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Friday, December 2, 2016

Bonding with the Bears, Part VI: Finishing up the season after Poetry Slam!

Every week this fall we will be visiting the Barnard Bears during poetry sessions and soccer games to document the progress of the Bears. Follow along to see how students develop their writing and soccer skills and how the team comes together. We will bring you individual poet-athletes' stories in addition to stories about the team as a whole. Follow along our journey with the Bears on Twitter @DCSCORESInterns & Instagram @DC_SCORES


Written by Elaine Lu 
Communications Intern

Though some of the students' spirits were down after they didn't place in the Poetry Slam!, they bounced right back. The students still have a strong love for poetry and finished up the season strong feeling great!

"They did an amazing job at Poetry Slam!," poetry coach Hannah Ehlers said. "I was so proud of their performance and could see that they were too!"

"It gives me hope to know that the Barnard Bears are the next generation and will change history!"

Added poet-athlete Lison: "We were preparing a lot because we wanted to be not perfect, but we wanted to be great. It's not about if we win or not, it's about having fun. I wasn't upset, I was actually happy because we got to have fun and it's not all about winning, it's about having fun."

It is attitudes like hers that make this team so incredible. The Barnard Bears are a great group of kids that have touched the hearts of everyone, like myself, who have worked with them.

"I loved coaching poetry with the Barnard Bears this season and can't wait for the winter season on nutrition," Ehlers said. "I loved getting to know the poet-athletes and watching them grow and learn."

From looking at the impact that the Bears have made on their coaches, it is evident that these kids are remarkable.

For Lindsey Sharp, one of the soccer coaches, "working with the Barnard Bears this season has been filled with many lessons for both the kids and [my]self."

Each kid on the Barnard Bears stood out and brought a different perspective to the team, a dynamic that Sharp said made the experience all the more rewarding.

"Our team was very well-rounded in terms of skill level as well as cultural diversity, which allowed all of the kids to come together seamlessly," Sharp said. "I was constantly impressed by the kids' ability to work together as a team and help each other improve their technique throughout the season.

"The Barnard bond has been exceptional season-long and I am excited to coach such wonderful kids again next season!:

Over the last 10 weeks, I've seen these students grow into incredibly talented poet-athletes. With every poetry session, every practice, and every game, I've watched each child grow more into the wonderful future leader that s/he will be. I can't wait to see what the upcoming seasons will bring for the Barnard Bears!

The Barnard Bears will DEFINITELY change history! Thank you for adding to my wonderful experience working at DC SCORES!

Previous Posts
Part I
Part II
Part III
Part IV
Part V

Monday, November 28, 2016

Give coaches the tools to change kids' lives on Giving Tuesday

Today, November 29, you can make a tremendous difference in the lives of DC children.

You can do so by supporting the coaches who are there for them. In the classroom. On the soccer field. And most importantly, in life. 

As part of the worldwide Giving Tuesday, will you give our coaches the tools they need to change DC kids' lives with a donation? You can give throughout the day HERE

Did you know: We hire coaches at each of our 55 sites -- two soccer and two writing coaches. The DC SCORES office provides all the trainings, supplies, buses to game days, soccer uniforms and more for the teams of kids across Washington, DC.

The coaches actually run the program between 3:30-6:30pm year-round. They are the difference-makers. 

Watch the video above to hear from just a few coaches on what DC SCORES means to them and track the list below of everyone who makes a difference for our poet-athletes and their leaders on Giving Tuesday.

Again, the link to give is HERE. Also, please share our message on Twitter and Facebook. The organizatuon with the most unique donations (by email address) will win $5,000 and the organizations that get the most donations between 11am-12pm and 5-6pm will win $2,500 prizes. 


