Genesee Hill Elementary: Better Than We Are Alone 2024

In the spring of 2024, we were pleased to work with with Genesee Hill Elementary School second graders to create original poetry. This web page and our anthology of the student’s poems are the culmination of this project, where students from four classrooms worked with Jack Straw’s professional writer Vicky Edmonds to write their own poetry. Our vocal coaches Meg McLynn and Stephanie Roman helped the students prepare for their school poetry slam. This is our fifth year working with Genesee Hill Elementary students to help them create and share their poetry and build respect for each other’s experiences, and we look forward to many more.

We created an anthology of the students’ poems, Better Than We Are Alone, and shared it with everyone who participated.

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“Working with the Genesee Hill 2nd grade students and teachers has again been one of the highlights of my school year,” writes Vicky. “The children’s poems are so sincere that they become tiny sparks of light to help all of us see better. Using the poetic elements of simile, imagery, and personification, the students were able to access some of the deepest parts of themselves and use poetry as a means to see their world more clearly, to feel their gratitude for those around them, and to begin to make choices for the kinds of human beings they want to be.”

Better Than We Are Alone: Genesee Hill Elementary Poetry was produced by Genesee Hill Elementary School students and Jack Straw Cultural Center with the generous support of the Washington State Arts Commission, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Seattle Office of Arts and Culture and The Creative Advantage, and individual donors.

The Jack Straw team included writer Vicky Edmonds, vocal coaches Meg McLynn and Stephanie Roman, photographer Sherwin Eng, designer Levi Fuller, project coordinator Daniel Guenther, and Executive Director Joan Rabinowitz. Special thanks to the second graders of Genesee Hill Elementary and Genesee Hill staff. We especially want to thank 2nd grade teachers Alison Aylesworth, Danielle Jones, Renee Marroquin, and Erin Munavu, who helped make this project possible.


Portrait of Vicky Edmonds, by Katie Jennings

Vicky Edmonds

Vicky Edmonds is a poet and a teacher who uses the written and spoken word to bring the deepest and most authentic parts of ourselves to the page into the…

Meg McLynn

Meg McLynn

Meg McLynn is a Seattle-based actor, vocalist, and teaching artist who loves sharing her passion for performance with students of all ages. She is a member of the vocal…

Photo of Stephanie Roman

Stephanie Roman

Stephanie Roman (they/them) is a Mexican American actor and teaching artist based out of Seattle. Their training began at PCPA – Pacific Conservatory Theatre in California, and they later moved…