Poetry slam contest draws youth to rec center

Poetry slam contest draws youth to rec center
July 26
12:30 2018

For the third year in a row, the summer camp at the W.R. Anderson Community Center has held its Rhythm and Rhyme Poetry Slam.  The purpose of the slam is to mentally challenge the students to go along with the physical components they are involved with on a daily basis.

More than 60 young people participated in the contest across three different age divisions.  Three dance teams also graced the audience with their presence prior to the poets taking the stage.  The event continues to grow each and every year.

“This was our third poetry slam and our youngest poet was 5 years old,” said Betty Wallace, poetry slam coordinator.  “We have seen overall growth in poets having a desire to express their ideas and thoughts about what is going on in the world and it affects them daily regardless of age.

“Their poems were an expression of their solutions in a complex society,” she continued.

The children had worked on their poems for weeks leading up to the poetry slam.  They were all asked to come up with original material with no outside assistance from parents or family members.

The three division winners were Chloe Moore, Donyea Staley and Noel Horton.  The three young ladies delivered thought- provoking poems centering on issues plaguing our communities daily. 

Chloe Moore, a repeat champion from last year, touched on black lives matter as the subject matter for her poem.  She says it felt good to take home the top prize once again.

“I know that black lives matter and black people are just as important as everyone else so we all should be treated equally,” said Moore.  “I could not believe that I won again. I was so excited when they called my name.”

“When I go to the beach with my mom, I always get sand in my eyes and we always get ice cream and stuff,” said Staley about what inspired her poem.  “I thought it was fake when they called my name but I was happy when I realized it was real.”

Horton added, “My poem was about happiness and all of the things that make me happy.  I never thought that I would win first place, but when I did I was even more happy and I am a winner.”

Wallace stated the content of the poems continues to become more socially conscience as the years go on.

“The participation has steadily increased due to parents looking for a summer camp program that offers a variety of fun, healthy, social, academic and arts-based experiences,” she said. 

The judges stated this was the toughest competition out of prior three slams because of the quality poems the kids delivered.  Wallace stated she chose judges from a variety of backgrounds, even selecting a high school student this year as a judge.

“This competition was truly challenging,” she said.  “Students had more experience and had an opportunity to partner with and observe from their peers to better understand their strengths and weaknesses.”

Wallace says she always like to evaluate how the program went to make it better the next time around.  She says it would be great if several recreation centers would collaborate together to have all of their campers compete in the event.

“That would have an impact in improving student achievement when students return to school,” Wallace said.  “It is my goal, to grow this event within our city with a citywide rhythm and rhyme poetry slam, and we are always looking for sponsors to assist with the cost of this event.”

Timothy Ramsey was a judge for the Rhythm and Rhyme Poetry Slam this year.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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