Soccer jerseys + poetry journals ($28 value) given: 1,185

High Fives List!, time
Ellisa Jeyin Lee, 10:14am (Friday)
Michael Recore, 7:45pm
Oliver Doxtater, 5:16pm
Carol Sweig, 1:49pm
Michael Hanin, 1:23pm
Kelly Casten, 7:43am
Ryan Burke, 3:37am (Thursday)
Mark Schuman, 11:05pm
Mired Asfour, 7:08pm
John Ydstie and Mary Jo Vrem, 3:42pm
Bentley Johnson, 9:44am
Deepti Manohar, 8:57am
Christopher Stewart, 4:37am
Gary White, 3:43am
Christie Wright, 12:26am
Judith Kemp, 12:16am
Chris Mein, 12:05am (Wednesday)
Adam Siple, 11:58pm
Zach Warren, 11:57pm
Lindi Spalatin, 11:53pm
Jacqui Kemp, 11:41pm
Anonymous, 11:40pm
Ignacio Fernandez Stearns, 11:36pm
K. Tracey Bible, 11:33pm
Susan OKeefe, 11:29pm
John Kemp, 11:28pm
Edward Simon, 11:21pm
Heather Brown, 11:20pm
P.J. Farrell, 11:20pm
Irma Sheon, 11:20pm
Marla Simon, 11:19pm
Stephany Umana, 11:18pm
Francisco Alvarez Higareda, 11:17pm
S.W. Goodman, 11:16pm
David Goodwin, 11:16pm
M.H. Rubin, 11:15pm
Will Watkins, 11:13pm
Kathryn Rendon, 11:13pm
Melissa Surette, 11:13pm
Nikki Allinson, 11:11pm
Hugh Kenety, 11:11pm
Jeffrey Poku-Adjei, 11:08pm
Jane Preotle, 11:06pm
Nina Shallal, 11:06pm
Peter Wilson, 11:05pm
Nicole Riibner, 11:01pm
Phyllis Owens, 11pm
Anonymous, 10:57pm
Amy Lehman, 10:57pm
Conner Ciesemier, 10:56pm
Jan Hodges, 10:54pm
Benjamin Fax, 10:54pm
Matt Preotle, 10:53pm
Mark Lewis, 10:53pm
Haley Donovan, 10:52pm
Adam Hughes, 10:52pm
Matt Anzur, 10:51pm
Bradley Anderson, 10:51pm
Ben Francavilla, 10:50pm
Elizabeth Hume, 10:49pm
Jorge and April, 10:49pm
Lila Blackney, 10:46pm
Rafael Villasmil, 10:45pm
Ethan Pack, 10:41pm
Carlos Fonseca, 10:39pm
Michelle Ibarra, 10:38pm
Andy and Lauren Young, 10:36pm
Wally Okpych, 10:32pm
Timothy Murphy, 10:32pm
Rachel Wardley, 10:31pm
Dan Henderson, 10:30pm
Ben Allen, 10:28pm
Melanie Robinson, 10:24pm
Greta Poku-Adjei, 10:21pm
Kris Brown, 10:18pm
Emily Wolfram, 10:17pm
Maria Guadalupe Alvarez, 10:16pm
Stephanie Holland, 10:14pm
Annabelle Baehr, 10:09pm
Chip and Diana Lohmeyer, 10:08pm
Pharis Owens, 10:08 pm
Pat Morrison, 10:05pm
Ryan DaSilva, 10:04pm
Rosemary Wardley, 10:03pm
Tim Preotle, 10:02pm
Bruce Adams, 10pm
Rob Thayer, 9:56pm
Wally Okpych, 9:50pm
Adam Eisner, 9:50pm
John Grib, 9:48pm
Peter Ho, 9:44pm
Will Sutton, 9:34pm
Jordan Bookey, 9:27pm
Finn Michael, 9:27pm
Mike Silas, 9:25pm
Edward Stratton, 9:25pm
Caitlin Felker, 9:21pm
Travis Featherby, 9:20pm
Hannah Hussey, 9:19pm
Travis Featherby, 9:19pm
Kevin Jackson, 9:16pm
Stacy Leff, 9:11pm
Jason, 9:10pm
Brooks, 9:02pm
Carr, 8:55pm
Jake Barr, 8:54pm
Alyssa Morse, 8:51pm
Joel Rubin, 8:47pm
Pete Gilmore, 8:47pm
Paul Riggins, 8:46pm
Anonymous, 8:41pm
Bruce Schulman, 8:38pm
Heidi Lenee, 8:37pm
Alexander Sundquist, 8:37pm
Leah Luray, 8:36pm
Seth and Jennifer Halvaksz, 8:29pm
Thomas Bogle, 8:28pm
Anissa Badea, 8:28pm
Denard Jones, 8:28pm
Kara Maeda, 8:27pm
Jennifer Oxley, 8:26pm
Jonathan & Kelly McGee, 8:23pm
Clements Family, 8:21pm
Cynthia Dunphy, 8:19pm
John Guzman, 8:16pm
Paul Rosenberg, 8:06pm
Letty Hardi, 7:59pm
Anonymous, 7:58pm
Marilyn Bugg, 7:56pm
Molly Nicol, 7:53pm
Paul Bugg, 7:51pm
Kelly Riggins, 7:39pm
Benjamin Pulliam, 7:38pm
Michael Liss, 7:37pm
Anthony Brown, 7:36pm
Kelly Dragelin, 7:35pm
Pierre Vigilance, 7:30pm
Molly Pallman, 7:14pm
Don & Eliza Hill, 7:14pm
Mary Kusler, 7:12pm
Manuela Goulden, 7:07pm
Carol and Paul Barritt-Flatt, 7:03pm
Wendy Copeland and Jon Schwartz, 6:59pm
Tragakis, 6:58pm
Margaret Langhamer, 6:55pm
Sam, 6:54pm
Charles Whiteman, 6:40pm
Jordan Evans, 6:34pm
Dori and Mark Hazan, 6:32pm
Holly Stewart, 6:30pm
Anonymous, 6:21pm
Aleta Greer, 6:18pm
Amy Nakamoto, 6:16pm
Simon E Landau, 6:14pm
Pamela, 6:13pm
Kelly Ackley, 6:13pm
Phyllis Owens, 6:10pm
Samantha Kiser, 6:08pm
David Eli Owens, 6:05pm
Corey Timbers, 6:03pm
Kelsi Moran, 6:00pm
James Gilbert, 5:59pm
Stu Trevelyan, 5:57pm
Traci Lee, 5:53pm
Calder Trevelyan, 5:53pm
John Neiswander, 5:51pm
Ella Trevelyan, 5:51pm
Christian, 5:50pm
