Pain, purpose and passion: Clinton College students explore all in new book

“It started as a beautiful bond, but ended up as shattered glass.”

Those are the first words to Clinton College sophomore Tamia Tucker’s poem “A Broken Bond.” Her piece is featured in a book compilation of poems and short stories written by the Rock Hill college students that highlight pain, passion and purpose.

“Shattered Glass: A Generation Explains” explores the pain young adults have gone through, their inspiration to fulfill their goals, and dreams and their passions in life.

Tucker, 20, said the poem reflects her experience with relationships that have become too broken to fix. Tucker said she has had friendships start out well but become broken beyond repair for different reasons.

Tucker is a New Jersey native who now lives in Charlotte. She is studying communications at Clinton and hopes to work in journalism.

“Shattered Glass” is a project from the Every Day C.O.A.C.H.E.S. program that children’s author Kimberly Johnson started at Clinton last year. The program aims to help students pursue their goals and focus on personal and career development.

“We’re testing them to death, but we don’t dig into them and find these other great capacities they have,” said Johnson, author of “No Fear For Freedom: The Story of the Friendship 9.” “We found out that our students had these incredible desires and hopes for the future but no one had tapped into that because they were looking for numbers and data.”

Clinton College students will attend a book launch Monday with Erin Gruwell, the California teacher who inspired the 2007 award-winning movie “Freedom Writers.”

“We have the power to impact the lives of our young people,” Johnson said in a statement. “Erin Gruwell, from the Freedom Writers, understands that our commitment, as educators, is an ongoing process. Having her come and see the work that we’re doing here at Clinton College will further inspire our students to reach for their own levels of success.”

Sophomore Zumari Strickland, 19, said he hopes his piece “Hidden Trophies” will inspire others. Born in Virginia, Strickland comes from a family of 12 and has faced depression and other challenges. Strickland is a business major at Clinton and hopes to own a record label.

“My story is a story of motivation and inspiration,” Strickland said. “I want to inspire people who may have came from similar situations as myself and give them the hope that they can do better, that they can make it out.”

Strickland’s piece reads: “We are all recipients of a variety of hidden trophies. Some are painful and some are powerful. Perhaps we should focus more on the ones that can be powerful...”

Clinton senior Irving Peay, 22, said his piece “Be True to Yourself” is one of a few in the book that is inspired by his challenges growing up in a broken family and trying to live life without limits.

“We as people try to fit in where we don’t belong and doing things we have no business doing, just to feel some type of acceptance and still feel anything after,” the piece reads.

“Shattered Glass: A Generation Explains” is available for purchase at A percentage of the proceeds support Clinton College student scholarships, Johnson said.

“It’s a good book for people who are going through shadows in life and need to come out,” Tucker said. “It’s a good inspiration.”

Book Launch

What: Clinton College “Shattered Glass: A Generation Explains” book launch

When: 6:30 p.m. Oct. 1

Where: Center for the Arts, 121 E. Main St., Rock Hill

Amanda Harris: 803-329-4082; @amanda_d_harris
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