It Takes a Village…and the Village Gotta Eat

Last Friday, I returned to DuBois Elementary eager after not seeing the students for two weeks. Post-holiday, we approached writing about the pursuit of happiness by way of two of our basic necessities…food and family. We read two list poems: one short one called Formula for Happiness and another, The Joy of Food. Discussing the structure of list poems fueled discussion about the poetic line, line breaks and stanzas. The 6th, 7th and 8th grade students took to creating their own works that were either inspired by holiday meals, their favorite foods or their formulas for happiness, which we agreed could be derived from but from six simple concepts. During their writing time, their teacher Ms. Dydo penned a poem entitled, My Joys, that she so graciously shared with our students. The students listened intently to Ms. Dydo as she quietly read her poem to us. There were so many moments that I relished in the simple act of her writing…her joys, the stars, sister-friends, he parent, family recipes resonated with us all, because she wrote for us all: her students, herself, her family, her friends, me…And after she read her final line, the students erupted with applause and cheers, while I may or may not have held back a tear. This day, so many students wanted to share their writing that that I had to make promises for our next class.

I thought of this partnership that we have, where Ms. Dydo loans her students to me each week, where I borrow time to teach the students of Dubois, where the students at Dubois give of themselves, and we all work to create something that will last in this world. I thought about how if we all just paid our debts to one another, how rich we would all be. I read these poems as soon as I could. I became so full; as my students are blossoming so quickly right before me. There is humor, tenderness, symbiosis, love. Humanity. Please enjoy.


7th Grade

Food that I Like
Ziclaly D. 

I like to spend the time with my family on Thanksgiving

or on any other holiday

We all love to spend the time together

We eat a lot of food

Like we eat a lot of

Ground beef





Carne de Puerco

I like when my mom cooks



Macaroni and cheese


She cooks very good


Gemarion B. 

Food makes me happy

Macaroni makes me smile

Chocolate anytime

My grandad’s turkey

My dad’s barbeque

Sweet potato pie

When I say it’s good, I won’t lie

Eating soup reminds me

Of my grandma who passed a year ago

Lemon cake, my auntie bakes the best

Fried chicken

Ice cream

I can’t forget pizza




And my choice of toppings


Ramon Lee
Food, Food Wassup Dudes

I see and smell the cheesy macaroni

It’s not a sandwich without “bologny”

Nachos, they my homie

Taco come for me

I eat everything got my stomach storming

Eat all day, go to sleep now its boring.


I have faith & my milkshake

Onions on my steak

Pound cake got baked

Raking food on my plate

Cabbage ad dressing, I hate.

4 plates I can take.


Spaghetti is like noodles

Chitterlings smell like booboo,

Food is like my crew.


Ice cream

Ice cream

My topping whip cream

Chocolate the dream. Food on my team

After I get food it makes me lean.


Food, Food, and More Food
Marjanay M.




Vanilla cupcakes with blue frosting

Fried chicken

My daddy mac & cheese

My auntie spaghetti

My father’s crab legs and dipping sauce

Fish and chips

My daddy’s baked shrimp

My mom fettuccini with daddy’s shrimp

Cheddar broccoli rice

My grandma fried corn

Homemade cookies




White chocolate

Donut sticks


Formula for Happiness
Raquel R. 

  • Family makes me happy when I am not that happy and makes me feel comfortable
  • Friends calm me down when I’m feeling like exploding and make me laugh
  • Laughs – when I make people laugh, it puts a smile on my face because I made someone laugh
  • Love makes me feel like I’m a part of something and I mean something to someone
  • WiFi is a need to me. WiFi does a lot to me. I love WiFi, so I won’t have to use my LTE
  • Pets are like something I need. They are good to hold and if they’re soft indeed.

8th Grade

Foods Enjoyments
Kayla H. 

Foods I enjoy on Thanksgiving and

such, I also like chocolate cake

so much. We ate greens with some

string beans, and baked mac and

cheese. We had pot roast, and some

potatoes, wait don’t forget the sweet

ones too. Dressing, turkey, and cheese

cake too, and also the cupcakes, make

them moist too. That’s all there is to next

time I’ll invite you.


Happiness and Love
Talleda P.

Soon as I hear come eat

I’m running   jumping over my sister

Falling down the stairs running to

The kitchen, sit down

Here come my mom with the bacon

6th Grade


Keyonna W.

I came home from school

smelling baked chicken. I

knew my mom was

cooking. She cooked green

beans, salad, sweet potatoes, I

know that I was about

to smash, then she pulled

out some cornbread.

Then all my family

we all love the food.


Jaeda S.

Formula for happiness to

Me is family time,

My best friends






My life



The day I was born

My family

My favorite sister

My favorite things to do

Shopping for clothes


My house

The world


Candy too


Sequoya D.

Happiness is a thing

that you can show or hide

when you’re with

your family there’s

no way you hide

that you’re happy

Happiness is something

that can never go away

even on your worst days

You can still wear a smile

that tells or at least shows

you’re happy, happiness is

a theme that you will learn

it is important. Joy is

something your family has.

Love is something you

want. Health is something

you have to care for to

keep your happiness, friends

family they all will show

you that happiness can be

shown love, live and be happy


Thankgiving Dinner
Malachi L.

My list of food was baked macaroni






Red velvet cake

Lemon cake

Sweet potato pies

And what made me happy was when we sat

down and ate our food in peace.


And I thank God



Formula for Happiness
 Danny S.




Loved ones




Tears of joy



“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.