Meredith Whitfield, 5:49pm
Christian Allen, 5:48pm
Stuart Trevelyan, 5:47pm
Evan Brunell, 5:45pm
Marge and Susana, 5:42pm
Marni Karlin, 5:41pm
Christopher Richardson, 5:40pm
Bonnie Politz, 5:39pm
Stephen Christensen, 5:38pm
Anonymous, 5:38pm
The Mewett Family, 5:37pm
Dimi Venkov, 5:37pm
Ann Carmel, 5:37pm
Jorge and Connie Esguerra, 5:33pm
Maria McGee, 5:31pm
Andrea Custis, 5:30pm
Libby Watkins, 5:29pm
David McGee, 5:29pm
Debra & Michael Kushma, 5:28
Anonymous, 5:27pm
Omar Lewis, 5:25pm
Matt Leemhuis, 5:25pm
Anonymous, 5:22pm
Anonymous, 5:22pm
Phillip Goodman, 5:22pm
Whitney Suflas, 5:20pm
Danielle, 5:18pm
Mark Alber Hanis, 5:14pm
Jason Ferreri, 5:14pm
Angel and Erik Horacek, 5:12pm
Jay Petraitis, 5:11pm
Liz Karabin, 5:08pm
Anne Elliott, 5:08pm
Tim Huether, 5:07pm
CeCe Coffey, 5:06pm
Moitreyee Sinha, 5:05pm
Kate Dochelli, 5:03pm
Andrew Gaeckle, 5:01pm
Vincent Lu, 5:00pm
Patrick Lu, 4:59pm
Jade Lu, 4:59pm
Yvon Lu, 4:57pm
Faye Lu, 4:57pm
Nicole Ryder, 4:57pm
Kenna Brown, 4:56pm
Heidi, 4:53pm
David Crespo, 4:52pm
Catalina Talero, 4:50pm
Maryann Jacobsen, 4:48pm
Pena Madridista Washington DC, 4:48pm
Heidi Hochstetler, 4:47pm
Melissa Coggins, 4:46pm
Chefik Simo, 4:45pm
Megan Gordon, 4:42pm
Belen Agrest, 4:41pm
Summer Woods, 4:39pm
Tamar Levenberg, 4:37pm
Anonymous, 4:36pm
Christine Okpych, 4:32pm
Ben Shnider, 4:30pm
Debra Riggins, 4:27pm
Steve Anthony Ressler, 4:26pm
Mary Elizabeth Shutley, 4:25pm
Lauren Richardson, 4:22pm
Marla & Carlos Wolff, 4:17pm
Dabney Weems, 4:17pm
Margaretta Poku-Adjei
Marissa McBride, 4:16pm
Adam Towvim, 4:15pm
Claire Gibbons, 4:13pm
Anonymous, 4:13pm
Emily Thompson, 4:12pm
Aeon Clarke, 4:11pm
Samuel Healy, 4:10pm
Julie Rogers, 4:07pm
Taylor Chock, 4:07pm
John and Jean Petersen, 4:02pm
Vesta Hochstetler, 4:01pm
Micheal Hart, 3:58pm
Kadie Marks, 3:55pm
James Webber, 3:54pm
Dawn Hulen, 3:53pm
John Lloyd and Sue Budin, 3:52pm
Tim, 3:52pm
David Neigus, 3:49pm
Mary Patricia Ahern, 3:48pm
Lauren Anderson, 3:47pm
Anonymous, 3:46pm
Dustin Fronczak, 3:44pm
Phillip Knight, 3:42pm
Anne White, 3:38pm
Taylor Kenan, 3:38pm
Mollie Meyer, 3:38pm
Deirdre Hart Chambers, 3:37pm
Kathleen Kulikowski
Andrea Foulkes, 3:25pm
Joanna Fax, 3:19pm
John Preotle, 3:19pm
Marie Okpych, 3:17pm
Amanda Sacks, 3:15pm
Geoff Okpych, 3:15pm
Hilary Benson, 3:14pm
Rebecca Lowry, 3:13pm
Anonymous, 3:07pm
Tom, 3:07pm
Sarah Priem, 3:02pm
Kathryn Rust, 3:02pm
Chris Hughes, 2:51pm
Emma Mitchell, 2:46pm
Frank Polley, 2:40pm
Mary Brown, 2:35pm
Rachel Shnider, 2:31pm
Bethany Rubin Henderson, 2:28pm
Rachel Klepper, 2:27pm
Mark Witte, 2:25pm
Mira Smith, 2:25pm
Kemba Ford, 2:24pm
Eric Lyman, 2:20pm
John Thayer, 2:19pm
Claire Lyons, 2:19pm
Lily Goldstein, 2:19pm
Oliver Kawwass, 2:19pm
Greg James, 2:14pm
Allegra Nevils Yancey, 2:11pm
Robert Warshaw, 2:05pm
Stephanie Perry, 2:05pm
Judi & Reed Glickman-Shnider, 2:05pm
Amy Greco, 2:03pm
Kathleen Lorello, 2:02pm
Thomas Sowers, 1:59pm
Eliana Henderson, 1:58pm
Patricia Watkins, 1:57pm
Zachary Straus, 1:56pm
Kelly Harley, 1:51pm
Katherine Panke, 1:49pm
Mary Ann Badavi, 1:45pm
Kyle Lorenz, 1:44pm
Kathleen Schofield, 1:43
Rejji Hayes, 1:43pm
Alison Tripp, 1:42pm
Matthew Preotle, 1:42pm
Kathy Doto, 1:42pm
Katie Schofield, 1:40pm
Mike Riggins, 1:37pm
Lila Simmons, 1:37pm
Mike Riggins, 1:36pm
Kristen Acocella, 1:32pm
Jasper Henderson, 1:30pm
Adi Rose Henderson, 1:29pm
Mike Riggins, 1:27pm
Daniel Henderson, 1:25pm
Jana Sharp, 1:20pm
Charlie, 1:19pm
Michelle Hense, 1:17pm
Susan Harrison, 1:16pm
Nicholas Poitras, 1:16pm
Amanda Thayer, 1:09pm
Aiden & Jillian Miller, 1:09pm
Alyssa Sheinbaum, 1:06pm
Anthony Brown, 1:04pm
Anthony Piccari, 12:54pm
Jocelyn West, 12:53pm
Kenny Owens, 12:45pm
David Barritt-Flatt, 12:44pm
Brittany and Disel Bennett, 12:44pm
Alex Tanouye, 12:39pm
Sarah Helinek, 12:38pm
Leah Hochstetler, 12:38pm
Frances Hinkle, 12:30pm
Suzanne Reno, 12:29pm
Will Magioncalda, 12:28pm
Linda Starr, 12:26pm
Bianca, 12:24pm
