Strong Poems from San Francisco International High School Focus on Dreams of Success
Hi there. Max here. I’m the ACE Poetry Contest mascot for San Francisco International High School (SFIHS). I’ve always said that the SFIHS poets make their lives sing in poetry, and these winners do that. They are strong, courageous poems that reflect our school Husky truths and spirit. Yes, we’re Huskies and we rock.
Here are the winning poems. I’m so proud of the winners. Congratulations everyone.
Students’ Choice, Class N
Name: Arnold M
Everything in Life is Possible if You Believe in Yourself
I am from Relaxing rivers and Mountains and proud
Ruinas de copan /
from Soft baleadas and traditional dia de la independencia. /
I am the colorful guacamaya Honduras. /
I draw strength from where I’ve walked. /
It showed me that Honduras is a country full of happiness, /
also of rivers, beaches, forests that make a beautiful country and it makes me feel proud. /
I am catracho 100%. /
It made me strong by knowing where I come from. /
In a country full of many cultures, such as: the Mayans, the pyramids, the rivers,/
the cool climate of the beaches,/
and El pino, one of the patriotic symbols of Honduras. /
I come from my grandmother’s homemade bread /
and grew up in the field where I learned to harvest crops, /
like corn and beans while learning about life.
I am challenging myself, and fighting for my dreams. /
I am creative and like to learn new things every day. /
I am like a tiger in the jungle, always traveling to different places and surviving what is opposed on the way. /
Every time I walk I find better things, so I believe in my future. /
One day my father told me “Fight for your dreams,
even if life brings you a duel
and a pulse to death”. /
I draw strength from what I carry. /
I carry memories of when my grandmother cooked bread,/ the smell of the flour baking in the clay oven./
The taste when eating them warm is like a very soft and delicious bun. /
They remind me that everything in life is possible if you fight for it./
When my grandfather taught me to work,/
I remember he told me “if you don’t work or fight for your dreams you will be nothing in life”/
so that I can have a good future.
They make me strong by always being with me and supporting me with everything./
They taught me that life is very beautiful if you know how to live.
Arnold was born in Los Alpes Jesus de Otoro, Honduras. He came to the U.S when he was 16 years old to have a better future and fight for his dreams. He is currently a senior at SFIHS. His dream is to graduate and continue studying in city college to work towards a career in mechanics. His poetry is inspired by his parents and his grandparents.
Students’ Choice, Class M
Name: Abdulla Habban
Look how they make me look
I’m from where brothers kill each other
and the crow is happy there
From we were together
and how, when and what happened here
I’m dying and the oppressor lives for what for power chair
I’ve walked through beaches, over the sea outside the cities
It showed me that politics are a heavy topic in my home countries
It makes me sadness knowing that our own people still kill like flies
I’m from the belly of the sky
From where not one oppressed and cry
But now I’m from where every day children die
I’ve tasted sadness when I remember war started
It showed me how is war left happiness and what it created
The politics is a heavy topic in my home country that has aged
I’m running away to freedom showing a free person
And protecting myself from oppression
I’m free like a horse when it running
I carry memories when I younger would play with a friend
They remind me that injustice, no one bows to it
They make me strong by becoming a lion to the end
I’m from more five years of war and a country for the worst
From blid Al Arab and if the rain is late, it will come day cloudburst
I’m poem to show you my history but don’t believe anything first
I stand on the legacy of Arabic from the middle east
It teaches me not to shut up about my rights even after a while
It makes me strong by becoming a lion it is king and strongest
I’m here I’ll be back on the field and strong
I’m here and I’ll be back in my young
I’m here and my bones will be unite
My name is Abdulla Habban, I’m from Aden/ Yemen, I came to the U.S.A in 2019.
