Students Speak: Spoken Word

At Future Design School, we believe that when you cultivate opportunities for students to have choice and voice in their learning, remarkable creativity shines through! 

In this very challenging and unsettling year, we wanted to share some expressions of creativity that are insightful, on point and inspirational in this moment.

These students were encouraged through a spoken word poetry opportunity to pick their own area of focus and tell the story of what was on their minds.

These poems provide hope and guidance to us as adults — to hear the power of youth voices  the ones that can truly help us in the darkest moments.

Thank you to 10th Graders, Ashley K. and Olivia N. for the permission to share their poetry.

Silver Linings 

We watch our calendars wind down 

As another year comes to a close. 

A year unlike any year before, 

A year for the history books. 

A sigh of relief washing over us,

As we wipe our slate clean

And attempt to put the past in the past.

Throwing headlines like “raging wildfires” and “global pandemic”

Under the covers 

And tucking them in for a goodnight sleep. 

They tell us to appreciate every moment

That we should learn from our mistakes. 

Wake up world!

It’s time to mess up the bed. 

Don’t go tucking in the memories of the past 

And pretend like they never happened.

A “lost year they say”, 

But this year was anything but lost 

It was found. 

WE persevered. 

WE overcame obstacles, never seen before. 

WE adapted. 

Changed our lives by the days, hours, minutes, seconds. 

Did our best to understand the messages they were trying to send

Flipped our TVs between CNN, Fox, CTV

Just like we flipped the pages in our textbooks looking for the answers

That never truly came. 

Put trust in our governments, 

As we battled uncharted waters together. 

Exploring the unexplored. 

In the depths of a never ending ocean. 

We both know

What we found wasn’t always pretty.

But heroes emerged

Protecting us from our worst nightmares.

Frontline healthcare workers and essential workers, 

Making sure we had people to lean on, 

When our entire world was shaky

Provided us with the facts. 

Wear your mask, they said

And Canada listened to it, lectured it and learned it.

Backstage, scientists working tirelessly to come up with a vaccine.

And while we were all fed up with restrictions, 

Our grandparents sat alone in long term care facilities

Fighting for their lives

So yes, you can wait another month to hug your friend. 

Parts of our world,

bursting into flames. 

Yes! “this world is on fire” 

And now we’re all on fire,

Aware of climate change,

Trying to pick up the pieces of the generations before us. 

And so we rushed to clean it up. 

Firefighters putting themselves in danger

For the safety of others. 

Smoke filling their eyes,

As we cried to bring them home to their families. 

This too shall pass. 

Summers, unusual, but unique

Allowed teenagers to 

slow down, connect, socialize in new ways 

As our technology advanced, our behaviours went back in time

City parks flocked with youngsters, eager to appreciate.

A blessing disguised as a curse,

When times seemed to be changing for the worse

Our teachers

Zooooooomed to keep us engaged.

Stickhandling through online learning 

We became self-starters,

Self motivators, self-appreciaters. 

And there were sleepless nights. 

Nights of 2am tears, 

And nights where all hope was lost. 

But there were also nights,

Where we took an extra moment to look at the beaming stars,

And we sat outside with our friends,

6ft apart, but closer than ever. 

So as we continue to watch the days wind down, 

We reflect on what this year was 

And what it wasn’t. 

2020 wasn’t a gold medal type of year. 

But if we look closely, 

Really look closely, 

We can start to notice the silver linings. 

Gen Z

We grew up watching Dora the Explorer 

Trading elastic bands at recess

Battling BeyBlades and trading hockey cards

We grew up reading Harry Potter. 

Am I a “ Ravenclaw, Slytherin, Hufflepuff or Gryffindor” 

We looked up to people like,  

Harry Styles, Arianna Grande 

Taylor Swift and Kobe. 

Our parents tell us we were raised right. 

Ok Boomer. Settle down

Are you listening X? Well listen to us now!

We don’t pretend to know everything but we know enough,

To separate science from ignorance like facts from cute memes.

We are paying the price for decisions of the generations, so it seems

We were lied to.

Told that the phones you bought us melt our brains

You told us that Google makes us stupid.

Are you cruel? 

We WERE only just human 

Our Phones empower us 

The world at our fingertips. 

Tik Tok unites us 

We connect to others in ways that you never could.

Since when has communicating ever made the world worse?

Gen Z.

You named us. But you didn’t even try to come up with something that DEFINED us. 

Call us Gen D because we will make a Difference


Call us Gen C because we understand Climate Change 

Call us Gen M because we wear a mask without complaint, 

And not for ourselves but for YOU  

Call us Gen R… coming to RESCUE our community 

Call us Gen U because we UNDERSTOOD things

Like racism, sexism, homophobia before we hit puberty. 

Anything but the last letter of the alphabet, a letter that is forgotten like the dream we had on equality. 

When a man with 16 sexual assault allegations against women became president 

We were mad. We had no vote. 

So we’ve traded our hockey cards and BeyBlades for placards and a voice.

We are willing to protest. 

George Floyd wasn't our wake up call. It was yours.

And you hit snooze too many times.


Breonna Taylor.

Say her name, already.

No charge? You’re still asleep.

But Gen Z is woke

When we thought it couldn’t get worse 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg died and now we fear 

She opened doors

We refuse to close again 

She protected us 

Made us feel powerful

Heroes, pioneers, ground breakers leaving us.

Who will step up?

Olya. Malala. Greta.

The new Notorious – O.M.G

Powerful. Righteous. Knowledgeable. Empathetic.

Those are the words we should use to describe our generation 

Get ready to move over Boomer,

And take a seat X. 

In 2 years we can start to vote. 

And then we can start cleaning up this mess.

Student's Speak is an ongoing series on the Future Design School blog, highlighting the powerful insights of today's youth. We are always looking to feature new perspectives ! Please contact us at, subject line: Student's Speak Submission to make your voice heard!

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