School Talk

Tulsa Elementary Students Perform “I am Excellence”

Meet these awesome sixth grade students from Sankofa Middle School in Tulsa, Oklahoma as they prepare for their Black History performance. I actually had the distinct pleasure of meeting these very same kids in September during a visit to Oklahoma and they gave me a sneak preview when they were just learning it. It is a choreographed recitation of the poem by legendary teacher and education advocate, Marva Collins. The full text of the poem is below. Something tells me that Collins would have really loved this if she were still alive to see it.





I Am Excellence

by Marva Collins

I bear the flame that enlightens the
world. I fire the imagination. I give
might to the dreams and wings to the
aspirations of men.

I create all that is good, stalwart, and
long-lasting. I build for the future by
making my every effort superior today.

I do not believe in “can’t” or
“might have been.”

When society draws a circle that will
shut me out, I will design my own circle
that will draw me in.

I am parent of progress, the creator
of creativity, the designer of opportunity,
and the molder of human destiny.

Because of me, man hold dominion
over himself, his home, his community,
and his world. I leash the lightning and
plumb the ether.

From out of the shadows of the past
I come wearing the scars of mistakes
made by others. Yet I wear wisdom
and the contributions of all ages. I dispel
yesterday’s myths and find today’s facts.
I am ageless and timeless.

I have no time for vice, crime, and
destruction. I banish mediocrity and
discourage being average. I can function
in pleasure or pain. I can steel the will
to do what must be done. Fortunate are
the individuals, communities, and
nations that know me.

Men and the world are my workshops.
Here I stir ambition, forge ideals, and cre-
ate the keys that open the door to worlds
never dreamed of. Earth awakes unfolding
to me. Life is always calling me. My
greatest success is yet to be discovered.

I am the source of creation, the outlet of
inspiration, the dream of aspiration. I
am excellence. Won’t you, too, light my
candle? Don’t let me flicker away!

What do you think?

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