What Caught Donnie's Eye
My name is Donnie Smith, and I am a Senior at Herron High School. I have been involved in many things around school including Student Council ( Achaean80), National Honor Society, Vocal Jazz, Younglife, Volleyball, Cross Country, and being chosen to represent my school in a Choral exchange in Tlaxcala, Mexico. I was tasked with finding things around the Harrison Center which spoke to me, and It felt like around every corner was a secret just waiting to be seen!
This picture is of one of the many halls of the Harrison Center, adorned with art. What spoke to me about this setup was the pristine and uniform condition of the space. I interpreted the hall as my life with all its intrinsic and complex factors being the white walls; with all the light of its history blended together; the door acts as the start of my existence as I walk into the hall and orient myself. For me, the paintings represent the vivid or impactful parts of my life that have made me who I am, where I am today. They represent the happiest memories–which range from someone complimenting me when I had been feeling down, to completely forgetting the world exists as I drown in a community so strong that I couldn't possibly be sad at summer camp. The paintings also represented the most sorrowful things that have happened to me and those around me–from my mom’s and sister’s struggles, to me being destroyed in physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional ways that coalesced to one event. The Hall overall represents me and everything I have grown and been challenged by.
A pipe going through a solid plane without a companion. A story many would feel familiar with as the next chapter in life begins. For me, the plane represents all of the expectations and pull exerted on me by those who were bringing me down the wrong path and inhibiting my growth as a person, Herron scholar, and a Christian. This represents the moment when I finally felt the force which drove me into and through these destructive and mentally incapacitating stories. It left me feeling alone and vulnerable. Like a pipe that seems to have no use, as it isn't connected to anything visible. The hole shows the growth as the next chapter begins.
As I was preparing to leave for the day and head to school (as I Intern as a class), I saw what looked and felt like a perfect representation of what I feel Langston Hughes wrote about in Mother to Son. In my brief 17, almost 18, years alive, I have seen my family barraged by many things. Throughout these trying times, the only thing that kept me going was my informal connection with God. No matter how much I struggled with, I knew I had to keep the pace because to catch up would waste breathe. The journey has been rough, and at times it felt more like a tightrope than a staircase, but at the end of the day as long as I don't stop trying, I haven't been lost yet. The light from the window shines very brightly in the picture, which wasn't intended at all, but makes sense as improvement is a constant goal of mine, and improvement of myself means being able to affect and help others.