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Langston Hughes was elected the class poet, and in his autobiography he states that just afterwards he went home to write a poem for graduation. It was the longest poem he ever wrote, and he says that each of the eight teachers in his school were to be mentioned with a verse. His favorite teacher, Miss Ethel Welch's verse was to be very special.
The Collected Works of Langston Hughes: Autobiography: The big sea (Page 45)