Our Poetry SLAM 2017 extravaganza continued with a really historic night — the first ever Middle School Slam!
Host Natalie Caro returned for an encore performance, this time joined by guest poets Shanell Sharpe, reciting her poem The Message and Jay'la Fenty who performed her work Testimony of A Poet.
(Champions Hamilton Grange Girls pictured with their trophy. Thank you photographer Luis Fonseca and SayCheeseKidz.com for capturing all the magic and the excitement of Middle School Poetry SLAM 2017! Check out our Facebook page to see all the best shots!)
Our panel of esteemed judges consisted of Ms Sharpe and Ms Fenty along with former New York City poet laureate Ramya Ramana, America SCORES New York Board member Retta Abraham, Junior Board members Liz Desio and Mike Madarasz, SCORES alum and former National Poetry Slam finalist Bobby Bastien, and poet, academic and New York Cosmos club historian David Kilpatrick.
After a few words from Executive Director Shannon Schneeman and Program Director Zach Gomes, Natalie reviewed the rules once again, emphasized the importance of sportsmanship (something our poet-athletes were already very familiar with!), and the night began
The first school that had to impress the judges was the co-ed team from Mott Hall! The started their set off with Morning of Mournings by Luna U and The Bonds that Connect Us by Jeremy R, followed by their group poem, The Worst Years of my Life.
Following that performance, PS 161 took the stage with the boys performing first. Most of their solo poems held similar themes, evidenced by the titles: Persecution by Eliel O, Immigration by Jhon Y, Immigration by Aram G., Bullying by Alejandro E., Immigration by Diego J, and School by Pedro R. They ended with their group poem Hard Work.
The girls of PS 161 (pictured above) had the chance to share their poems next, starting off with Mother Nature by Gianna A , The Authority by Briana P, Friendships by Juliet P, My Team! by Janet M, Really AMERICA?? by Nyomi R, and Depression by Anaisha M. They left the audience with their group poem, Humble Your Issues.
The Hamilton Grange Girls (pictured above) focused on girl power with their poems, A Girl That Struggles With Being Ugly by Sarai G, You’re Beautiful The Way You Are by Learie P, Little Girl, Little Girl by Janelys R, Because I’m Happy by Yerely M, Untitled by Yessica P, and their group poem, Women Taking A Stand.
Even though the night was drawing to a close, the boys of Hamilton Grange still brought their A-game. The 6th grade boys started them off with Untitled by Carl L, Untitled by Martin S, Untitled by Martin S, and their group poem, The Power of Soccer.
The Hamilton Grange 6th grade boys were followed by the 7/8th grade boys, who graced the audience with their poems, entitled Zest by Manuel Q, Harlem Streets by Elijah F, First Touch by Diego O, and their group poem, Unity.
Our final group, the poet-athletes of New Design co-ed team, definitely did not leave their audience disappointed. Their poems Good vs Evil by Emilio DLS & Olivia H, Excuse Me!!! by Wesli A, The Only Reason by Mariam S, and group poem D.A.N.C.E., definitely left the audience impressed by our incredibly talented middle schools!
While the judges were making some difficult decisions, our poet-athletes expressed themselves in a different way through a wildly competitive dance party! Everyone brought their best moves to the stage and definitely impressed the crowd.
Finally, it was time to announce the winners. After giving out the individual Spirit Award Winners, MC Natalie Caro announced the coveted School Spirit award, given to New Design!
New Design Middle School Co-Eed team pictured above and below.
After a roaring drum-roll, Ms Caro announced the first place winners: Hamilton Grange girls! Incredible sportsmanship and creativity was shown by all of our poet-athletes, and we could not have asked for a better SLAM!
Hamilton Grange Girls poet-athlete Janelys with our guest poets Shanell Sharpe (pictured left) and Ramya Ramana (right).
We want to extend a huge thank you to our principals and coaches!
From PS 161: Principal Pamela Price-Haynes, Coach Milton Polo, Coach David Segarra, and Coach Gabriel Previllon.
From Mott Hall: Principal Judith De Los Santos, Coach Erick Castro, Coach Ann Molina, and Coach Ernest Jimenez
From New Design: Principal Jeanine Benitez, Coach, Gari Harvey, Coach Brother Abu, Coach Leopoldo Estrada, and Coach Brian Francis.
From Hamilton Grange: Principal Benjamin Lev, Coach Kassidy Maxie, Coach Christian Jaime, Coach Gonzalo Trigerous, and Coach Alvin Espinoza.