Young spoken word artists from Hall Middle School recited their original poems and ignited the audience with finger snaps, claps and encouragement from the more experienced poets who urged them from the audience to “Go in, poet!” during the the Third Annual Sik’ lik Youth Poetry Slam in the Moudy Auditorium at Texas Christian University.
Students also were treated to a writing workshop and a performance from rap artist, Nice Major, before they took the stage.
“Truth Be Told” was the theme for this year’s event hosted by internationally recognized spoken word poet, Mike Guinn, and sponsored by the education-based non-profit, Impossible Possibilities.
“We want to inspire students to make learning cool again,” event co-founder Justin Hernandez said.
The spoken word artists competing for Hall belong to the Power Poets club sponsored by eighth grade ELAR teacher Cynthia Scott. Whitney McClelland, Clara Tolleson, Kathryn Chappall, Kassie Tellez, Nielah Mitchell, Samantha Winder and Tayva Wilson held their own competing against other fine, young poets from Tarrant and Dallas counties, including high school poets who have competed at the national level with the Fort Worth Youth Poetry Slam Team.
Tayva Wilson and Whitney McClelland advanced to the final round and secured seventh and ninth place, respectively. Whitney chose an I-Home speaker and Tayva chose a leather-bound journal as their prizes. All of the poets who performed received a T-shirt commemorating the event.
Before taking the stage, the poets were pumped up by an inspirational message from Nice Major, who told the young performers that he started out competing in poetry slams.
“I wanted to put myself in a different frame of mind,” he told them.
He rejected the negativity of the gang life around him in L.A. and embraced the “poetry life,” instead, he said.
“Hip hop is leaning toward poetry. All of the artists that want to matter—Kanye, Eminem, J. Cole—started off doing poetry,” he told the young poets gathered before him.