"Where I'm From" Poems by Ferrum College Students

Appalachian Cluster, Ferrum College

and Team Estonoa students in St. Paul, VA

Spring 2009 and 2010

You can read George Ella Lyon's poem "Where I'm From" on her web site, and listen to her read it. She was inspired by another great Appalachian writer, Jo Carson, and the people in her book of poems Stories I Ain't Told Nobody Yet. Lyon's web site provides ideas for using this poem to inspire your own writing, and links to poems and videos by students in different places.

The poems below were written by students at Ferrum College. In the Appalachian Cluster every spring, the same group of students (mostly freshmen) take Environmental Science 110, Sociology 101, and English 102 or 207 together, with a focus on studying modernizaton in Appalachia. On the 2009 field trip, they shared poems with students at Hurley High School, VA. In April 2010 they took their own poems to students at the award-winning Wetlands Estonoa, St. Paul High School, St. Paul, VA. Excerpts from "Where I'm From" poems by cluster students and some from Dr. Rathin Basu's Business Communications class were presented at the Appalachian College Association Summit in October 2009 (see pdf copy of one PowerPoint slide at this link).

Where I am from…

By Valerie Peters

I am from a breakfast
Where the bacon and sausage
Was previously raised in the backyard
And the scrambled or sometimes fried eggs
Had just been gathered earlier in the week
And homemade biscuits, not from a can
And isn’t complete without a glass of sweet tea, the southern style

I am from a family
Dad that feeds all the domestic animals
And hunts wildlife for our own consumption
Mom who works her 7-3 management job
And cleans, does laundry, and prepares the meals
Two brothers, Michael and Matthew, to wrestle with usually against my will
To play games with or whatnot in our empty time
Them making me into what I am today
Grandparents that have been through a lot, but never letting it show
And their still continue to move forward attitude
I, myself, feeling closer to them than to my own mother and father

I am from the beautiful southwestern Virginia
Where no matter what direction you look toward
It’s just as amazing as the other
Where during the fall the leaves change color
And drop from the trees creating an array of beauty
Taking drives along the Blue Ridge Parkway
Just to stop and take in the glory
Or play a game of Frisbee
A town so small that gossip goes around
And is changed person to person
Where there is always someone in your business
From the waterfall, where we would skip school
To be astonished by the movement of water
A place we created “On top of the World” being,
Not only a housing development but at the very top of the hill
You can look out at what stretches around the county

I am from
A place that no matter how hard one tries,
They can never take it away from ME
Because it has grown to be a part of who I am
And that cannot be erased.

I am from Carroll County, Virginia.

English 102, 2009

I’m from Home

By Valerie Bandell

I’m from a small town
between the hustle and bustle
where neighbors are like family.

I’m from skimmed knees,
jumping fencings, and
water sprinklers.

I’m from a purple mini-van,
soccer practice, dance practice,
girl scouts and music lessons.

I am from sisterhood
yellow and blue,
gold and onyx.

I’m from Frisbee discs,
lightening bugs, and
sleeping bags.

I’m from family dinners,
hiding vegetables, wet noses,
and wagging tails.

I’m from friends that are family,
and family that are friends.

I’m from home and their ain’t no place
I’d rather be.

English 102, 2009

Where I’m From

By Joshua Camden

I’m from the land that was magnificently carved by the ancient flowing waters.

I’m from an area that has a natural wonder of the world.

I’m from the area where you can climb in the devils marble yard

I’m from an area where you spend your hot days relaxing in the straw pond

I’m from the area where I had to spend my summer mornings working hard for a group of guys that I loved.

I’m from a home where grandma loved to cook all the good ole foods

English 102, 2009


Where We've Been Today

April 10, 2010

Where we have been people greet you with a hug and a meal.

Where I've been today the native tongue tells the name of a place where the water is placid and there is life all around.

Where I've been the sun shines over water and people work in harmony.

Where I've been I saw that the students play a big part in changing their environment.

Where I've been the hosts are welcoming and the gardens sprawling.

Where I've been I had no cell phone service; where I've been people are making a change.

Where I have been students are the teachers.

I went to a place where the mulch turns your hands black.

Where I've been wonderful greetings have never ended! As we pass by mountainsides, if you listen you can almost hear them cry.

Where I've been the lilies cover the water's surface and the mulch protects sacred ground.

Where I've been is to a place that not only encourages success but demands perfection.

Where I have been is a place where the lily pads dominate.

Where I've been is a place with dedicated students who are inspired to save their community and made a difference in the world.

Where I've been today, the money is low but the morals are high.

Where I've been I've seen an inspiring group of high school students who work collectively for a greater purpose and the protection and conservation of the Estonoa.

Where I've been today, I've met people that changed my life and gave me a sense of hope.

I've been to where the wetlands support not only the morale of just a school but an entire community.

I have been where the sound of a stream put me to sleep.

Where I've been I have seen a human passion meet God's wonder and beauty in every green mile.

I have been to where the lily-pad-covered pond has the beautiful sound of peeping frogs playing around it.

I have been where our students amaze me, and where inspiration resides.

I've been to a place where the students taught me to eat violets.

Today I've been into black mulch; lucious fruity cake; tiny green leaves; and tie-died, talented students who work wonders at their wetlands.


Where I am from is a city to the country where the people are friendly and it's OK to say hello.

Where I'm from the rednecks really don't live on a farm.

Where I'm from the lily pads burp.

I'm from a place where my best friends play; where I've been is the past yet I get to see the future.

Where I'm from you can hear the peepers peep and crickets chirp.

I'm from where nature sings.


Written by members of the Ferrum College Appalachian Cluster:

Roseanne Ajavon
Cecil Carter
Josh Collins
Zack Divers
Marshall Gibson
Tina L. Hanlon
Chris Higginbotham
Kate Hylton
Leah Irby
John Kwarteng
Susan Virginia Mead
Clare Matthews
Ashley Norton
Peter Psihas
Michael Quinn
Lindsey Shelton
Brittaney Shifflett
Rachel Shumaker
Erika Stinnett
Matt Sundeen
Carolyn Thomas

AND members of Team Estonoa at St. Paul High School:

Skyler Campbell
Allison Caudill
Austin McCoy
Jamie Salyer
Ashley Slate
Terry Vencil

Written at the Wetlands Estonoa Learning Center, St. Paul, Virginia, during the Ferrum College Appalachian Cluster field trip, 2010 (photos below by Tina L. Hanlon). Before visiting the beautiful, restored, award-winning wetlands in St. Paul, we saw the ravages of mountaintop removal at Black Mountain, near Pound, Virginia.
Estonoa Wetlands 2010 Estonoa Wetlands Dock


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This page created 3/24/10   |   Top of Page   |   Site Index   |   Last update 10/20/14

AppLit Fiction and Poems Index
Complete list of AppLit pages on Poetry
Bibliography of Books by George Ella Lyon
Index of Student Writing and Illustration in AppLit Pages
Links to other online texts


Contact Tina L. Hanlon with questions or comments on this page.