A published poet at 12: `What's Going On?'

NEIGHBORS

May 29, 2002|By Heather Tepe | Heather Tepe,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

TWELVE-YEAR-old Connor Cooper is enjoying his status as a published poet.

The Clarksville Middle School youth's poem "What's Going On?" has been published in a national pediatricians' newsletter, Pediatric News, and in a collection of poetry titled United We Stand, which was produced by Clarksville Middle School pupils. His poem has also been selected for inclusion in the Young American Poetry Digest and A Celebration of Poets.

His poem began as an assignment in English teacher Debbi Holihan's sixth-grade class.

"My poem is about September 11 and how I felt the day that it happened," Connor said.

Connor's poem reflects the confusion and fear that he and his classmates felt on the day of the terrorist attacks. The class began working on the assignment Sept. 12.

"A lot of kids were going home early. I had no clue what they were leaving for," he said. "They told us during lunch that something had happened, but they didn't say what it was. Everyone kept talking about stuff blowing up."

Connor said that he did not find out what happened until he got home from school. "My mom had the TV on. She was sad, and she seemed kind of scared," he said.

Connor lives in Clarksville with his parents, Stewart and Becky Cooper, and his older brother, Duncan.

"It's such a simple poem, but it really touched me," Becky Cooper said. "It's from the heart of a kid who didn't know what was happening and didn't understand."

"What's Going On?"

by Connor Cooper

What's going on?

I don't really know.

Will the school be bombed?

I don't think so.

I wonder who did it?

Nobody knows.

Will any more happen?

I'm hoping no.

What's going on?

I don't really know.

What's going on?

We don't know.

Did a plane crash?

Maybe so.

Was the Pentagon hit?

Hope no.

How many died?

No one knows.

What's going on?

We just don't know.

Century ride

On May 19, Wilde Lake resident Kay Thomas-Collins pedaled 100 miles through the desert highlands of Santa Fe, N.M., to raise funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) through its Team in Training program.

From February through the beginning of May, Thomas-Collins, along with the other members of the Maryland chapter team, trained with coach Larry Dieren of Millersville. In exchange for the free training, team members pledged to raise $3,800 for LLS.

Thomas-Collins, 51, said the Team in Training group started with the goal of biking 30 miles the first week. By the end of training, team members were to put in 100 miles a week.

"Every other day we needed to put some miles on our bikes," Thomas-Collins said. "This was to put us in shape. You had to ride as much as you can."

Thomas-Collins said she was inspired by her husband, Marc Collins, to attempt her first marathon ride. "He'd been doing century rides, and I decided I wanted to do one, too," Thomas-Collins said. The couple has been married for 15 years.

Thomas-Collins participated in her first century ride on Maryland's Eastern Shore last fall. "I did it. I finished it, and I felt real good about it. I decided I wanted to do another one for charity," she said.

The ride in New Mexico began at 6 a.m. with the temperature about 40 degrees. By mid-day, Thomas-Collins said, the temperature had soared to 90 degrees. Dodging tumbleweeds that rolled across the highway, Thomas-Collins battled the heat and hills along the course to finish at 4:30 p.m.

"These weren't easy hills," Thomas-Collins said. "There were miles of hills. Sometimes you're going up for, like, five miles. You have to keep in mind that the way to get to the finish is to keep pedaling. That's what got me there."

In October, Thomas-Collins plans to participate in another century ride for LLS.

To make a donation in support of her ride: the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, 8600 LaSalle Road, Chester Building, Suite 314, Baltimore 21286-2011.

Umbrella exhibition

The Columbia Association's Art Center seeks young artists, ages 6 to 17, to decorate umbrellas using the theme "United We Stand Under One Umbrella," for display during Columbia's International Day on July 27.

Young artists will use a golf umbrella as a canvas to express the theme, using paint and waterproof materials. The umbrellas will be judged by a panel of professional artists based on originality, composition and theme interpretation. Winners will receive a ribbon and be mentioned in CA Monthly.

For an entry form: Columbia Association Art Center, 410-730-0075.

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