Kate Leary, 12:22pm
Morriah Horani, 12:20pm
Amy and Fred Rubin, 12:20pm
Anonymous, 12:20pm
Alyson Blair, 12:18pm
Tim Preotle, 12:18pm
Katie Sieck, 12:15pm
Shawntel Randi, 12:15pm
Susan Lee, 12:13pm
Linda Ravdin, 12:11pm
Jessica Badger, 12:10pm
Daniel Martin, 12:06pm
Roland Wolfram, 12:03pm
Craig Sacks, 12:03pm
Tom Hunt, 12:02pm
Nancy Fax, 12:01pm
Anonymous, 12:01pm
David Nicol, 11:59am
Anonymous, 11:59am
Josh Sanders, 11:58am
Karen Austin & Randolph Austin Jr., 11:58am
Melanie Fineman, 11:58am
Jennifer Neville, 11:58am
Chris Hudler, 11:58am
Anonymous, 11:57am
Amanda Essay, 11:57am
Reed Shnider, 11:57am
Sara Kushma, 11:57am
Eric Brandman, 11:57am
Christy Conklin, 11:57am
Jonathan Davis, 11:56am
Jessica Trevelyan, 11:56am
Steve Petros, 11:54am
Andre Romelle, 11:53am
Joshua Freedholm, 11:53am
Maria Randazzo, 11:52am
Frederick & Catherine Sutton, 11:50am
Anonymous, 11:50am
Sara Harper, 11:49am
Ryan Rice, 11:48am
Kuang Li, 11:47am
Anonymous, 11:47am
Calvin Broadus, 11:46am
Duha Elmari, 11:46am
Kelli Davis, 11:45am
Anonymous, 11:41am
Deborah Johnson, 11:41am
Reagan Walker, 11:40am
Michael Boches, 11:40am
Dan Bourgeois, 11:38am
Anthony Francavilla, 11:36am
Mike Heiken, 11:36am
Jacqui Kemp, 11:35am
Patricia Zebrowski, 11:34am
Jacqueline Kemp, 11:33am
Anonymous, 11:33am
Jacqueline Kemp, 11:32am
Stephanie Michelle Wolfram, 11:32am
Anonymous, 11:30am
Ronya Corey, 11:30am
Brian Sanker, 11:29am
Elizabeth Watkins, 11:29am
Joshua McGee, 11:28am
Stephanie Wolfram, 11:26am
Sharyn Sutton, 11:24am
Darien Flowers and Kirsten Ferreira, 11:24am
Asif Zaman, 11:22am
Katrina Owens, 11:21am
Anonymous, 11:20am
Kathy & Tim Hinkle, 11:19am
Hannah Ehlers, 11:19am
Zachary Abaie, 11:19am
Steve Goodman, 11:18am
Launa Hochstetler, 11:17am
David Sheon, 11:17am
Mark Ehlers, 11:16am
Tricia Aoki, 11:16am
Steve Goodman, 11:15am
Jean Lu, 11:15am
Gary & Sue Drean, 11:14am
Alex Hyman, 11:13am
Nick Talarico, 11:12am
Walter Okpych, 11:11am
Alex Hyman, 11:11am
Julia Thayer, 11:10am
John Conte, 11:09am
Jake Lloyd, 11:08am
Sean Hinkle, 11:07am
Charlotte Karp, 11:06am
Gerald Andriole, 11:05
Elaine Lu, 11:03am
David Solander, 11:03am
Pena Madridista Washington DC, 11:03am
Anonymous, 11:03am
Amanda Stanec, 11:02am
Tim Preotle, 11:02am
Chloe Doto, 10:58am
Lindsey Appiah, 10:58am
Christine Kaila, 10:56am
Anonymous, 10:56am
Chloe Doto, 10:56am
Anonymous, 10:56am
Eric Fins, 10:55am
Katie Magnus, 10:51am
Megan Tackney, 10:49am
Sarah Wolf, 10:39am
Ralph Pace, 10:36am
Charles Wolf, 10:36am
Jean Lu, 10:35am
John N. Bennett, 10:35am
Jean Lu, 10:33am
Kimberly Mullins Stein, 10:33am
Lynn Levy, 10:29am
Anonymous: 10:29am
Tammy Whyte, 10:27am
Anonymous, 10:22am
Phoebe Krawczyk, 10:21am
Loretta Reinersmann, 10:21am
Stevie Lyn Smith, 10:20am
Michael Vaughan Cherubin, 10:15am
Dahna Goldstein, 10:12am
Lauren Bogard, 10:12am
Katie Cook, 10:10am
Phillippe Monfiston, 10:07am
Gregory Sisson, 9:48am
Emily Schulman, 9:44am
Susannah Washburn, 9:43am
Katherine Makris, 9:36am
Rob & Beth Hughes, 9:34am
Katie Johnston-Davis, 9:32am
Jennifer Ehlers, 9:30am
Rachael Wright, 9:28am
Joseph Beninati, 9:27am
Jessica Merz, 9:24am
Meredith Daniel, 9:21am
Anonymous, 9:20am
Lauren Smith, 9:16am
Anna Hargett, 9:15am
Devin Talbott, 9:07am
James Arnold, 8:56am
Joshua Shnider, 8:52am
Tim Spear, 8:51am
Michelle Chung, 8:50am
Liora Klepper, 8:42am
Liora Klepper, 8:40am
Jessica Morris, 8:38am
Liora Klepper, 8:38am
Matt Lindsay, 8:37am
Sandra J Brown, 8:29am
Emily Baskin, 8:09am
Una Kelley, 8:03am
Wendy Perez-Villalta, 8am
Ryan Kelley, 7:57am
Joshua Coolidge, 7:54am
Deeana Klepper, 7:54am
Kristin Foti, 7:29am
The Henderson family, 7:16am
John Harkes, 6:44am
Karen Lovitch, 5:28am
Cheryl Gregory, 3:39am
Beth Rubin, 12:53am
Brian Levine, 8:36pm (Monday)
Michael Argentieri, 11:02am (Monday)
Megan Alt, 10:59am (Monday)
Ayan and Mike Rubin, 10:02am (Sunday)
Patrick and Trish Ahern, 3:31pm (Nov. 22)
Ellen Moore, 3:34pm (Nov. 21)

