Opinion
Education Opinion

Toni Morrison’s Birthday

By Jim Randels — February 19, 2008 2 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

We celebrated Toni Morrison’s birthday today. Students in our classes at both McMain and Douglass are reading Beloved.

Last year our English III and creative writing classes at Douglass read The Bluest Eye. Both novels have scenes in which kisses are important. Last year our students decided to write about kisses that were turning points for them. So this year, those writings have become texts our students read alongside the Toni Morrison novels.

Today we feature one of those writings by Vinessia Shelbia, a member of the first graduating class from Douglass after the hurricane. Douglass was the fifth high school Vinessia attended during her four-year high school career. As a ninth-grader, she was in our creative writing class at another public high school in New Orleans, McDonogh 35. And the summer after her 8th grade year, Vinessia attended our summer workshops with her cousin Rodneka.

MY SPECIAL KISS
Vinessia Shelbia

I don’t remember my first kiss. I remember who it came from, but that moment when our lips first touched doesn’t play in my mind. I do remember my very special kiss. It was the beginning of our relationship, when there’s no fighting and that person is always on your mind.

We hadn’t talked the whole morning, I guess because I was having a busy day at school. Usually I would find time to call and sneak in a “what you doing?” or “how your day goin?” But this day I couldn’t find the time.

Not talking to him had me very anxious. 3:00 that evening came, and school was over. I went on with my daily routine, walking and thinking about past conversations that we shared. I got home, put my bags down, and next I picked up the phone. Before it could get to the second ring my momma gave me the news that he had passed around the house looking for me.

When he answered the phone, my first question was “where you at?”

“On my way around there by you.”

I said “okay see you later.” I wanted to hurry off the phone, so I could take off my school uniform and put on some regular clothes. Before I knew it the phone was ringing. I knew it was him, so I didn’t answer because I wasn’t ready. After I spruced myself up, out the door I went.

We stopped at the Chinese place and got something to eat. After we ate we drove to the lake. We stood close to the water, and I felt cold. My eyes rolled up from the water, and the moon looked close enough for me to hold it. For the first time in my life, I saw the moon float on water. It was so beautiful.

I thought about how my world had changed. Down came the tears of joy. He looked in my face and asked why I was crying. I told him I was happy. He kissed me, and I took the place of the moon. I was the one, now floating.

The opinions expressed in Student Stories: A New Orleans Classroom Chronicle are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.


Commenting has been disabled on edweek.org effective Sept. 8. Please visit our FAQ section for more details. To get in touch with us visit our contact page, follow us on social media, or submit a Letter to the Editor.


Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Teaching Webinar
6 Key Trends in Teaching and Learning
As we enter the third school year affected by the pandemic—and a return to the classroom for many—we come better prepared, but questions remain. How will the last year impact teaching and learning this school
Content provided by Instructure
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
School & District Management Webinar
Ensuring Continuity of Learning: How to Prepare for the Next Disruption
Across the country, K-12 schools and districts are, again, considering how to ensure effective continuity of learning in the face of emerging COVID variants, politicized debates, and more. Learn from Alexandria City Public Schools superintendent
Content provided by Class
Teaching Profession Live Online Discussion What Have We Learned From Teachers During the Pandemic?
University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Lora Bartlett and her colleagues spent months studying how the pandemic affected classroom teachers. We will discuss the takeaways from her research not only for teachers, but also for

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Education Schools Get the Brunt of Latest COVID Wave in South Carolina
In the past few weeks, South Carolina has set records for COVID-19 hospitalizations and new cases have approached peak levels of last winter.
4 min read
Two Camden Elementary School students in masks listen as South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster talks about steps the school is taking to fight COVID-19, Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, in Camden, S.C. McMaster has adamantly and repeatedly come out against requiring masks in schools even as the average number of daily COVID-19 cases in the state has risen since early June. (AP Photo/Jeffrey Collins)
Education More States Are Requiring Schools to Teach Native American History and Culture
Advocates say their efforts have gained some momentum with the nation’s reckoning over racial injustice since the killing of George Floyd.
3 min read
A dancer participates in an intertribal dance at Schemitzun on the Mashantucket Pequot Reservation in Mashantucket, Conn., Saturday, Aug. 28, 2021. Connecticut and a handful of other states have recently decided to mandate students be taught about Native American culture and history. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)
Education Judge's Temporary Order Allows Iowa Schools to Mandate Masks
A federal judge ordered the state to immediately halt enforcement of a law that prevents school boards from ordering masks to be worn.
4 min read
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks to reporters following a news conference, Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021, in West Des Moines, Iowa. Reynolds lashed out at President Joe Biden Thursday after he ordered his education secretary to explore possible legal action against states that have blocked school mask mandates and other public health measures meant to protect students against COVID-19. Reynolds, a Republican, has signed a bill into law that prohibits school officials from requiring masks, raising concerns as delta variant virus cases climb across the state and schools resume classes soon. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
Education Hurricane Ida Deals New Blow to Louisiana Schools Struggling to Reopen
The opening of the school year offered teachers a chance to fully assess the pandemic's effects, only to have students forced out again.
8 min read
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021. Louisiana students, who were back in class after a year and a half of COVID-19 disruptions kept many of them at home, are now missing school again after Hurricane Ida. A quarter-million public school students statewide have no school to report to, though top educators are promising a return is, at most, weeks away, not months.
Six-year-old Mary-Louise Lacobon sits on a fallen tree beside the remnants of her family's home destroyed by Hurricane Ida, in Dulac, La., on Sept. 4, 2021.
John Locher/AP