Naomi Shihab Nye, poet. Photo by Al Rendon
Naomi Shihab Nye, poet. Photo by Al Rendon

Education has become more oriented toward measurable results and statistics in the last couple of decades, but some of us who were working with kids in schools locally remember the glories of being involved with children on a regular basis.

I meet kids that say they’ve never had an invitation to write down their thoughts. They’ve never had an opportunity to write something kind of crazy and imaginative while they’re in school. You just think about how simple it is to do that, how little time it takes, how sad it is that children are often denied a really basic experience with language.

I would hope that this city with all of its great agencies like Say Sí and Gemini Ink, all the different campuses that recognize the importance of imaginative, creative work would work to keep that spirit alive in our kids. When I read about all these great young people with terrific projects locally, engaging the community in all their different venues, that’s very exciting. I would hope schools would continue to invite artists in whatever any ways they can. It matters as much as it ever did – children, young people having a sense of their own voices is the most critical gift we can give them.

— Naomi Shihab Nye

Al Rendon is San Antonio’s photographer, born and raised here and known for iconic photographs of the city and its culture. Al is an active Southtown gallery owner as well as an art and commercial photographer. Check out more of his work at

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