Inspiring People

National Scholastic Art and Writing Gold Medal Recipient, Internet Publisher and 8th grader, Gussie Roc

Gussie Roc

Gussie Roc is the publisher of the weekly ezine, The Gussie Gazzette, a publication which promotes social responsibility and celebrates cultural endeavors.

Gussie is an accomplished writer, poet and viola player. She is also active in her community. She volunteers with Ubuntu Education Fund and Saint Charles Jubilee Senior Center.

Gussie lives in New York City with her mom, her dad, her dog and her cat.

I will admit, right up front, that when it comes to Gussie Roc, I am not objective. As her mother, of course I think she is wonderful but I can’t help but suspect that even if we had only just met, I would still find Gussie to be as witty and interesting and fun and funny and good and kind as I do each and every day. She is a gem and I am lucky.

DR: Tell me about your life.

GR: I am fourteen years old. I'm an eighth grader. I live in New York City. I just started fundraising with one of my friends for Aids Walk, specifically to benefit Ubuntu Education Fund. This is our second year fundraising for Aids Walk. Together, last year, we raised over $2,000 dollars and we're trying to top that this year.

The school year is coming to an end and this summer I'm going to Interlochen Arts Camp in Michigan for my fourth year. I play viola there.

Next year I'm starting high school and I'm excited for that.

Time flies...


For 86 years, Scholastic Art & Writing Awards have been the preeminent showcase of student creativity. Famous artists and writers like Richard Avedon, Mel Bochner, Truman Capote, Bernard Malamuud, Joyce Carol Oates, Tom Otterness, Zac Posen, Sylvia Plath, Robert Redford, Andy Warhol, and numerous others were recognized as teenagers. By winning a national award, you have demonstrated that you are an accomplished young writer and that you have the potential to do great things, no matter what profession you pursue. – Alliance for Young Writers and Artists

The word hung in the air...
by Gussie Roc

The word hung in the air
like a lost paper sailing
ever so gently
through the wind

And it glided past the man in the bowler hat
and it flew through the window
and it landed
smack-dab in the middle of my page

But the word was written wrong
and it would not erase
And a flock of adjectives
and nouns flew in on a cloud

And then the verbs flew by
And they danced around
and dangled on the lines
until they tumbled.

Each word fell one by one
and landed dramatically
at the
of the page.

And they twitched and gasped
until I picked them up
each delicately
and admired them and cradled them

And I placed them each
in their rightful place
and they took a deep breath
and relaxed

except for one

It squirmed and jumped and leaped
and wiggled and couldn't find its rightful spot
so I picked it up
and blew it out the window

And it sailed away
off on some exotic journey
I would never really know about
because it never really existed

The poem was folded
carefully four times
and the words went to sleep

And I held it in my hand
and blew it out the window.


He called himself a champion...
by Gussie Roc

He called himself a champion
of the human race
and people pretended they
knew what he was talking about

And he waltzed around
fashioning an imperial crown

And one day when he looked up
and saw the crescent-shaped moon
he demanded that it be removed from the sky
for he didn't like the thought of
something looking down on him

So the townspeople worked day and night
and removed the moon from the sky
and locked it up in a cage
and sent it far away

And when the next night rolled around
and he looked up at the sky
there was no moon
and he realized that darkness surrounded him
and sadness and silence

And when he realized
that when, at night, he would now look up
and there would be no crescent moon
he took off his imperial crown
sat on the cold, hard ground
and wept

DR: Finish the following statements:

I am good at...

GR: I am good at talking, I guess.


I'm good at talking and writing.

I hate these kinds of questions because it seems like you have to, for lack of a better phrase, "toot your own horn" but I can talk for awhile and I have a lot of opinions and I really like to write. They both go hand in hand. They both succeed in getting your opinions across.

DR: I hope that...

GR: I hope that this new administration, the Obama administration, will unite the world and change our country.

We have a lot of issues in the United States, but I hope people can believe again and be able to hope and dream and maybe change will make that happen.

DR: I believe that....

GR: Hmmm. That's a pretty broad question...

I believe that one person can change the world. Maybe that's been said before, but I believe it. You know, people say, 'Oh, it won't matter if I do this or not because I'm just one person compared to 6 billion' but what each one of us does, matters in a big way.

All it takes is one person to impact the world.

DR: What are the things that you are most passionate about?

GR: I think, global awareness. I mean, I could say a number of things like immigration, education, healthcare, global warming or world hunger or something like that and all those issues are definitely important to me but I feel like in order to solve those issues or make them better and what not, people have to start being globally aware.
I feel like the world would be a better place if people opened their eyes more or devoted their time to volunteering for something they were passionate about. It seems like its been said before, that everyone needs to do their fair share, but until that happens, until everyone contributes, whatever that may mean, it needs to keep being said.

DR: What inspires you most?

GR: People that don't let other people stand in their way or tell them things are impossible. People that go for their goal or dream no matter the odds, no matter the negative forces against them, inspire me.

DR: What do you inspire in others?

GR: I don't know. It's hard to step out of yourself and look at yourself like anyone else would. What I hope I inspire in people is determination and to be inspired. I hope I inspire people to not be so cynical. Cynicism can't really get you anywhere, right?

DR: If you could change anything about the world right now, what would it be?

GR: One thing? Probably the hate and the animosity people feel towards each other. I mean we're all different. We have different opinions, but in reality we're all people. We're only 99.9 percent genetically different. That's a fun fact. We're all human. What makes one of us better than the other? Hate just limits us. I hope I don't sound all 'Kumbaya' or anything, but think about how many lives, time and money are lost due to wars.

DR: A hundred years from now what do you want to be remembered for?

GR: A hundred years from now I'd like to be remembered for changing the world for the better. I don't know how I'm gonna do it yet, but that's what I'd like to be remembered for.

I'd like people to think back and appreciate what I accomplished because whatever it may be, it made the world a better place.

Thanks Gussie!

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