San Francisco International High School Shows off Poetry That Inspires
By Hei Hei, ACE Poetry Contest Mascot, San Francisco International High School
I’m so proud of my San Francisco International High School (SFIHS) poets. In true SFIHS fashion, the teacher asked students to vote for the winners because the winners are going to read their poems at graduation. Arrr arrr, poems at graduation!
However, in order to ensure that there was equitable representation, she also asked the 12th grade teachers to weigh in. In the end, I guess they all couldn’t narrow down the list because there were so many amazing poems (a great problem to have), so they decided there would be two winners in every class.
So here are the SFIHS winners of the ACE Poetry Contest 2019.
The Most Pure of the Hearts
By Monica Duran
I’m from the pupusas’ place,
Where people eat them everyday with a cold Kolashampan.
I’m from the mango verde place,
Where you climb the tree to get them.
I’m from the city where everyone knows each other,
Where people track you, but also take care of you.
I’m from a bright place,
From a tropical space,
I’m from a noisy city,
From the crowded ilo city.
I’m the joy of my family,
The nena of grandpa, and
The little one of grandma.
I’m the daughter of all my uncles,
I’m the sibling of all my cousins, but overall
I’m the treasure of my mom.
I’ve walked through the most hidden hill of my country,
But also to the most famous streets of D.C.
I’m open to do everything,
I’m a clown,
I’m a friend, and sometimes even a horse.
A horse that helps you carry what tires you.
I’m your back,
I’m your shoulder,
I’m your friend.
I’m like a endless book, full of surprise ,
Surprise that catches peoples attention.
I’m like a gatorade that gives you so much energy, but
I’m also like a chamomile tea that calms you down.
I’m a flower growing up into rocks,
A flower that gets stronger when water falls on it.
I come from the most pure of the hearts,
Monica was born in El Salvador, she immigrated to the United States when she was 17, looking for better opportunities for her and her mom. She is a current senior at SFI, and next year she plans to go to a 4-year college. She is inspired of many scenes of her life. Poetry inspires her because when words can’t talk, paper does.
A Reborn Fighter
By Johnny H.
That boy standing right there,
Laughing with his friends,
It’s me Johnny.
A Chinese boy with a hat,
Ready to get started.
Right now I am in America,
Work hard as a fighter.
Looks like understand everything.
You think I’m always like this?
But I always come back.
In school of China,
Where everybody was fighting for their future,
I was a bad boy who didn’t want to fight.
You think I had changed a lot?
Because I always come back.
I have been held back,
From friends and teacher,
Who think I am behind.
Falling into a black hole, with no light and hope.
Thought I would never succeed.
But I always come back.
I met a person, kind and smart
Changed my whole world.
Who is that person? It doesn’t matter.
Things that matter,
That person helped me erase my darkness,
That’s how I come back.
That person used to say:
NO one is perfect, just like no gold is full pure.
The sentence lights my mind,
Helps me to understand I can do better.
That’s how I come back.
That person is a lighthouse,
Lit up my path to the future.
Guided me through the school.
Helped me when I was down,
Raised me like a phoenix.
And then I came back.
Now I am in America,
But I won’t forget the lesson that person taught me.
It’s to help others and bring smiles,
And I’m not afraid of falling down.
Because I always come back!
Johnny was born in Foshan, China. He immigrated to the U.S. 3 years ago because his parents wanted to provide him a better environment to study and a better future. Right now he is a current senior at SFI. Next year, he plans to go to UC Davis attain a four year college degree. His poetry is inspired by a classmate that helped him through his middle school.
Flying As A Bird
By Francisca Cruz
Who am I? I am from La selva lacandona a town called Ejido el Limonar,
but there is not a lot of lemon trees. Besides, there are a beautiful big green mountains and small fresh rivers everywhere.
I am from where every morning you hear the sounds of birds singing
Where you drink cafe de olla with pancitos that taste full of love and sitting in the table with your family, joking and laughing
Oh god I miss those old days
I am the light that shines in the dark town where women are not supposed to shine.
I escaped from the place where women are only useful at a house.
I escaped from my old tradition.
I am the bird who did flew to change her history to a better one.
