Ds Scholarship

Abbey Park High School Students in Oakville Publish Poetry

As the all-new Omnicrom variant has caused a resurgence of anxiety, worry, and despair – just about everything from business, leisure, family and our opinions has been shaped in response to the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. From school life to holiday visits and everything in between – one can’t help but feel lost and miserable, even on our best days.

However, among these stories of woe, one cannot deny the coordinated resilience that has emerged due to the pandemic.

The look of a brighter day has already been discussed. We’ve made leaps and bounds since March 2020 with the development of effective vaccines for companies operating nimbly in the midst of chaos.

Humanity has persevered.

However, one cannot discount the stories and memories of death, despair and tragic loss caused by the pandemic during these past two years.

The pandemic will go down in history as a time that affected many of us and changed our view of the world. Some storytellers will write about the impact of the pandemic, and when we see a brighter day, their words will always be etched in time, so future generations can feel what the world once felt.

Four of these narrators are from Oakville and attend Abbey Park High School.

Words across the country – an unimaginable call to action

A 12th grader in Moncton, Note: Camden Dowthright, issued a call to action for high school students, encouraging and urging them to write down their thoughts on their epidemiological experiences through poetry or prose. The collections will culminate in an anthology titled The Unthinkable Project.

The idea was created when the pandemic interrupted Douthwright’s writing class, preventing him from doing critical literary work, including a literary journal. With fellow student Natalie Millard helping with public relations for “Project Unimaginable,” educator Mr. Moore and Toronto author Mark Sampson cited by Douthwright as a key component of the editorial process, the project continued to receive applications from all over the world, including Germany and the United States. American, Ireland, and Canadian provinces such as Quebec and Ontario.

A number of Abe Park High School students submitted their work, and several were selected for the initiative.

Abby Park leaves his mark.

“Project Unimaginable” was published in June 2021, and copies will soon be available at the Oakville Public Library. The contributions of the students of Abbey Park High School make up a third of the entire group, which is an incredible recognition of their creativity and thinking.

“The featured pieces reflect the students’ hopes, fears, dreams and resilience in the face of a somewhat challenging future,” said Terry Beckwith, retired Head of Language, English and Library at Abbey Park High School. “The work is compelling, poignant, and sometimes heart-breaking. In the end, the students’ writing shows the sincerity and perseverance of our youth.”

Eight students made it to the anthology. Four of them have since graduated, and four are still Abe Park students.

  • Leo Hersey – Trapped and Refuge to Prison
  • Aiza Malik – Personal Magazine Part 1 and Part 2
  • Shahran Mohsen – Songof the Siren – Vilanelle
  • Abigail Garcia Hernandez

“I know that all the mistakes we make today will be worth nothing if future generations cannot learn from them,” said Aizah Malik, a student of Abbey Park, whose poem is included in the anthology.

“Spreadsheets aren’t the reason people look back at this time in history; personal stories are. So are the teenage perspective literature detailing the effects of quarantine will serve as a reminder for those who haven’t personally experienced it. A new concept. We read stories about life in Wartime, all the time.”

“I wrote two clips for an unimaginable project,” explained Leo Hersey, another Abbey Park author.

The first is titled Trapped, is sestina that examines what it means to be trapped in an uncertain future and the implications of quarantine measures.

The second is titled From Haven to Prison, is the villus dealing with the sudden confinement that occurred during the onset of the epidemic. Both pieces deal with the change in our daily lives brought about by Covid-19. At first, it can be difficult to deal with strict quarantine measures and distancing. The poems explore the concept of this short-term sacrifice to preserve our future.

“Before introducing the project, I had not considered writing or publishing anything. However, this seemed to be a great opportunity to work with students across the country to share the voice of Canadian youth. It is crucial to provide students and young people in Canada with opportunities to share and be heard. Often It is said that students are the next generation of world leaders, so it is important for them to have their say.”

These authors will go down in history, leaving a legacy in Oakville and they will be counted among the Canadian authors who made their mark with honest words during one of humanity’s most disturbing and unstable times.

“I think this project is showing Oakvilleans and other students that they don’t have to be adults to be published, authors. I hope it will encourage them to show their work to the world because if I can become a published poet they can also explain Shahran Mohsen to the Oakville community.

“I believe that gratitude for health care workers who have made so many sacrifices in their lives and put themselves at risk to help others needs to be acknowledged. Even if people cannot show their gratitude directly, they can do so by following medical advice such as vaccinating, wearing a mask and keeping social distance.”

As the students of Abbey Park leave their mark on history with their ingenuity at telling stories and tales, they also give us reason to believe in the future. It may be remote but within reach, as long as we allow ourselves to move on.

Below are excerpts from Villanelli’s book for two months.

Villanelli: our heroes

Watch their bruised faces from wearing masks for hours

Who fight this black swan

Because they are our heroes who shine more than the stars

Put your ears to their diary

Help them run the marathon

Salute to those who risk their lives for ours

Stay home to save their tears

Share their warnings so that they are responsible for contacting them

Because they are our heroes who shine more than the stars

When all is said and done we can leave our towers

And for those who have fallen, they will be in the gods of our hearts

Salute to those who risk their lives for ours

Because they are our heroes who shine more than the stars

To read the entire poem Two Months – stay tuned for these young authors because the anthology will soon be available to read at the Oakville Public Library.


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