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Capital Cup championship games illustrate power of community, team

Written by Jake Lloyd

Communications Manger

The fall DC SCORES season came to a close Tuesday afternoon at Cardozo High School during a pair of Capital Cup championship games that demonstrated what the program means to kids, their schools, and their schools' greater communities.

As the Truesdell Education Campus girls team stood for the national anthem alongside their opponent DC International, a large contingent of Truesdell boys stood in the stands. Even as the afternoon light disappeared and the temperature plunged, the boys -- and dozens of parents and community members -- stayed to cheer on the Trojans.

What they saw was incredible. A game-tying goal in the last minute by Nereida M., age 13, which sent the Truesdell contingent into a frenzy. And then a penalty kicks shootout that wasn't decided until Trojans goalie Angela M., 13, saved DCI's sixth shot -- and the Truesdell players piled on top of each other to celebrate.

"Nereida's been a special player all year and if anyone was going to do it, it was going to be Nereida," Truesdell co-coach Adam Zimmermann said. "We talked about leadership at the beginning of the game, and we focused on it with her. She came through for her teammates."


Under the light as spectators huddled closer to each other for warmth, the Raymond Education Campus boys team played like a well-oiled machine. Using one pass after another, the ball rarely sticking to one player's foot, the team in red moved possession up the field and capitalized on their opportunities for a 2-0 win over Capital City Public Charter School.

Raymond's boys have won back-to-back Capital Cup titles, and their girls won it the year before. The reason? They really like each other, according to coach David Petersen.

"This team has been amazing," Petersen said afterward, his players passing the trophy around behind him. "The way they've passed and shared the ball, no one is selfish, no one wants the credit, and they've come together.

