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A+SEL, Representation, School to Home, Student Engagement

Doba: Finding Her Voice


For school, Doba has to write about something meaningful to her—but what? She decides to share a part of her family history that has made its way down the family tree.

Doba: Finding Her Voice

If I can sing it, I can remember it. I’ve always thought to myself, If only I could sing the whole periodic table of elements, maybe then I could remember it better. My mom says singing and playing guitar is my superpower. I can learn a new song after hearing it only a few times, and I guess she’s right.

“Well you didn’t get it from me,” Mom said laughing, pointing in Grandma’s direction. Everyone says that Grandma is the reason I have a voice. She’s the one who noticed me humming while playing in the backyard, blowing into blades of grass and drumming on my lap.

“Your voice is like the water,” she would say. “Steady as a stream.”

It’s true that Grandma was the first person to give me a guitar, and I’ve always heard stories about her playing with her father. Mostly when I play these days, she sits by me and corrects my fingers on the bridge.

“It’s about feeling,” I said as she moved my fingers into a more curved position. “Not perfection.”

“It’s about listening to your grandmother,” she said with a sly smile, patting me on the head.


For school, we’re supposed to write a short story about something that’s meaningful to us. The more I thought about it, the more I wanted to write about playing guitar for my grandmother. I wondered if anyone else practices at home and gets corrected by their family members too.

After dinner I sat upstairs on my bed and wrote about my feelings of pride and how it hurts sometimes to be corrected, even though I know my grandma wants the best for me. I closed my eyes and laid down on the bed, letting out a sigh.

I started imagining Grandma’s hands playing my guitar. I imagined her father seated behind her, correcting her hands and patting her head.

I started to smile. I knew exactly what to write! I flipped over, grabbed my notebook, and wrote about generations of guitar players all trying their best.

The next day, I found out that some of my classmates wrote about their musical families too! It was cool to learn that music is important to so many people.


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