Finding the Light

It is the mission of Noorthoek Academy to provide a continuing education in the arts and sciences to students with learning challenges and other intellectual disabilities, with the purpose of expanding horizons, exciting curiosity, and encouraging self-expression.

During the fall 2019 semester, we explored the vibrant country of India. Students began by delving into the history of the Indian people and learning how British rule impacted the government that was established. The effect of religion on the newly formed independent nation of India was explored. Students gained a respect and admiration for the accomplishments of Gandhi and Mother Teresa. The disparity of resources became relevant to students when they learned that many villages do not have access to running water or electricity. Students learned about the colorful celebrations that India is known for including, Holi, the festival of colors and Diwali, the festival of lights. The Indian culture was experienced through art projects, music, traditional Indian games, and food. The lotus flower is the national flower of India and became inspiration for some of the poetry that you will find in this edition. The story of the lotus is one of a flower that grows in filthy water but doesn’t bloom until it reaches the surface. It is a symbol of purity. Students were moved to write about their own journeys of coming out of a dark place and blooming into a beautiful being.

Winter semester 2020 was spent studying health and wellness. Students began by reviewing the systems and functions of the body. The importance of brain health was emphasized. Students were challenged to set goals for themselves regarding their nutrition and fitness. Stress was a topic that was discussed thoroughly as it affects all systems of the body. Ironically, this also became the semester that classes were moved to distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Noorthoek Academy students were up to the challenge to switch their learning to an on-line format. While learning looked different for the last half of the semester, students were engaged and continued to work on understanding how the connections between their mind, body, and lifestyle are all related. One of the highlights of this semester was our field trip to the Grand Rapids Public Museum where we visited the Bodies Revealed exhibit.

The poems you will read in this compilation are reflections of what has been learned this year. The title of this volume comes from Staci Van Kampen. Her poem entitled “Finding the Light” is a beautiful example of the symbolism of the lotus flower. Other works express memories of loved ones, acts of kindness, the beauty of nature, and grief. It is my sincere hope that as you read this poetry, you hear their experiences and wonder of life. Please listen to the words of these Noorthoek Academy students and allow them to speak to you.

Sandra Barraza
Director of Education, Noorthoek Academy

I Blossomed

By: Michelle A.

A Beautiful Place

By: Michelle A.

Marriage

By: Leeshan A.

Some Other Day

By: Fred B

Love and Joy

By: Elizabeth B.

On the Shore

By: Elizabeth B.

Feelings

By: Elizabeth B.

Friends Forever

By: Elizabeth B.

Kindness is Catchy

By: Missy B.

My Spirit

By: Gabrielle B.

A Simple Thing

By: Jon B.

Corona Virus

By: Jon B.

Smile, Pray, Listen

By: Diamond B.

Be Kind Everyone

By: Brandon B.

Love

By: Katie C

Stay Healthy

By: Katie C

Connected

By: Katie C

Wash!

By: Katie C

Reflections

By: Katherine (Katy) C

Autumn

By: Katherine (Katy) C

My Cat Jethro

By: Jessie C

Wonderful

By: Sandra C.

Sunny Days

By: Glen C.

The Cat Too

By: Devin C.

Sun Bathing

By: Katie C.

Stormy Day

By: James D

Good Times

By: Erin D.

The Starry Night Sky

By: Erin D.

Life

By: Elizabeth DY

Cranhill

By: Matt E

Moments

By: Matt E

Crowds

By: Matt E

The Saint

By: Melinda F

An Elbow Hug

By: Melinda F

My Grandma

By: Caitlin F.

Kindness Counts

By: Tanis H

Peace at Pigeon Lake

By: Tanis H

My Daily Walk

By: Terry H.

Kindness

By: Yasin H.

I Miss My Country

By: Yasin H.

South African Dreaming

By: Yasin H.

My Life

By: Yasin H.

My Mom

By: Amy H.

Good Intentions

By: Cody H.

Healthy Living

By: Yvonne J.

A Visit

By: Yvonne J.

This Matters

By: Rebecca J.

Music

By: Janice K

Letting Go

By: Janice K

Soul at Peace

By: Janice K

Happy Family

By: Julie K.

Nice Things

By: Julie K.

Walking My Imaginary Dog

By: Lisa K.

The Sleepwalker

By: Kristen L

In the Dark

By: Kristen L

Small Acts

By: Alice L

Born to Blossom

By: Cathy Marie L.

Quarantine Time

By: Cathy Marie L.

Colors

By: Betty M.

Independence Day

By: Betty M.

Kindness

By: Joel M.

Brothers

By: Gabe M.

Friends to the End

By: Paige M.

Goals

By: Quan N.

Good Start

By: Josh N.

What I Miss

By: Samantha O.

Me

By: Samantha O.

Black Pearl

By: Nick P

Puddles of Effort

By: Angie P

Today

By: Angie P

Friends

By: Caleb P

Ever Blossoming

By: Maria P

Memories of Grandma

By: Maria P

Summertime

By: Maria P

I Have a Plan for You

By: Maria P

A Thought

By: Julie P.

A Most Important Lesson

By: Sonia P.

My Grandpa

By: Sonia P.

The Dancer

By: Kim P.

Some Days

By: Cimberly R.

Friends are Special

By: Heather S

Mary Elizabeth

By: Heather S

A Smile

By: Heather S

No Limitations

By: Heather S

Memories of Mom

By: Leetrice S.

Honey

By: Ryan S.

Sharing a Smile

By: Elizabeth (Lizzie) S.

Rosie and Bella

By: Samantha S.

Crafting a Happy World

By: Emily S.

Simply Kind

By: Andy S.

The Escape

By: Elizabeth S.

The Virus

By: Jenni S.

Lake House Memories

By: Jenni S.

Holy and Kind

By: Sue U

Missing School

By: Sue U

A Smile Warms the Soul

By: Kylee V

Pajamas

By: Kylee V.

Peace Begins with a Smile

By: Leanne VB

Finding the Light

By: Staci VK

My Mother’s Love

By: Staci VK

A Little Bit

By: Katie VO

Pure Happiness

By: Claudia (CJ) VS

Memories

By: Vicki VW

Smile

By: Nicole W

I Am Smiley

By: Nicole W

Peaceful Paradise

By: David W

Bring a Smile to My Face

By: David W

Smile

By: Nicole W.

I Am Smiley

By: Nicole W.

My Inner Nirvana

By: Kyle W.

Making Memories

By: Mei Z.

I Miss so Much

By: Mei Z.

Wonderful

By: Denise Z.

Piper Makes Me Happy

By: Adam Z.

Let it Go

By: Mark Z.

Important

By: Mark Z.