"Poetry became “the light that saved me.” Words suddenly took on individual forms and shapes to create visual spectacles beyond what I would see everyday during the few hours every week that our Poet-Teacher, John Oliver Simon, dedicated to our third grade classroom. All the experiences that seemed to stay shut in my mouth now had a way to escape. Unlike other days in class where there always seemed to be an order to things or an expected answer to everything, during time in class with our Poet-Teacher Mr. Simon, answers multiplied by the minute. Eleven years later and as a sophomore in college the memories of those classes still remain."
- Carmen Jimenez, All City Council Student Director '14-'15, Oakland Unified School District, Oakland, CA