So, a few weeks ago we had our annual Community Poetry SLAM! Here is the breakdown:

We had the SLAM at A. Philip Randolph High School. First off, that school has an absolutely huge stage. It was the perfect place for our poets to perform their powerful poems! The awesome and amazing Charity, a former CAA like myself, was our emcee, and she pumped up the kids up from the very beginning. She has an infectious energy that got our poet-athletes on their feet. After great speeches from Shannon and Zach (who did his in Spanish, too!), the SLAM kicked off with PS 161 Elementary School! They did an awesome job going first. Mark G’s individual poem ended up winning him a SHINE award!

Schools came up and rocked their individual poems and their group poems. PS 125 and PS 173 absolutely stole the show with their powerful poetry and expressive performances! Jalen S. from PS 125 had a really amazing poem called “The Life of A Problem”. He was so insightful and his words were incredibly moving. I had the pleasure of watching PS 125 prepare for the poetry SLAM, and I am proud to say that all of their hard work paid off! They did a fantastic job at their first poetry SLAM.

One of my favorite moments from the poetry slam was watching Hamilton Grange MS Girls perform. At the very last minute, while preparing for the SLAM, their coach had an emergency and had to leave. With a staff of four, we were stretched pretty thin, but we decided as a team that I should step in and help the girls make their SLAM a successful one. It was challenging to work with the girls at first. They weren’t very focused on the SLAM since they weren’t used to me as a coach. After a team meeting and a little restructuring, they got back on track. We were able to write a group poem in one week, and the individual poems were perfected just in time for the SLAM. Watching them perform as a group was exciting, and Mia S. won a SHINE award for her poem. What was initially a challenge for me ended up a really valuable and rewarding experience. I loved working with the girls and it was inspiring to watch them to achieve something great!

Shout out to our individual elementary school SHINE winners: PS 125 Jalen S, PS 192 Genesis T, PS 161 Mark G, PS 173 Ellie O, PS 325 Astrid R, and PS 325 Jeremy R. Congrats to PS 161 Middle School and PS 173 Elementary School for winning the Community Poetry SLAM! Thanks to Charity and all of our judges for coming out to support and excite our poet-athletes. A big thank you to our staff (Zach, Kat, and Shannon) and volunteers for their hard work, and to our coaches for putting so much effort into preparing their students. Last but not least, congratulations to all of our poet-athletes: you are what makes SLAM (and SCORES) great!

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