"We have a lot of new kids -- some sixth-graders -- and they've all kind of blended. It's been fun to coach."


DC SCORES is a huge part of both schools' communities. And not just the soccer. Zimmermann smiled while recounting what a whirlwind few years of SCORES it's been for Truesdell. Because of immense popularity, the education campus (K-8) added the middle school program in 2014. And now, kids from all grades participate in soccer, writing and service sessions. 

You'll never see a small team from Truesdell at a game day or on stage at the Poetry Slam!. Speaking of that event, the Trojans have won multiple trophies at the Slam! over the past few years including the middle school taking home the coveted Golden Mic award. 

"I think it caps off a really good run," Zimmermann said Tuesday. "Mr (Charles) Robinson has led this program for the last 15 years from barely getting enough players out to having a consistent program with almost two teams of each girls and boys in our middle school and our elementary school as well. 

"So I think that this is one of a series of accomplishments that we're very proud of and I'm most proud that the boys and girls have been able to come together each time to make something special out of each opportunity."

At Raymond, the kids are probably already thinking about the spring DC SCORES season. That's how eagerly they anticipate each session together. And not just the poet-athletes. 

Petersen keeps a text chain with a large group of parents, informing them about schedule changes and other chances to see their kids and support the Raymond community. He wasn't surprised by the dozens of families and friends who came out Tuesday in the chill. 

"When we play at Tubman (Elementary School), a normal game, it's usually the same," Petersen said. "They always come out. The parents have been amazing. They're always very supportive. 

"They give us a lot of love."

And on Tuesday, both Truesdell and Raymond gave those watching an incredible scene, too. 

Friday, November 18, 2016

We are the future -- message rings loud and clear at Eastside Poetry Slam!

Written by Jake Lloyd
Communications Manager

We are all more than just kids. We. Are. The. Future.

And with that line, Burrville Elementary School's poet-athletes -- wearing "Burrville Strong" T-shirts -- summed up the underlying message sent during the second night of the 19th Annual DC SCORES Poetry Slam! at H.D. Woodson High School.

DC SCORES school communities east of Washington, DC's Anacostia River are strong, and never was that more evident than Thursday night when the 20 teams who took the stage collectively told the audience -- and anyone else listening -- what shouldn't have to be said.


"Me and my peers will not shed tears, but we will persevere."
-- KIPP KEY Academy


The night ended just like it had the previous two years -- with Aiton Elementary School's poets, coaches and parents rushing the stage. The Aiton Bears were Golden Mic champions, and no one was arguing.

Donning "Straight Outta Aiton" T-shirts and with their hands shackled by paper-created chains, the Bears delivered yet another powerful, united, inspiring, and thought-provoking performance.

I've been craving dreams to wake up without being assaulted
To live in a place where skin won't define any human
Where people won't gamble with our lives
To not see crying mothers burying their child

Aiton's 8-, 9- and 10-year-old kids interwove black history, today's struggles, and their perseverance beautifully in a performance that spoken word professionals would be proud of.

The Bears punctuated it by raising their chained fists in the air, the paper chains harmlessly falling to the ground, and saying, as one:

Choose to live a life that matters
Choose this day to make your life matter
Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.
Our lives matter 


That theme -- our lives matter -- was present throughout the night in front of the capacity audience. During a time of such uncertainty in our country and our communities, the Slam! was a refreshing reminder that these poet-athletes are wise and strong beyond their years. They may only be single digits in age, but their voices are powerful beyond any sort of measure.

There was Delaney B., 11, of Kelly Miller Middle School, taking the mic, stepping to the front of the stage, and being brutally honest about the disadvantages she faces.

Yes, I understand I may have some ups and downs but ALL people do.
Yes, I am Black but the fact that I’m a girl sometimes makes it even harder.

But Delaney reminded the audience that she's not complaining. She will show the world her fortitude.

I have a dream which is to overcome what you may think of me.


There was Arnye Y., 10, of Thomas Elementary School, with maybe the most captivating solo poem of the evening:

They say man down, but what about woman down?
They say man up, but what about woman up?

If Arnye isn't in public office within two decades, we'll be surprised.


And there was KIPP AIM, decked out in their red school uniforms with one kid holding a sign reading "For our past, our broken brothers," delivering a performance multiple generations of African-American could relate to. If DC's new Smithsonian Museum is looking for children's poetry from the District, it's right here:

For our past, our broken brothers
We are a family
Connected through blood, history, and shared struggle
Why do we fight one another?
We can choose to leave the hardships and troubles in our past
All we need is a breath that lasts
We’ve felt more pain than others
But we’ve been able to withstand it by standing together
We’ve been beaten and broken
Through slavery, segregation, mass incarceration
The wounds may heal and the scars may fade
But the pain of a thousand atrocities pulses through my veins
Beat us down, lock us up
I choose to beat the odds and lock those struggles in the past
I refuse to let this nightmare last


It's too bad President Barack Obama wasn't in attendance, because he was included, too. Because while these DC SCORES teams from the District's most underserved areas decried the circumstances that make their lives difficult, they also made one thing clear:

They're proud. 

