Youth show rhythm and rhyme at Poetry Slam

Youth show rhythm and rhyme at Poetry Slam
August 03
11:58 2017

The kids at the summer camp of W.R. Anderson Community Center are being exposed to more than just playing games and going swimming.  For the second year in a row, the campers participated in the Rhythm and Rhyme Poetry Slam on Thursday, July 27.

The kids were separated into three divisions based off of age groups.  They were judged by a number of different criteria until a first-, second- and third-place winner was determined for each division.  Each camper who finished in the top three received a monetary reward for their efforts.

Before the campers took the stage, they performed an original dance routine to the legendary poem “Still I Rise” by the iconic Maya Angelou.  The entire event was the brainchild of Betty Wallace, event coordinator of activities at W.R. Anderson.

“I think today went very well, and since this is our second year we were better prepared,” said Wallace.  “We started planning in March for what we wanted to do so overall. I thought the kids did very well because they were energized and that made it perfect.”

There were many kids who participated in the program this year that also performed in last year’s poetry slam.  Wallace says she noticed the kids learned from mistakes made last year that made for better performances this year.

“The reading and writing workshops incorporated from what they learned last year meant the skills were already there for the kids,” she continued.  “They just built upon what they already knew, so in the end it was good results.”

The performances from the kids were vastly better than their first attempts last year.  Many of the poems were thought- provoking and it was evident the kids really poured themselves into this project.

The children also were very supportive of other campers during their performances and after the winners were announced.  They displayed great sportsmanship toward the winners, who in turn were gracious and humble in their victories.

Braylen Amos, the Division 1 winner, said,  “I wanted to write about focus and practice because that’s what you need to do good in school.  I really like school because they give us fun activities and we learn a lot.  I was really happy to find out I won.”

Division 2 winner Justin Wallace added, “I just wanted to inspire people to write poems and be good to each other.  When I found I won, I was happy, but I felt bad that the other kids didn’t win because everyone did well.”

Division 3 winner Joi Wheeler went a different direction with her poem by adding music to her performance.  She not only had the other kids on their feet but also the parents and crowd were clapping their hands and stomping their feet.

“I worked on this song with my dad. Everyone wanted me to do it for the poetry slam,” she said.  “I am so glad I won, and I am going to continue to get better and better.  I was encouraged by winning, and it made me feel good for people to say I was going to win before the even announced it.”

The crowd was full of parents of the campers.  They were very pleased with the performance of their children and proud of their effort.

Danielle Johnson, mother of Justin Wallace said, “I was so excited and glad that he took the time out to learn his poem.  He put action behind his words and made the crowd understand what he was trying to say to them.  I knew he was going to win, and I am so happy for them.”

Ms. Wallace says she is inspired to do things a little different each year because the kids sometimes come up with creative changes to implement.  She says it’s a group effort with her and the kids, and she is excited to see what they can come up with for next year.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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