By Mario Tarradell, Public Relations & Marketing Manager
It was Daisy Gamboa’s first time in New York City. In fact, it was the Anson Jones Elementary 5th grader’s first time on a plane. Yet there she was potently delivering her poem titled “Bullying” at the National Poetry SLAM! in the Big Apple.
Daisy was chosen to represent Dallas by America SCORES. She was one of only 14 young poets that took the stage April 11. (In the photo above, she’s the last one on the left.) Daisy traveled to New York with Donna Carey, her poetry coach at Anson Jones. The pair spent three nights in the city that never sleeps. This is the third time that a student from Anson Jones Elementary gets chosen by America SCORES to represent Dallas in the National Poetry SLAM!
“Daisy has a very special place in our hearts here at America SCORES,” says Crystal Schober, Executive Director for America SCORES Dallas. “She has been through some very tough times, but yet always has a smile on her face. Her ‘Bullying’ poem was a very strong poem about being the bully and being bullied and how it impacted her. She did an exceptional job and we are very proud of her.”
So is Carey, who watched Daisy blossom through her poetry. Daisy is a student of Big Thought’s Thriving Minds After School program, and through her exposure to poetry, soccer and service, all hallmarks of the America SCORES mission to nurture active minds, active bodies and active community members, she has learned valuable social-emotional lessons.
“She was a very shy kid when she started in poetry and this really helped her come out of her shell,” says Carey. “She’s the only girl in her family of all boys. She’s really tough, but is a softhearted person.”
It was a fundraiser for America SCORES at the Dallas Farmers Market earlier this year that introduced Daisy to the world of spoken word reading. Carey says it was the first time that Daisy ever spoke in public.
“She really took to it,” says Carey. “I wasn’t surprised. I know what potential a child has. Once I pull it out of you, you have it. She knew her poem completely by heart. Her hard work was appreciated and we got a free trip to New York to meet other people from other schools and to represent Dallas in a poetry convention. She won it, and she deserved it.”
For Daisy the New York trip was an eye-opening journey. It was her grown-up adventure, an experience that helped close the opportunity gap that disproportionately affects under-resourced children and youth in Dallas County schools. She basked in a different surrounding, an exciting new city, and met kids from other schools and other states.
New York also gave Daisy a real-world course in poetry.
“It was helpful for her to know the different types of poetry – some of them were hardcore rap poems, some were pretty deep,” says Carey. “But it’s a matter of taste. Some people don’t want to hear poems so hard. She had a very serious subject, but she gave it to you in a softer manner.”
Still, perhaps for Daisy this trip was all about the firsts. Her first time in New York City, and most importantly her first time on a plane: “Before we left I was so nervous,” says Daisy, “but once we were in the air I forgot we were on a plane.”
We thank all of our generous Thriving Minds supporters. For a full list of Thriving Minds donors, please click here.