SABINE CROY, How We Raise Our Children, Photography. Grade 10, Carroll High School, Fort Wayne, IN. Civic Expression Award

SABINE CROY, How We Raise Our Children, Photography. Grade 10, Carroll High School, Fort Wayne, IN. Civic Expression Award

The Civic Expression Award, underwritten by the Maurice R. Robinson Fund, recognizes six teens whose works of art and writing promote responsible civic life. Through photography, poetry, paintings, and personal essays and memoirs, the teens who received the 2019 Civic Expression Award show an awareness of the issues affecting their communities. Their explorations of these issues and of their civic responsibility to solve problems on behalf of the public good earned them this award, along with $1,000 scholarships.

The 2019 Civic Expression Awardees are:

Sabine Croy, Sabrina Guo, Isabella Newman, Sigourney Robinson, Lanyce Williams, and Tiffany Zheng

Sacrifice

SABRINA GUO, Poetry. Grade 8, South Woods Middle School, Syosset, NY. Civic Expression Award

Dedicated to all those who are no longer 
with us following the Marjorie Stoneman Douglas
High School shooting in Florida on February 14, 2018

In old Christian myths
women and children of
the Middle Ages
were entombed
as protection against
disasters of weather
or war:
virgins lost
to German lakes,
infants buried under
castle fortresses and bridges
to ward off tsunamis
or armies…
But the songs
of the sacrificed
are never silent,
their wailing is the
wind over the ocean,
weeping
long after
each fortress crumbles.

This, Peter Wang knew
the moment he heard the blasts
of an AR-15 semi-automatic
approaching his classroom
at Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High.
Among the screams,
he held the door for his classmates
and his teachers as if bound
to act with honor
by his Junior reserve uniform
of pressed grey-blue.
It was gold-pinned,
with black insignia stitched
into the shape of wings
along his shoulders–
the symbol of a hero, even as
fear must have crowded his veins.
No time to think, just
his blood rushing through him
like the wave of unbearable grief
in the heaving sobs of his mother,
begging to wake from
her nightmare:
Baby, hold my hand, she says,
Reach me,
the words rippling out of her limbs.
Print in a newspaper cannot capture
her pain as
Peter Wang’s casket
is carried away,
stars and stripes
blanketing the memory of him,
still in uniform,
buried with a Medal of Heroism,
and a Certificate of Appointment to West Point,
2025–
the year he would have graduated.

We share the same birthday, he and I,
except one of us
will smell the trees and grass on a college campus,
and one of us will remember
what’s been lost.
Our fates intertwined
yet never crossing,
except in the gentle March breeze
when I’m walking to school,
and to the whisper through half-open windows,
to the soft flap of curtains, to the silhouette
in the silence, I listen.

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