2020 Student Essay Contest: Grades 9-12 Honorable Mention

Numbers and Expressions that Dance in the Sky and Kiss Your Lips

by Savannah Mercedes Hernandez (Marietta High School)

Interviewee: Tynisha Robinson (Marietta City Schools)

During a cold winter’s night in Mount Vernon, NY, a mother and her three young daughters walked down an icy road to nowhere as snowflakes danced in the sky and kissed their lips. The setting was a still, snowy night in the early 1980s, but the storyline was not as beautiful as the picturesque surroundings. The family was on the move after being kicked out of the house they shared with several other family members. Tynisha, the youngest of the girls at age five, was excited about the idea of moving, not realizing she and her family were homeless. She did not understand the gravity of the situation as she tugged on the black garbage bag in the snow that contained all of her earthly possessions. It was not long before a cab driver pulled up next to the crying, exhausted mother and girls and asked, “Lady, where are you going with these kids in this weather?” When the mother was unable to muster a response, the cabbie saw the despair and took the family to a motel that allowed weekly rentals. For three months, the young girls were forced to be quiet in that tiny motel room while their mother went to work. They were not able to laugh, play, or go to school. Tynisha’s older sister was the teacher, and the girls practiced math problems and read books checked out from the library.