Of their school communities. Of their neighborhoods. Of their families (if KIPP QUEST Academy's "I love my Mom because..." poem didn't make you cry, you're one of the few). Of their city. And of their country.

Imagine Hope Tolson's students put on their best Hawaiian fashion, Wearing leis around their necks, the well-educated Soaring Eagles delivered an ode to the president:

Ma-Ha-Lo President Obama
For inspiring youth to reach for their goals.
MA-- HA-- LO
Ma-Ha-Lo President Obama 
For helping to open the new National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Ma-Ha-Lo President Obama
For creating the largest protected marine wildlife preserve in the world.
Ma-Ha-Lo President Obama,
For investing in education, technology, and renewable energy.
Ma-Ha-Lo President Obama

Mashir C., 10, followed this ode with one to his hometown of Washington, DC, listing all the reasons he loves his city.


I have the urge to be me
Myself because I am me
I will not change just for someone just like me

Amidon-Bowen Elementary School delivered these words to start the night, and they rang true for the following two hours. From when emcee Charity Blackwell asked the kids to yell, "I LOVE DC SCORES" and eardrums popped until D.C. United players Travis Worra and Jalen Robinson and Shayne Wells from the Deputy Mayor for Education's office handed out trophies, kids didn't act.

They were themselves. Authentic. Genuine.

Some were serious, such as Jefferson Middle School's Janiah P., 13, who won the Shine Award and helped the Trojans take home the Golden Mic. Others were funny, such as Payne Elementary School with lines like, "When I grow up, I want to rap like Fetty Wap."

All impressed. All cheered for each other.

Our community is strong. Our neighborhoods our strong. Our city is strong. And especially our kids are strong.

That's what came across in the WUSA-9 (CBS) segment during the 11PM news, and that was real.

"We are all more than just kids. We. Are. The. Future."


Elementary Schools
1st place -- Aiton Elementary School
2nd place -- Amidon-Bowen Elementary School
3rd place -- Burrville Elementary School
Spirit Award -- Imagine Hope Tolson
Shine Award -- Arnye Y., Thomas Elementary School

Middle Schools
1st place -- Jefferson Middle School
2nd place -- Kelly Miller Middle School
3rd place -- KIPP KEY Academy
Spirit Awards -- KIPP AIM Academy
Shine Award -- Janiah P., Jefferson

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Light over darkness, our lives matter: A Poetry Slam! full of inspirational messages

Written by Jake Lloyd
Communications Manager

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that

It's impossible to choose one line from Wednesday night's DC SCORES Poetry Slam! that encapsulates the collective message sent by DC kids over the course of three hours.

But that first line from Marie Reed Elementary School, the last of 21 teams to take the stage, is as representative as any.

In front of a standing-room-only audience inside Columbia Heights Education Campus' auditorium, team after team of District youth ages 8-14 expressed their feelings through poetry Wednesday night. Performances were choreographed beautifully. They were often bilingual. They brought laughter from the audience. And tears, too.

During a time in our country when things are uncertain and nerveracking -- particularly for the immigrant youth who made up the majority of the Slam's poet-athletes, and their families who watched with pride -- Wednesday's event was a catharsis of sorts. And reason for optimism.

Kids are incredibly smart, their thoughts nuanced. Kids' voices are powerful, inspirational, impassioned.

We all come from different places, but we all come as one
-- Bancroft Elementary School


If only our country's leaders listened to these kids. Throughout the Slam!, one team after another addressed the issues they're grappling with, but not with vitriol and not by pointing fingers.

Rather, they did so by spelling out and illustrating what truly makes our country, our city, and our neighborhoods great.

"I love my country, I love my home," chanted Capital City Public Charter School's students. "Stop hurting my beautiful people."

Wearing different colored hoodies, Lincoln Middle School's message was clear: "The next time you see me, put some respect on my name."

"If I were in charge of the world, I would ban racism and make sure everyone was safe and not violent," said Chinaedum U. of Barnard Elementary School.

Raymond Middle School took the stage with signs including "Love trumps hate" and messages that resonated with many:

"Everyone has a choice. Start using your voice! America, wake up and do what's right!"

"The soil is the land of many/Who are you to take away our homes of plenty?"


If there's one DC SCORES poet-athlete who exemplies that your size does not determine the influence of your voice, it's Luis R. of Brightwood Education Campus. Decked out in his blue soccer uniform, the 10-year-old led his team's second-place performance and took the microphone with the confidence of a future world leader.

"I stand up for all immigrants in the U.S."

Luis' group-leading performance was followed by Natalia L., also 10, who wowed the crowd with an individual poem that would later win her the Shine Award for best individual performance. When Natalia found out she'd won, she rushed the stage with pure elation, hugging D.C. United coach Ben Olsen who was there to hand her a trophy. 

That moment, as much as any, demonstrated how much the Slam! means to the kids.