Staff Choice, First Place
Name: Hazel Salazar
Just a girl from town
I come from beautiful beaches and lakes
I come from festivities and christmas dinners
From a tiny country
Where hope is scarce /
I am from “los mercados” /
Filled with people looking for their family sustenance
Some of them lost looking for “misericordia”
But they would usually pass unnoticed by people/
Hope is a hard word to fit in
I want a bright future/
I want to wake up one day and realize I did it/
I want to avoid this voice in my head telling me I will never achieve it
I left behind my fear, distress/
I carry with me the hope of one day fulfilling this feeling of happiness
I remember my childhood as the most precious treasure
Waking up to my grandma’s coffee
Waking up to have breakfast ready
Going to “la tienda” was the only thing I worried about/
Now they’re all just memories that I will never forget
I’ve seen the desperate in people’s eyes
Thinking if they’ll survive
Submerging themselves into many scenarios that could happen
They could go lost
They could die
But they could succeed
I guess that’s a good thing
I hope it’s worth all the sacrifices
All nights being up
All nights being hungry
But I hope they can see the light at the end of the tunnel
I am afraid of everything
I am afraid of messing up
I am afraid of being a failure
But I hope to one day find a exit to this unstoppable cave
I hold onto my roots that have always taught me to be strong
And I take all my experiences that have shaped me into a better person
Hazel was born in San Salvador, El Salvador. She immigrated to the U.S when she was fifteen years old in order to have a greater future. She is currently a senior at SFI, where she has been since 9th grade. Next year, she has plans to go to San Francisco State. Her poetry is inspired by her experiences between her roots and a new start in her life.
Staff Choice, Second Place
Name: Jones Nguyen
Mom Is Away Everyday
Spring has come to my home bronze garden/
One more year I could not be there
I feel like a field barren
Hold up my soul,/ mama don’t be scared
Are you getting away from me?
I overcome all challenges to come to you
Your warm hugs are like my key.
Everything is a lie,/ you are the only truth
When I was crying at my mother’s knee
I revived from the dead,/ all the world belonged to me
When I was at my mother’s knee,
She was all the world belonged to me
When my knees are higher than her knees,/
Because the world,/ I don’t want to see,
Her, herself, and her messages are always in me,
I’ll miss all the smiles of my family
All the world turn its back on me,/
You instantly become the wings by my side
When my eyes filled with tears,
I will still look at the child in her eyes.
Mother’s day doesn’t have many sweet flowers
There aren’t many gifts/ that don’t give mom a wish
Don’t think about mom even for a moment
Quietly let that day pass
Only after it passed/ did I realize
There is no meaning in that day without a mother
Mother’s love is deeply engraved in the heart
Mom!/ The most beloved child.
If mom suddenly turns/ into the moon
Then I would like to be a cool stream
This stream is in harmony
With the immense moonlight
Jones Nguyen was born in Saigon, Vietnam. He immigrated to the United States when he was eighteen years old because he wanted to get a better life and education. He also can find many opportunities in this place and better than in his home country. He currently lives in San Francisco and is a senior at San Francisco International High School. He is part of the Community Youth Center program. Next year when he graduates from SFIHS his plan is to go to San Francisco State University. His poetry is inspired by his family.
Staff Choice, Third Place
Name: Noe Velasquez
El Indio Lempira
I am from the city of Choluteca, Honduras – the city of dead dreams
The city where some young people die without options.
The only option they have is to join the gangs.
I am from the city where the pescados and camarones are abundant.
I am from la ciudad del mar grande. Every single day people wake up at 3am just for one reason:to help and support their families. Everyone thinks to give the best to their families.
I am learning English and some words in Chinese. I moved to Ohio and finally I’m here in San Francisco.
I am from Choluteca where people always see you with a big smile.
My mother always gave her best for us.
I am from where españoles came to my country and mataron many people hundreds years ago.
I’ve walked in Tegucigalpa, the city of my country.
Where people wake up very early in the morning to start to work and I remember when I was at a food center market a woman was working while her daughter was studying. Some mothers do not have the opportunity to give everything to their children or family.
I swore to my mom that I would help her with food and money and give her a better life,when I was in the United States because my mom always gives all for me now I have to give the best and all for her.
I’ve tasted chow mein from China.
I’ve heard”something difficult does not come eazy.”
I’ve smelled the flowers that I put on at the funeral of my Homie tuco.
I left behind the city that saw me grow
I remember when I played with my friends in the neighborhood but as we grew some died by the gangs
I carry with me the homies that died for the pandillas, gangs.
I remember when my mom washed the neighbors’ clothes just to buy us a little food because we were 7 siblings and it was very difficult for her to feed us all. I miss her.
I stand on and I start to think about the Indio Lempira.
I dream of my graduation and give all that I have just for my family.
I hope to go to college and I want to be a chef
And start to give all that I got like El Indio Lempira did.