I fly to leave behind my home!! My family, my friends,
I come here in USA bringing my old memories,
The challenges that taste like tequila because every time I remember those memories my throats start to burn, and I cry
I bring my mother words “mame chay ta a wotan te a naje” (don’t forget your home)
Oh my darling mother, she doesn’t have idea that I cry every night praying to our God to one day can go back to see her,
I’m the hope and the sunshine for my 7 siblings who are still in Mexico to one day can join me here,
I was the last choice for my uncles to bring me here, and I take advantage,
I am a star wanting to start a new story
I’m the tornado storm that destroys all the challenges that cross in her way,
but I am in control to change, to rebuild, to grow my faith
I have a dream, a dream to go to college
A dream to be successful
I am indigenous girl with a lot of dreams,
If I can speak 3 languages I can do anything,
I’m not ashamed where I come from,
The world will know my name soon,
My parents will be proud soon,
I’m taking advantage of the chances that SF International gives me,
I don’t need an energetic drink to have energy to start my day with a smile, never mind I always need coffee to stay happy
I am the first generation to go to college this year,
I am about to shine in the coming days of darkness.
I am Francisca Cruz Encino a short girl who is dreaming big.
Francisca is from Chiapas. She moved here in San Francisco since 2015. Her first language is Tzeltal, a native language. She is a senior at SFI and is a member of Dream Team, GSA, and IC. Next year, she plans to go to a four-year college. Her poetry is inspired by her hometown.
Where I Am From
By Ken Liang
I am from China, a broad territory of brown people
The majestic great wall has taught me to stand up
The highest mountain has taught me to stay calm
The rich history has taught me to unite one another
The bravery that comes from dragon spirit,
The harmony that comes from Confucius’s speeches,
The persistence that comes from Beijing Olympic athletes
Have made me a strong Chinese
I am from my family, a place full of love, support, and joy
Love is every “罯罯寻寻” my mom says before I go out
Support is every “YES” my dad says to my action plan
Joy is every time my sister and I don’t have a fight
The way of greeting relatives,
The trick of using chopsticks,
The skill of organizing things
Have made me a strong family member
I am from myself, a unique individual on Earth
Freedom is my leg and I’ll walk through all the obstacles
Creativity is my brain and I’ll think about how to do things differently
Hardworking is my hands and I’ll create changes for the community
Running up and down on the basketball court
Breaking through the limitations in the school system,
Learning about diversity of different cultures in Peace Club,
Have made me a strong person
I am a bird that never stops flying
I am an alien that never thinks ordinarily
I am a human that never forgets where I am from.
Ken was born in Jiangmen, China. He immigrated to the U.S. when he was 15 years old to pursue a better education. He is a current senior at SFI, where he is a member of Peace Club. Next year, he plans to go to UC Berkeley to find out his passion. His poetry is inspired by his past.
My Heart Is Still In Nicaragua
By Rebeca Chavez Mejia
My first memories are filled with clear lakes and humble people
Where the weather was always hot, except in December
Where we had some cold air caressing our faces
I am a tree that experiences good and bad seasons during the year
I draw strength from what I feel.
I’ve walked through many colorful and loud streets of Managua, Nicaragua, my home
My favorite place was my neighborhood “Villa San Jacinto” where everyone greeted and smile at each other.
My neighbors and I laughed and played in an empty sad looking park,
that smelled of wet grass and old wood
This showed me that you don’t need to know people to say “Hola primo (a) Como te va?”
I draw strength from where I’ve walked
It made me grateful to watch mi mama y papa waking up early in the morning To bring crunchy enchiladas and fresh cacao back home for us to eat
I am from my grandpa’s hot coffee and grandma’s scrambled eggs
From wet grass and burning air
I am the hope of my family
I draw strength from what I’ve tasted
I’ve tasted sadness when I left my people, culture, home, and family to get into a plane
It makes me strong by forcing me to adapt to a new place, the United States
And by learning a new language, English
It showed me that I can go through anything that life has prepared for me
I draw strength from what I’ve seen
I am dreaming big, working hard, and struggling much
I always remember my mother words “Siempre recorda de dónde vienes y para donde vas” which means “Always remember where you come from and where you are going”
My happiest memory is playing “El escondite” (hide & seek) with my neighbors
When I thought the worst thing was getting bruises on my knees
This made me realize that I can go through anything and not fall apart
I draw strength from all memories
Even though, I am thankful for what I have now
My heart is still in Nicaragua
I have my family, food, house, health, but
My heart is still in Nicaragua
I draw strength from where I come from
Rebeca was born in Managua, Nicaragua. She immigrated to the U.S. 4 years ago in order to better her conditions of life and get better education. She is a current senior at SFI, where she is a member of Peace Club and Mission Graduates. Next year, she plans to attend UC Davis and study Biology. Her poetry is inspired by her experience leaving her home country, Nicaragua.
