Oakland boy to represent school in poetry contest

April 16, 2010 6:08:56 PM PDT
On Monday, an Oakland boy is going to be honored at an event that is usually reserved for international dignitaries, heads of companies, and government officials. Eleven-year-old Charles Mack will appear on the New York Stock Exchange trading floor, and it's because he is a talented writer with a big, beautiful heart.

Charles is a poet, but don't let his young age mislead you.

"Love is a thing that you can't forget, and when you find love, you can't regret. Love is here and love is there and when you don't feel it, just know it really is there. Love is sweet, love is kind, like sugar and honey, and everything fine. Like fruity and chewy, the heart is soft. There's all kinds of love, like love in your heart," said Charles as he recited lines from his poem.

That poem is appropriately called "Love."

It won Charles and a few other competing students around the nation the chance to experience the heart of New York's financial district. Charles will represent his school in the "America SCORES Poetry Slam" contest.

"I was excited," he said. "I was like going up to my friends and doing silly stuff."

The competition is sponsored by SCORES, a soccer program that incorporates poetry and writing.

Charles' mother says he is following in the footsteps of another illustrious poet -- Martin Luther King. They were born on the same day.

"They would always say he would be like Martin... he goes to church and he's into the Bible really deep so they say he is going to be a preacher or something. I know he is going to be something special," said mother Starla Mack.

His principal says Charles brings honor and inspiration to Futures Elementary in Oakland, even when life has not been that easy. His older brother was recently shot. Fortunately, he survived.

"Charles Mack and his family have endured a lot of hardship and this couldn't have happened to a more deserving child," said principal Steven Daubenspeck.

Charles loves poetry, but his real passion is math.

"When you stay in school, and you go to college, you get a good job. You could be anything you want and it's cool," he said.

He is still a kid at heart who someday dreams of becoming a professional soccer player.


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