‘Fold the gown/remember them.’: Graduation (first and last)

8th grade students reflected before writing their own poems about the act of ‘putting away’ and ‘looking forward’ as the speakers do in the poems, ‘the first graduation’ and ‘the last graduation.’ by Nate Marshall.

Lesson Note:. “I think one of the strengths of nostalgia is that even if they have not had a good childhood, most people have at least one nostalgic memory that they cherish and that they can use repeatedly. Someone once asked me: ‘How long do these effects last?’ My 11-year-old daughter said: ‘They last your entire life!’ She’s right, too. Once positive memories are instantiated they might have only represented half an hour of your entire childhood, but you can dwell on them and return to them forever.”–Dr. Tim Wildschut and Constantine Sedikides, Department of Social Sciences & Psychology,. Article: ‘Looking back in joy: the power of nostalgia.’


Ms. Taylor, 8th Grade
Period 1

Josephiine P.

Wake up.
Today’s the day I have been planning for,
3 months to be exact.
As happy and excited I am.
I know I leave behind memories & friends.

The ceremony will be sad and long.
I have no teachers to say goodbye to
For once in my life, I let my friends hug me.
We all part.

Going home is the worst part.
You desparately try to remain cloase,
it’s in vain but, you tell yourself
to at least try.

Samuel O.

go to Norwood Park, take off that tie my mom
forced me to pot on
go on the swings, affected by the wear&
look up at sky and wonder why

time goes so fast
then I go home
and relax
and think ahead

Ms. Taylor, 8th Grade
Period 2

Ben G.

It’s pretty uncomfortable
My hands are sweating
And then it’s over
And I don’t feel anything
Kinda anticlimactic
Then I go home
Take off the gown
then I move along

Celena H.

After graduation,
I imagine myself,
going home,
probably eating,
I think I’ll be hungry
I’ll think that I’ll then think about summer break
and think about what I’ll do
I’m sure I’ll be sad
but I’ll be happy
because I’ll have the whole
summer to see my friends.

Ms. Taylor, 8th Grade
Period 3

My 8th Grade Graduation
Ava G.

I’ll arrive ar school. A little early.
So I can take pictures, cry, re-apply mascara, cry.
I haven’t really thought about graduation much.
It makes me upset.
I tell myself if I don’t think about it maybe it won’t
Maybe I won’t have to walk in through the door 1,
early in the morning, and exit at 2:58 through door 4
so I don’t miss my bus.
Maybe I won’t hae to show my ID to the security as I
enter the lunchroom, for the last tie.
Maybe I won’t have to open and close my locker,
for the last time.
Maybe I won’t have to empty my lcoker and take
my last walk home from the bus stop.
Maybe I won’t ahve to leave Taft AC, for the first time.

The last day
Isumi P.

The bright white light
shining in your eyes
The wooden stage that
squeaks underneath the
weight of my footsteps
The cheering of my classmates
when all of a sudden
everything blacks out and
all I see is the scroll of
graduation in front of me
I take it and everything
comes back to color. I accept
it and thank the principal
It’s too early for this, let’s
wait, still a few months
to go.

Ms. Taylor, 8th Grade
Period 5

Yasmin A.

get ready
be happy
old memories

mixed emotions
the last time you see all
of your friends
growing up

knowing they will leave
they won’t remember me

remembering happy times
be grateful
grateful they stuck around long enough
be grateful, they didn’t leave you behind sooner

be grateful you made memories

fold the gown
remember them.

The last graduation
in the voice of an 8th grade graduate

Patrick Z.

June 17
the fear running through
my veins. Walking up
to the auditorium

parents yelling at me

Ms. Taylor, 8th Grade
Period 7

Ana B.

On graduation I will
and miss people

Sara S.

Happiness and sadness
The day I’ve been waiting for 9 years
But that day maybe I wish we graduated the nest day
The cap and gown
Everyinig matching
The last time we will look and speak
to each other.



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.