I Am A Seed That Thrives On Chinese Soil
By Jiahui Eva Sun
I am from a lively community and small city
From prosperous Pearl River Delta and friendly China
I am the pistachio that always makes my family laugh
I draw strength from where I’ve walked
I’ve walked through Zhongshan, the city I was born, carries lots of my memories
It showed me its development and changes since I can remember things
It made me strong by establishing many parks
with thousands of green plants that make fresh air
I am from the family barbecue and my grandma’s soup
From my mother’s cookies and my aunt’s sushi
I am the plate that can taste all kinds of food
made by my family
I draw strength from what I’ve tasted
I’ve tasted love
It showed me my family has been with me since I grew up
It makes me strong
by giving me energy
and supporting me to do whatever I like
I am playing basketball, doing taekwondo,
I am like wind turbines spinning to get more energy
I draw strength from what I carry
I carry memories of basketball games against other schools
They remind me that we have the opportunity to win
so never give up
They make me strong by challenging myself to do better and better
I am from the Founding of New China and Chinese New Year
From 团结就是力量(unity is strength) and be yourself
I am a seed that thrives on Chinese soil
I draw strength from where I stand
I stand on the legacy of people
Who used their lives to stop Japanese aggression
It teaches me we cannot be weak and should be brave
Also, we should defend the sovereignty
It makes me strong because the country provides a peaceful environment for our growth
I am the only one who can control my life
I am making changes in my life
I am chasing my ideals
Jiahui Eva was born in Zhongshan, China. She immigrated to the U.S. when she was 16 years old because she wanted to get a better education. She is a current senior at SFI, where she is an athlete of the girls basketball team. Next year, she plans to go to Diablo Valley College. Her poetry is inspired by her past.
Left My Country For A Light Of Hope
By Armando Hernandez
I am from beautiful mountains, lakes, enormous,
Tall, green Ceibas, and pyramids.
From pueblos con gente trabajadora y humilde
I am the river running for hope and peace.
I draw strength from where I walked.
I I’ve walked through big mountains and thorns
I have seen violence, hunger, and pain
That show me the reality of the life
and how to find my own way to create.
I am from my mom’s tamales and trajes típicos that represent Maya’s symbols
From country of volcanoes and the mother of 24 languages.
Where the sun rises every morning where people go to harvest coffee
To give the bread of their children’s.
I am a light looking for hope through darkness
I draw strength from what I’ve tasted.
I’ve tasted sadness, happiness, loneliness, and hope
Looking at the sky and stars every night
When the sun rises it’s time to start a long
Way like the river as a light of hope.
I carry memories of my childhood
Farming coffee where I play
Futbol with my primos y amigos.
I remember everything like it was yesterday
Unforgettable memories of people
When they work and pray everyday.
They make me strong by getting knowledge and ability
to create my own way and build my own
I came from espirito Chapin where the Quetzal
Flies too high and barriletes gigantes
That have many colors that fly in the sky
I brought memories and sangre Maya in my veins
Where we treat and respect each other
I am like the bird flying away from its nest.
I draw strength where I stand.
I stand in the legacy of working people
Who build Jarros de barro and corn crops
Who teach me to be a hard worker
And treat to fight in moment of challenges.
Armando was born in San Marcos, Guatemala. He immigrated to the U.S when he was 16 years old in order to get hopes of opportunities.
He is currently a senior at SFI, where he works hard to learn new things everyday. Next year, he will go to college to try to reach his dreams and goals. His poetry inspired by his experiences that he has lived.
By Essa Muftah
I am from brown, black and white colors
I am a Muslim boy and the king of my dreams
I am from Aden mountains with population that lives in the street
I am an Arabic boy looking for freedom
I am the years that passed, and never come back
All I want is freedom to love you in my own way
All I want is freedom to make all my fears go away
All I want is freedom to say “I love you”
All I want is freedom to hear you say “I love you too”
All I want is freedom is that too much to ask?
All I want is freedom to forget everything in the past
All I want is freedom to take away all the tears and the pain
All I want is freedom to never feel that way again
Freedom is pencil, leaving marks everywhere
Freedom is love making relationships everywhere
Freedom gives people loveliness and happiness
Freedom is being able to make your own
Freedom is a school to learn new things.
All I want is freedom to take away all the sadness
All I want is freedom to take all the pain in the world
Everyone wants freedom
I want freedom to be happy
Freedom cost us more than we
All I want is freedom to reach my dream
All I want is freedom to complete my dream
All I want is freedom to work as team
I got enough from what I have seen
Essa was born in Aden, Yemen. He immigrated to the U.S when he was 14 years old. In order to take his education. He is a current senior at SFIHS, where he is a member of dream team. Next year he will go to college to try reach his goal.