Poetry Slam showcases talents, benefits others

Junior Katharina Ohler recites her poem

Junior Katharina Ohler recites her poem "December 5th" at the third annual Poetry Slam. Ohler summited another poem "January 27th" and went on to win.

Makenna Wollenberg

Makenna Wollenberg

Junior Katharina Ohler recites her poem "December 5th" at the third annual Poetry Slam. Ohler summited another poem "January 27th" and went on to win.

Sophia Comas, Features Editor

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The third annual Poetry Slam, hosted by Manhattan High’s Black Student Union, proved successful with the contestants reading original works that showcased their raw talent and emotional individuality. The event, held last Tuesday, was a great method for students to showcase their talents with writing as well as allowing them to reveal an emotional side of themselves not commonly seen within school.

“I think that the Poetry Slam went really really well,” Mbofo Ndou, BSU member and judge, said. “We had a lot of people come out and the performers were really, really good so I think it went pretty well.”

The turnout of the event also did not disappoint, surprising some of the club members as more and more people arrived.

“We had more participants and audience people than expected, which allowed us to come together and lift every voice,” Greg VanDyke, BSU president, said. “Overall though, it was fantastic.”

When tasked with selecting a winner, the five judges focused on originality and ingenuity in the poems presented to them.

“We had five different judges whom at the end out of the six or seven poems we had selected three winners,” VanDyke said.

The selected winners all displayed power within words that establish personal connection, resulting in their victories over the rest of the contestants.

“In December, my friend passed away from my old school and so I wrote it for him,” said winner Katharina Ohler. “It felt good because I won with the poem I wrote for my friend.”

Ohler gave two performances that night, one poem titled “December 5th” and a second poem titled “January 27th.” Her readings of friendship and loss assisted in her win as well as showing the audience grief and love.

The Poetry Slam was not only intended for students to present their talents, but it also gave the BSU an opportunity to collect donations for the school with their admission fee.

“We had the entry fee as a toiletry item donation to be donated to the USD 383 FIT Closet,” VanDyke said. The donations will go on to help the FIT program, or Families In Transition, as they experience the hardships of insufficient living conditions or unsafe housing.

Despite its successes, the BSU members and contestants did run into a few obstacles.

“I wish that more people from the school came out,” Ndou said. “But other than that, I think it went pretty well.”

Throughout the Poetry Slam, the significance of such events, especially to students, never dwindled from the hearts and minds of those in attendance.

“Students were able to talk about something they’re passionate about through poetry, which is pretty cool,” Ndou said. “I think it’s definitely helped the school overall.”

Alternative outlets for a student’s emotions is one of the main points the BSU addressed with the Poetry Slam.

“I think it’s important,” Ohler said. “Students get to express the emotions that they don’t usually get to express in a classroom setting.”

The Poetry Slam proved successful, as BSU members and participants proudly demonstrate school spirit and emotional individuality.

“The contestants worked very hard to create their own personal poems that let us all join together as one and lift every voice, which was the theme,” VanDyke said. “Overall it was great.”

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Poetry Slam showcases talents, benefits others