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Out of a Crisis: The Voices of Our Students

Silence creeps through classrooms that are stuck — frozen in time

Boston’s Youth Poet Laureate on the city’s devastating educational losses

Erin Roth

“Out of a Crisis: The Voices of Our Students” is a new series, launched by the Globe’s Great Divide team, that publishes student essays, poems, artwork, and videos featuring teenage perspectives on learning and living amid a pandemic. The stories are published in the Great Divide newsletter.

About the author: Alondra Bobadilla, 18, is a senior at Fenway High School. Listen to Bobadilla read the poem:

from now to maybe

a forlorn silence creeps through school hallways,

the classrooms encapsulated in time,

remnants of the students scattered,

books and bags never collected

lockers cracked open, unattended.


the last moments replay,

students avoiding each other’s touch along with gaze,

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nostalgia pouring into the hearts,

cups full to the brim,

promises of return are grim.


no one wants to speak the knowledge shared by the collective.

no one is coming back come September.

the voices of children’s laughter will not be heard,

nor the scribble of pencil tip,

nor the hush of a librarian,

and now as the future has become the present,

this bitter reality we swallow like syrup,

has shadowed over our joy.


young men and women who have dedicated their struggles to their studies,

young men and women who would be the first in their family,

young men and women who once contemplated suicide but have triumphed over their hardships,

young men and women who have maintained a perfect track record,

young men and women who dropped out, came back, maybe left again but have gotten this far,

all these stories are piecing together like a mosaic,

a flag on half staff.


saying it all has a purpose,

hurts the soul as the idea of walking on

a virtual stage sours the mood,

and plans to go abroad are still air,

for though it may have meaning,

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the fog between today and tomorrow is thick

and plans are temptations leading only to hopelessness.


tell me when the class is back in session

and the boards are riddled with equations,

and the halls packed with youthful delight.

call me when the bell is ringing

and the world has returned to our created meaning,

of production and sustainability the song i have

written on my skin and now we wonder if

any of the years were worth it when the systems

that once functioned to a slim are now

silently collapsing to the ground.