A young Bronxite whose poem was published in a national children’s magazine hopes to inspire others to follow their dreams.
Samantha Oyola, 12, a 7th grader at Bronx Studio for Writers and Artists, enjoys creating arts and crafts and dancing as well as writing poems, short stories and plays for school and in her spare time.
The daughter of David and Susan Oyola, Samantha, had her poem, ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’ published in the March 2015 issue of the national children’s magazine, ‘Highlights’ appearing in its ‘Your Own Pages’ section along with other children’s poetry and artwork from around the nation.
“We thought she did a great job on this poem in capturing her relationship with her father using playful and colorful language,” said Judy Burke, Highlights editor.
“It felt very genuine for a 12-year old’s poem and she was having fun writing about how special their relationship is to her,” she added.
According to Susan, they received a letter from the publication congratulating Samantha, along with three copies of the March 2015 issue featuring her work.
“I was very surprised to see my poem in this magazine and now people can read about me and my experiences,” shared Samantha, a Soundview resident.
Susan explained Samantha has family spread out from Hawaii to Florida and due to this geographical gulf she uploaded a photo to Facebook of Samantha’s poem for all of her family to see.
“When her family saw her poem was published in Highlights, they were so proud of her.” said Susan. “Her grandmother has been telling everyone about this.”
Burke explained the magazine’s ‘Your Own Pages’ features selected representatives of children’s poems and drawings which can inspire their young readers’ creativity. They receive more than 35,000 submissions each year.
“When children read poems such as Samantha’s ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’, they can be inspired to write about someone who is very special to them in their own lives,” Burke added.
Samantha said she became interested in writing from attending P.S. 93 and BSWA and is inspired by certain events and the people she has met in her life.
“We learned in class that poetry describes character and feeling and it was my desire to create a poem about my dad and how special he is to me,” she said.
Nadine Johnson, Samantha’s 5th grade teacher from P.S. 93, served as a mentor for the poet-in-the-making by inspiring her creativity as well as offering constructive criticism to improve, and was given a copy of the magazine as a sign of gratitude.
In addition to ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’, Samantha wrote a poem called ‘Lady Bug Love’ symbolizing how anyone can find love and read it at her elementary school’s Poetry Cafe section of their library as it was broadcast throughout the classrooms.
She cites Jeff Kinney, author of ‘Diary of a Wimpy Kid’; Raina Telgemeier, author of ‘Sisters’, ‘Smile’ and ‘Drama’ and Rachel Renée Russell, author of the number one New York Times best selling book series, ‘Dork Diaries’ as her favorite writers because of how each uniquely captures their own experience of growing up.
Samantha dreams of one day becoming either a choreographer or a publisher.
Interestingly, she explained her favorite family of modern dance is interpretive dancing because it tells a story and like reading a book, the performer and the audience get to experience it as it is happening.
She hopes to attend LaGuardia High School and eventually Long Island University to further her dance knowledge.
“Samantha is developing into a very mature young lady and I’ve seen a huge improvement in her schoolwork and in her wanting to help people,” said Susan.