Woodland School first graders contribute poem to San Mateo County anthology

by Linda Hubbard on January 26, 2021

A poem written by Woodland School first graders early last year in Ivana Hansen and Monica Gojcaj’s classrooms is included in the San Mateo County poetry anthology, I Have a Dream: Inaugural Poems for a New Generation. The book features the works of over 100 young poets, ages six to 16 years old.

“The idea for this anthology came about after more than 100 of San Mateo County’s high school students spent December of 2020 attending poetry workshops and crafting inaugural poems,” said SMC poet laureate Aileen Cassinetto. “Partly inspired by the Academy of American Poets’ 2021 Inaugural Poem Contest, we challenged San Mateo County’s youth to write about their views, their experiences and their hopes for America.

“Our purpose is not only to amplify the voices of our young people, but also acknowledge that they are co-authors of our national and community narrative, and of the spaces which they inhabit. As far as I know, this is the first anthology of its kind.”

Ivana explained that the two first grade classrooms were studying poetry just as the pandemic was getting started last year.

“It’s my favorite unit to teach all year,” she says. “It’s an opportunity to explore themes that are meaningful to them – nature, family, even social justice issues.

“And with this year’s first graders, we were able to watch poet Amanda Gorman at the inauguration!”

Ivana’s 2020 first graders selected the lines they wanted and Aileen assembled it into a finished poem (below).

I Have a Dream: Inaugural Poems for a New Generation is available on Amazon.


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