“I wanted to share my feelings on what I’ve been through ‘cause you never know who might be going through the same problems that you went through.”
Ballou High School Senior Kiara Burnett, did not see herself as a “writer” before participating in The Ballou Story Project. She’s written personally, in journals, or for school, but never something quite like this. While engaging in the writing workshops for the project, an idea began to form for Kiara. This would be the moment to tell her story.
“I’m writing a monologue about my life and how I came up from the struggle of being bullied and talking about a certain eye condition I had.”
Kiara explained that she was born premature, and with an eye condition called strabismus, also known as being “cross-eyed.” As a child she often encountered mean comments from other children who didn’t understand her condition. She eventually was able to surgically correct her eye in the sixth grade, but has never forgotten the pain of the bullying she endured.
“I chose to talk about this because I care about the feelings of children. And since feelings are really important to me, I wanted to share my feelings on what I’ve been through ‘cause you never know who might be going through the same problems that you went through.”
Kiara’s personal experiences influenced her career interest in working with infants as a neonatal nurse. In addition to playing the clarinet for Ballou High School’s marching band, she also sings in the choir and helps with the young children at Rehoboth Baptist Church in Anacostia. Looking ahead to college, Kiara has set her hopes on attending North Carolina Central State University in Durham, NC this fall.
After writing for The Ballou Story Project, Kiara thinks that she may write poetry in the future or work on a children’s book about her life. Overall, Kiara is really happy that she was able to participate in The Ballou Story Project. “I really like coming here,” says Kiara. “I think the people are really nice and you get to open up your feelings in a way that you never thought you could open up your feelings before. Like, I never thought that I could talk about my story and where I come from in writing. I just kept it in my head, or talked to my family about it, but I never thought about writing about it until now.”
You can see Kiara’s words performed on stage at The Ballou Story Project, April 13 at Ballou High School.