The 2017 Poet Laureate is Rozalyn Wingate. Her poem is titled "The Arrival of the Fittest."

Thank you for your survival

and now that we are here

at your arrival,

I would like to show you how

vital your strength was

in a four-year cycle.



to the ones who had nowhere to sleep, nothing to eat, 

but made it to the bus stop every morning–

same shirt, pants, and shoes on their feet.

To the ones who watch their friends be buried from

gunshots wounds, before you knew how chemistry worked

your friend decomposed in front of you.

to the ones whose parents decided to walk away, leaving

You are torn on the inside yet you managed to show the 

Bulldog your wholeness every day

to the ones who spent the first year of high school

battling suicide ‘cause you decided no one cared enough

so you would die.


To the ones who spent days in and out of heartbreak

‘cause just when you thought life was looking up. you

were looked down upon by heartache

the first year, the first cycle. you managed to save your

own life. managed to keep going, to keep pushing. to 

make sure you survived.



Being able to continue getting up

just to make it to Mr. Tremaine’s room by 8:25 because he 

pushed you to your potential and he would never let up.

Just to be able it to Ms. Reaguer ‘cause you knew 

she’d show you love

and have gym fourth block,

‘cause running up and down the court helped you clear

your mind and stop thinking of the fact that the lights

had been cut off or that tomorrow the rent was due.

you knew at 8:25 you had an escape & a place for you to

run to.

knew that behind Bulldog PRIDE

you were safe and that this Bulldog never strayed

even when you didn’t have hot water in your own home,

Dunbar had a flame that kept you safe.

or two,

for those of you, who never battled with poverty, but

friendships fell apart and keeping a balance GPA

was those of you


trying to learn exactly who you are

while the world tears at your identity

Dunbar protected your heart

or those of you with scars

trying to keep a facade you were not sure would last 

the pressure of being perfect, center stage

yet you managed to let the past go

and create your own path



almost relieved 

but still stressed ‘cause of the test

but knowing that you were blessed because you always 

tried your best.

so whether your score a 16

or 36 on the scale,

you knew that there was no test nowhere in hell

that could assure you about yourself.

You were ready to fly then

but you still had a little time.

 tick tock

bye, junior year

now we have finally arrived.






Thank you for your arrival.

showing us that we could survive

life and still be successful,

you’re the end of our tight rope.



look to your left and right

see yourselves in each other’s eyes.

realize that together we help each other make it.

we kept each other alive.

always remember what these halls gave you.

remember to bark. when you get a chance to as well.

this is more than the day you graduate.

 so thank you for your survival

and now we are here at your arrival

I have shown you how vital your strength

was in a four-year cycle.

this is the arrival of the fittest.


-Rozalyn Wingate

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