OHS Poetry Slam to become annual occurrence

Coffee and cookies. Emotion and reading. Jazz and Snapping.

That is what happened on April 29 in the OHS library. Several students and teachers gathered to listen to people perform and read their own poetry while being provided with cookies and coffee. This event was called a “Poetry Slam.”

“A poetry slam is a competition at which poets read/recite their original work,” said Mrs. Christine Whelehon, Creative Writing teacher. “Poets are then judged on the basis of the poetry itself as well as the performance of their poetry.”

Mrs. Dyanne Menzel, Mrs. Jessica Betz, and Whelehon’s Creative Writing classes gathered to listen and talk about the poetry presented. Fourteen people presented, six were finalists, and three won prizes. Out of the fourteen students, Ebonie Williams (12) came out on top and won the first place prize. She recited a poem about eating disorders and then did a duet with A’Viana Rucker (12) about stereotypes. Rucker came in second next to Williams. The winners got a cup of packaged coffee, and Williams’ prize came with cookies as well.

“I was exhilarated (when I won),” Williams said. “I’ve always loved poetry.”

Williams has been writing poetry since she was a small child. She has written multiple pieces since then, and she was ready when the Poetry Slam presented her the opportunity to read some of her original work.

“(My dad) has always fueled my fire to be better,” Williams said.

Mrs. Whelehon, who is the Creative Writing teacher of Williams, said that her favorite part of the Slam was when Rucker and Williams did their duet.

“(Williams and Rucker) co-wrote and rehearsed a poem about stereotypes outside of class,” Whelehon said. “I heard it for the first time at the poetry slam, and I was completely impressed with how well they had written and performed it.”

Because of its success this year, Whelehon noted that she would want to make the Poetry Slam an annual occurrence for years to come.

“The enthusiasm/positive energy we had was great,” Whelehon said. “I would love to continue that trend in the future.”