming to Canada,
and never forgetting the turning of a page to a brand new life.


I am from biology and art teachers, blood and paint, organs and brushes.

I am from my French teacher, who taught me to speak to the world in a different tongue,
and my Social Studies teacher, who taught me to see the world through a different lens.

I am from my math teacher, who lets me know that caring is more important than numbers.

I am from a variety of business classes,
tough lessons about the real world, but made manageable with care.

I am from my English teacher, who makes me a better writer and a better human.

I am from Mr. Davies, a teacher who passes on knowledge with great passion.

I am from Ms. Moxon, who says "Fake it 'til you make it."

I am from Ms. Tirling, who brought dance and happiness into my life.

I am from Ms. Hodgson, Mr. Best, Mr. Leung, and Ms. O'Hare.

I am from every teacher who gave me
a fact, a thing, an idea, an emotion, a lesson,
who gave me value.


I am from "let's get started" at the beginning of all things new.

I am from dancing and drawing, sound and silence, swishing feet and pencils.

I am from the unnoticed coloured banners, the bars of safety, where I see countless new faces daily.

I am from words shouted out in excitement, in a language that can only be understood by us.

I am from competing in track, winning districts in basketball, losing that one soccer game;
even there, I felt accomplished and proud.

I am from stay focused, explode from the start, and it's important to learn from our mistakes.

I am from green garbage bins, a greener earth, a brighter future.

I am from the silent books that speak of experience and memory.

I am from the bolted red and blue squares,
the zoo of a hall, the noise of the Atrium, and the spinning seats of the white room.

I am from the pictures taken in and out of these halls, the howls of laughter,
and from the last note of the melody they call Grade 12.

I am a part of an ongoing journey.


I am from shaping my future,
one step at a time.

I am from the 'we,' eager to learn.

I am from friendship, solidarity, and intelligence.

I am from a second home, where I can put talent and passion into my work.

I am from thankfulness, a place that tells me I have someone on my side, always.

I am from a stepping stone,
where they tell me I can do anything.

I am from learning about life, society, opportunity, hope,
the values that cannot be taught in a classroom,
but are.

I am from Byrne Creek.


Reprinted with permission.

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