Snap, Don’t Clap!

Writing Club and Class of 2017 hosts Poetry Slam

Megumi Kamikawa

Staff Writer

American High School’s first ever Poetry Slam, hosted as a joint event between the Class of 2017 and the Writing Club, took place in the Multi-Purpose Room from approximately 6 PM to 8PM on Friday, May 2.

The general concept of the Poetry Slam was to give students the opportunity to present their original spoken word poetry.

“I think our biggest goal was to provide an entertaining and enlightening event that would increase the awareness of slam poetry at our school, and the talent we have at American,” Writing Club President Julia Jen (11) said. “We also wanted to create an event with a nice ambience, so people would feel engaged and interested much like how they do when they go to plays, or a charity dinner.”

Poetry Slam winner Elias Kamal (11) presents his piece titled “OCD” to an attentive audience. Contestants recited their various poems, including a duo of two sophomore students, Jihan Yin and Rishi Puri. “Performing in front of an audience wasn’t much of an issue, especially since we performed as partners,” Yin and Puri said. “The audience was really respectful and once you got up there on the stage, a sort of calm settles over you, and it’s quite easy to perform.”
Poetry Slam winner Elias Kamal (11) presents his piece titled “OCD” to an attentive audience. Contestants recited their various poems, including a duo of two sophomore students, Jihan Yin and Rishi Puri. “Performing in front of an audience wasn’t much of an issue, especially since we performed as partners,” Yin and Puri said. “The audience was really respectful and once you got up there on the stage, a sort of calm settles over you, and it’s quite easy to perform.”

Prizes offered to the top three winners and one audience favorite were funded by donations from the freshman council as well as the Book Smart store in the New Park Mall. Those who received prizes include junior Elias Kamal in first place, senior Kristen Campos in second, junior Cassandra Bicacki in third, and junior Jordan Au as audience favorite.

“In the beginning, we didn’t have enough performers and we were afraid of canceling the event, but more people signed up in the end,” Class of 2017 President Kenneth Cacacho (9) said. “I feel that most of the students didn’t come for the prize money or possible extra credit; they came to say what they feel and spill out feelings from their hearts with beautiful poetry that touched everyone emotionally.”

Ms. Stewart, Ms. Hartigan, Mr. Howard, and Mr. Fulton were selected as staff judges for the competition. They thoroughly enjoyed the students and their submissions, including those that were performed during the impromptu open mic session.

“It was a pretty entertaining event, and it was rewarding to be chosen as a judge,” Mr. Howard said. “Our school doesn’t focus that much on the arts, and I wanted to help with this event in hopes to encourage others to embrace their creativity.”

Regardless of the costs spent upon the café theme and the food provisions, the collaborating teams were overall triumphant in their fundraiser. According to the Writing Club’s Fundraising Commissioner, Katherine Zhu (11), the event raised over $200 and successfully showcased a portion of the talents found within American High School. The event is planned to be hosted as an annual event from now on.

“It was a really great experience,” Zhu said. “The Writing Club hasn’t had a lot of major projects, and this was a great joint-event where we’re able to learn how to work together with others.”

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