On Thursday, February 28th, the Open Mic Poetry Reading event was the first of its kind to be hosted at BSGE, with more than 30 poems read aloud and almost every chair filled in the audience.
The poetry readings weren’t the only thing happening in BSGE’s cafegymatorium, but also Gangnam style dance offs, Harlem Shakes, Air Guitar competitions, loud music, free food and a lot of fun.
The theme of the Open Mic poetry reading was Black History, coinciding with
February’s Black History Month. The event was a way for students to learn and appreciate the struggles and successes of Black History Month while developing an interest in creative writing, expressing creativity and having fun.
The afternoon began with the host and creator of the event, English teacher Mr. Anderson, with an opening discussing the importance of Black History Month and its relation to famous literature such as poetry by Langston Hughes, Rita Dove, Maya Angelou and more.
Following this introduction was when the real party began. DJ Virge and Anderson raised the energy level of the cafegymatorium with fun and competitive games of Air Guitar Olympics (winner: Kenneth Su), Harlem Shake Dance Off (winner: Clement Leveau) and Gangnam Style Dance Off (winners: Samantha Jaloza, Claire Bergerson). These games were scattered between intermissions of the poetry readings of open mic participants and “Round Two” finalists of the poetry competition organized before the event.
In “Round One” of the poetry competition, 42 students had submitted a diverse amount of poems by the deadline of February 22nd. The only rules for the competition was that the poem should be related to Black History. Literary elements, language styles and creative ideas were sought out by the judges (four BSGE teachers and two students) until the poems were eventually lowered down to just ten finalists. Many popular topics for these poems were major events and people in Black History such as Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Little Rock Nine, etc.
These ten finalists were announced throughout the two hour event that went from 3:30 to 5:30. This was when Round Two of the poetry competition came around, where judges (2 students and 2 teachers: Ms. Kumar and Ms. Matani) critiqued finalists on their diction, rhythm and projection of their poetry readings.
After the judges had tallied their scores, the three finalists were 7th grader Jennifer Yu who came in first place, 8th grader Emily Costa in second and 7th grader Rafia Alamgir in third. The finalists received gift cards for their effort and success; first place receiving the grand prize of $50, second place and third with smaller amounts.
Overall, the Open Mic Poetry Reading was a success at BSGE and encourages even more events similar to this that promotes creativity and fun while learning. It can be seen through other events like the French Club’s screening of a French film that occurred Friday, March 1st, that BSGE classes are taking their learning and teaching outside of the classroom so that everyone can join, learn and have fun together.