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First Annual FHHS Poetry Slam a Success

2012 Poetry Slam winners (l. to r.): 3rd W.J. Moretz, 1st Lola Helms, 2nd Tiffany Rivera

First semester offered Forest Hills students a new outlet for their creativity and their competitive spirit: the school’s first annual Poetry Slam. Poetry slams are events in which poets compete in the performance of their original works and are judged on their content and their delivery. Jackets certainly rose the occasion.

English teacher and Forest Hills’ 2012 Teacher of the Year, Mrs. Cassie Eley, organized the slam to promote the writing and appreciation of poetry throughout the school. In the weeks before the competition began, announcements called for student work, and segments on The Buzz introduced students to what slam poetry was all about. As students prepared their works for round one, teachers were asked to perform their original or favorite poems for a video to be broadcast during homeroom period on December 7, the day of the first round of competition. The Slam provided an opportunity for both students and staff members to share their talent.

For the first round, each homeroom teacher allowed any student to perform an original work for the class. Students then voted on which students would represent their homerooms. 45 students advanced the second round. The second round was held on Dec. 10 when a panel of judges used a rubric to score the writing and performance of each poet. The sixteen students with the highest scores advanced to the final round held on Fri., Dec. 14 in the auditorium.

Fourth period teachers were allowed to bring their classes to the auditorium to watch the final round of competition. English teacher, Trent Thomas served as emcee, and distinguished judges from outside Forest Hills rated the competitors, again using the scoring rubric. Judges included East Union Middle School’s Media Coordinator, Mrs. Susie Jones; UCPS Secondary English Curriculum Coordinator, Mrs. Cheryl Nelson; Dean of Wingate University’s Thayer School of Education, Dr. Sarah Harrison-Burns; UCPS Director of Secondary Education, Dr. Wanda Little; and UCPS Superintendent, Dr. Mary Ellis.

The audience as well as the judges had high praise for all of the final round participants. In the end, the end, third prize (a $25 Target gift card) went to senior W.J. Moretz, second prize (also a $25 Target gift card) went to senior Tiffany Rivera, and first place was freshman Lola Helms, who won a $50 iTunes gift card and a pizza party for her whole homeroom (Mr. Derrick Johnson’s).

Mrs. Eley felt that the Poetry Slam was a huge success and looks forward to its future at Forest Hills. “I hope that this becomes a tradition and that we continue to celebrate our students’ talent with spoken word.”

Written by: Melissa Howell
Posted: Jan 09, 2013 by Melissa Howell

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