GT Carpe Diem

Empowering student voice through the four steps to successful self-advocacy.

Student voices. How closely are we listening?


A couple years ago, Katie and 25 of her gifted peers spent a day communing in the north woods of Wisconsin during a GT Carpe Diem Workshop. As always, we took time to vent frustrations. A week later, Katie sent me this reflection. I publish it here with her permission.

Does it challenge your thinking on how we do gifted education?


Thank You for the Cages.

There was once a time

When there were no cages.


Society said I was too smart,

And led me down a sticky-sweet road

Into gleefully agreeing to be chained

To kids I didn’t know,

Who had already sewn together

Friendships and cliques

And I was an awkward, missing button.


Thank you for the cage.


It was once wonderful

To be strong and unique,

To live in my own way.


Society injected the wicked serum

Of sameness

Into the students pulsing toward middle school

I was quarantined, and stayed different.

I didn’t want the sameness

Until it was too late.

Once again alone.


Thank you for the cage.


I was once free to frolic

To play, and enjoy all things movement.


Society snapped up the kids,

All but me, the odd one out,

And sorted them like packages

Into endless rounds of sports,

Demanding and competitive.

I was thrown into the group

Of the few kids who hadn’t chosen sports

At age seven

Because I simply hadn’t wanted to.

And now it was too late.


Thank you for the cage.


I once felt the joy of difference,

Tasted the nectar of being admired and different.


My un-sameness attracted attention,

Earning me friends and enjoyment.

But my weirdness became repetitive and annoying,

An old sideshow everyone’s already seen

And moved on to the next novelty,

Leaving me alone with my new identity

And no friends.

Small ways to vent my wayward thoughts

Could not replace the companions I thought were mine.


Thank you for the cage.


I had no choice but to be alone.

But I learned to enjoy it.

I soon learned that this was acceptable.


Isolation, any weak ties to others severed,

A lone, roaming island.

I relished my freedom, my flexibility

Which so many others seemed to crave.

I accepted my lone wolf status.

Others did not.

“People are talking behind your back”.


I scraped some adequate social behavior from the bottom

Of a box of nuts and bolts,

People who had been rejected like me,

But not for my reasons,

For I was still a misfit among the forgotten.

I was restricted, and still no happier.


Because there is no one.

Because I was the one who stepped into

The cages I was given


Society, thank you for the cages.

Now I just need the keys

Probably twirling lazily on the finger

Of someone who doesn’t exist,

And not a person in the world

Will help me find it

Because I am

My own person

And all that gets me is a lot of cages.


What can we learn by reading between the lines?