Welcome to Spring '13 Scholarship

Topic: Please write a poem, in a style of your choosing, on the theme of overcoming a personal challenge.

Emily Mitchell
Lakehead University


She was born eight weeks early,
On a cloudy day in February,
Her relatives wondered if she'd be alright,
And a nurse said the little one was as strong as night.

Despite all of the wires and machines around her,
The family gathered in prayer,
So this little one could feel the sunshine on her cheeks,
To get out of the gray walls she's been in for weeks.

On a sunny day in early Spring,
The angels up above began to sing,
When the little one came home to walls of love,
Sleeping soundly in her mother's arms like a dove.

Months passed quickly as it does,
And everything was progressing as it was,
Until everyone noticed something shocking,
That this little one was not yet walking.

A few years of sweat and tears went by,
And everyone began to ask why,
She was drawn to the ground,
Every time she failed she screamed so loud. day out of the blue,
Even though she didn't have a clue,
She stood up and took little steps,
And everyone surrounding her wept and wept.

She was finally walking--hooray!
Now she could skip, run and play,
Like the other kids her age,
They thought that the sunshine was here to stay.

Many doctor appointments, physiotherapy sessions and a surgery later,
And a new leg brace to wear,
It was time for her to go to school,
And everyone tried to keep their cool.

The plastic weight that her tea cup leg carried,
Never made anything easy like acting, reciting your ABC's,
Going for a walk or going to shop was a chore,
My oh my everything was sore.

The weight on her leg wasn't fun to wear,
It came with questions, whispers, and stares,
She thought that life wasn't fair,
But her mother reminded her that there are others who suffer more out there.

Some days, her energy was so frail,
She felt she was in jail,
When she watched the other kids playing,
Sometimes in class it was so hard concentrating

She was having a hard time at school,
Not only because the other kids didn't think she was cool,
But because her grades were dropping,
It felt like everyone was push, push, pushing.

She was put into a special class that year,
And met new friends so dear,
However, she came to a realization so clear--
That she is different from her peers.

Things began to flop,
And drop, drop, drop,
But there was always someone there to pick her up,
When she was down in the dumps.

Three years later, oh my!
When the sun was shining so bright,
She returned to a regular classroom,
And wicked grades began to loom.

However, she knew that things will look up,
And not because of luck,
But because she had the will to succeed,
And her teachers and family members were filled with glee.

She needed to climb Mount Everest,
Every time she was put through a test,
But every snowstorm that was thrown her way,
She came to the top with a smile at the end of the day.

Middle school wasn't easy,
Carrying binders, laptops, if you please,
But two new friends offered to help carry the load,
When she was really about to implode.

High school came one day,
Nasty names and rumours were thrown her way,
Even though she sometimes went home crying,
My, my her grades were flying.

Even though a lot of homework sometimes put her in a pit,
She told herself to deal with it,
Especially when she was rolled into the operating room,
She thought that some slack was way overdue.

Even though she was really in pain,
From the new scars on her legs,
A lot of people thought that she was determined,
And her hopes quickly escalated.

Two years later,
With her nerves making her chatter,
She received three envelopes in the mail--and she wanted to scream!
She was accepted to three universities.

Now 18 years have passed--already?
Since that cloudy day in February,
Even though nothing wasn't easy as flying a kite,
They always knew that she would shine.


Here' is Emily's personal statement:

This essay relates to me, since this poem is my story. I was born with cerebral palsy, and I started to walk when I was two and a half years old. My life was never a piece of cake, however I've found my way and now at 18 years old I can look back at my life with pride because I've overcome so much. I had a hard time in school because of my disability, forcing me to go into a special education class. However, I worked hard with a lot of determination over the years and now I'm going to university this Fall. I'm going to study social work, to help others and to teach them to believe in themselves, because everyone has the potential to succeed! Even though I've had hardships because of my disability, I am grateful that I have it because I wouldn't be the strong and determined person I am today.