Newtown Shootings Spur Song By Sad Teen

CHANDLER, Arizona, U.S.A. – I never really thought of myself as a songwriter until last Friday.
It was just another normal day until a girl in my choir class told me about the shootings that morning in Connecticut. At first I felt sad, but I had no idea about the number of children killed.
When I heard the details later, as an older sister and friend to many with younger siblings, my heart broke.
I posted a status on Facebook about the tragedy but within 10 second felt disgusted with myself.

I told myself, “That was pathetic, Tearza. Yeah, sure, you feel bad but this post is just going to get lost in all the other heartfelt and touching posts everyone else is writing. You can do better! But how?”
As I sat alone at my computer at home thinking about it, I turned to get my drink and noticed my little keyboard on the opposite wall.
“There you go,” said a little voice in my head.
So I pulled up a chair and began playing around with some chords. In five minutes, I had written the first verse.
I’m really glad no one was home because I just bawled the entire time. I’m not really ever the emotional sort, so it probably would have freaked out my little brother.
The rest of the song just came naturally. In 20 minutes tops, it was done.
Then I had to record it. That was the hard part.
I literally could not get through the whole thing without bursting into tears, forcing me to stop and restart.
When I finally had a cut worth keeping, I got a little choked up at the end. I tried to edit it out but somehow the editing changed my voice so it sounded like a chipmunk, so I went with the raw, uncut, unedited video.
I uploaded it to my YouTube channel within an hour and a half of arriving home from school that day. Then I posted it to my Facebook wall and waited.
An hour later, when I left to go babysit, it had two “likes” on Facebook and I thought, “Great, that was a really stupid idea.”
The whole time I was babysitting, for six beautiful boys between the ages of two and 13, I couldn’t stop thinking about the killings in Newtown.
When I got home afterward, their mom told me, “Your song was beautiful. I just listened to it and shared it on my wall!”
She’s sort of like my second mom so I figured she was obligated to be nice. “I’m glad you liked it,” I said.
As we drove back to my house, we talked about how she used to be a singer and how cool it can be to perform.
When we arrived home, my own mom told me she’d also shared the song on Facebook and that lots of people liked it.
But it wasn’t until I opened my own Facebook account that I realized just what she meant. I had 28 notifications, all from people commenting, reposting, tagging and sharing my video.
I felt shocked to see the response my video had received. By then, 618 people had viewed it. Some of them messaged me that they had shared it with television networks, radio stations and even the White House.
I was so overcome that I started crying again.
Every day since, the numbers have grown. My school district superintendent even sent a link to every teacher in our district. People from all over my school came up to me saying they watched it in class. Teachers stopped me in the halls. Some told me about strangers who had watched it.
I felt shocked to see the growing response, but I could not be more happy that thousands of people all over the country have watched my song. I can’t wait to see where this goes.
Tearza Foyston is a Junior Reporter in Arizona for Youth Journalism International.