I Am Good Vibes

Personal Narrative Essays

I AM GOOD VIBES is an anthology of personal narrative essays and one collaborative poem by the seventh-grade students of Washington Heights Academy. The title comes from a warm-up activity wherein all students participated in completing the prompts, “I am…,” “I was…,” “I’m afraid…,” and “I hope…” thus illustrating their hopes and fears and examining who they were and who they are now. Their collaborative efforts formed one of the poem lines published here, “I am good vibes.”

Click on image to read full anthology!

For ten days, students honed their writing skills in preparation for the college application essay. They learned about sensory language, paragraph structure, delicious details, important moments, values, reflection, audience, and voice. The students examined the poetry of Renée Watson. They viewed an animated essay from StoryCorps. They listened to a performed personal narrative from The Moth and analyzed sample college essays from Johns Hopkins University. Each author and artist studied served as inspiration for students to create their own personal narratives using imaginative language and their own experiences. The essayists of Washington Heights Academy discussed poetry with sophistication and responded to writing samples with complex reflections and individuality. Art in its many forms spoke to the students – this is evident in their brave and vibrant personal narrative essays.

In this anthology, you will find one collaborative poem – “I Am Good Vibes” (mentioned earlier). Working individually, each student developed their essay by defining their core values and identifying an important life moment wherein they recall utilizing those values. They expanded upon their essays through reflection and analysis, taking time to discover what they have learned from their experiences and how they might have changed. Every student challenged themselves to step out of their comfort zones and push past what they initially thought they could achieve.

This anthology would not have been possible without the relentless commitment of all the teachers. Thank you, Ms. Herndon, Ms. Darabos, Ms. Filpo, and Mr. Estrella, for helping us bring out the essayists in these young writers. This collection is a testament to what is possible when there is inspired collaboration amongst dedicated teachers.

Reflection and introspection, voice and self-definition, these are the skills the students developed during my time with them. Being able to define who we are and how we respond to and live in the world are timeless and powerful skills that will continue to support these students in their development of voice and growth of self. I could not be prouder of their work and dedication.

Samantha Thomson LoCoco, Teaching Artist

Featured Writing

I Am Good Vibes (excerpt)
A Collaborative Poem by the 7th-Grade Students of Washington Height Academy

I hope…
to become a dentist when I grow up,
a basketball player,
a chiropractor, a chef, an engineer
a successful, confident person
I hope…
to own my own cooking business
that I make it to the NBA
that I’m successful with my music
or in neurosurgery,
neurology or cardiology
I hope…
that my Day 1s don’t switch up on me
that I don’t fail the grade
that I go to a good high school
and pass the state test
then get into a good college
I hope…
I become a billionaire
and have a nice future
and find a good career
maybe my family could win the lotto
I hope…
I get what I want in life
to travel the world
to be dedicated
to achieve my goals
I hope…
to grow up
that I don’t die at age 25
that I resolve my issues
and leave bad people
or get new friends
I hope…
I get new shoes
or a new X-Box controller
that I can buy a house, food, and clothes
that I will be able to support my family –
especially my grandma
I hope…
I can make my family proud of me
that I reach my dreams
of being something great one day
and to live a long, happy life
I hope…


Teachers & Writers Magazine is published by Teachers & Writers Collaborative as a resource for teaching the art of writing to people of all ages. The online magazine presents a wide range of ideas and approaches, as well as lively explorations of T&W’s mission to celebrate the imagination and create greater equity in and through the literary arts.