Then I got it, 
What if I was an explorer, 
What if I found a place that no one from our people had ever discovered, 
What if in that place kids can run freely, 
Without having to worry about the dangers in the world, 
What if in this world peace there was the number one law, 
And no one dared to break it,
-- Natalia L., 10, Brightwood EC

Ideas. Messages. Hope. The theme continued throughout the evening, one performance blending into another yet standing out for its originality as well. The above-capacity audience stayed for it all. 

LaSalle-Backus' elementary school youth impressed with their poem "Onomatopoeia" and then suggested TLC -- DC SCORES' core values of teamwork, leadership and commitment -- "for the United State of America." Third-place finisher Seaton Elementary asked: 

Don't we have the right to vote? 
Don't we have the right to live? 
Don't we have the right to choose? 
Don't we have the right to work? 
Do we live in a democracy? 

And then answered...

We have, We have a voice 
Nosotros tenemos una voz 
We have, We have a voice 
Nosotros tenemos una voz 

With their faces painted the colors of their home countries' flags, Bancroft's poet-athletes delivered a unifying, bilingual "Where we come from" poem. Then Ramon C., age 9, took the mircophone and described poetically his year-and-a-half journey emigrating to the United States -- including 15 days spent in jail.



By 7:30pm, two hours and 19 performances in, so much had been seen and said that emcee Charity Blackwell could have sent a willing, inspired audience home. Yet two schools remained, and they would both leave the auditorium celebrating winning the Golden Mic trophies. 

KIPP WILL Academy's students could be on the front lines of the Black Lives Matter movement, because their performance's message was unified, clear, passionate, and delivered beautifully -- an individual poem, then a group one, another solo poem, and finally a group one.

"What's the point of having freedom if we aren't really free?" Jaquan W., 12, asked into the mic one moment. The next, his teammates, in their red soccer uniforms, joined him: 

We choose our own fate
Try to make no mistake
Live for the peace.
From the past to the present
(Pause) Life can be pleasant
Live for the peace
You can live rich
And your heart will be switched but
Live for the peace
In the hopes of being suture
(Pause) We can be the future
Live for the peace 

Marie Reed followed KIPP WILL, the kids taking the stage with labels hanging in front of their orange DC SCORES uniforms. "Bad," "violent," "ugly," "selfish," "girl," "uneducated," and more. The poet-athletes proceeded to debunk labels through poetry, punctuating their performance with:

Let’s rip off these labels
And say sayonara
So we can live in a world where
The color of your skin won’t matter to anyone

And with that, the 19th Annual Westside DC SCORES Poetry Slam! had reached its climax. Not every team or poet-athlete left with a trophy half an hour later, but all delivered messages, pleas, hope and inspiration for the hundreds of adult audience members who packed the auditorum.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that


Elementary Schools 
1st place — Marie Reed Elementary School
2nd place — Brightwood Education Campus
3rd place — Seaton Elementary School
Spirit Award — H.D. Cooke Elementary School
Shine Award — Natalia L., Brightwood Education Campus

Middle Schools 
1st place — KIPP WILL
2nd place — Truesdell EducationCampus
3rd place — MacFarland Middle School
Spirit Award — Brightwood Education Campus
Shine Award — Yanina C., Lincoln MIddle School

Monday, November 14, 2016

Bonding with the Bears, Part V: Poetry Slam! final preparations

Every week this fall we will be visiting the Barnard Bears during poetry sessions and soccer games to document the progress of the Bears. Follow along to see how students develop their writing and soccer skills and how the team comes together. We will bring you individual poet-athletes' stories in addition to stories about the team as a whole. Follow along our journey with the Bears on Twitter @DCSCORESInterns & Instagram @DC_SCORES


 Written by Elaine Lu
 Communications Intern

Last week with the Poetry Slam! just days away, the Barnard Bears worked harder than ever to make sure that their poems were the best that they can be.

When I asked the kids how they're feeling leading up to the Slam!, I got mixed reactions. Some said, "I can't wait! I'm so excited to perform in front of so many people!," while others shied away and responded, "I'm really nervous. What happens if I mess up?"

Most of these students have never preformed for such a large audience, so their nerves are completely understandable. Regardless of how the kids were feeling last week, I know that when it is the night of Poetry Slam! each student will have a blast.

Barnard's poem is about the students' ideal world. If you could change one thing in this world, what would you change?

While some students thought of sweet and simpler things, like candy or presents, others thought of larger global problems that other kids their ages face today.

Topics such as poverty, disease, and racism are mentioned in this incredibly profound poem. 

Dairelynn H., a fourth-grader, speaks about childhood cancer in her portion of the poem. "If I were in charge of the world, I would save kids with cancer."

"I came up with the line of my poem because when I saw the news, I heard about kids that were starting to die," she said. "I needed to say in the poem what is happening to them." 

Dairelynn as well as many of the other Barnard Bears are working hard to make their group poem meaningful to the audience to pass along a message. 

Aside from this poem, there will be a performance by four students -- Chinaedum, Lisben, Arilenny and Jeffry -- about perseverance. Additionally, another student, Emerson, will touch on helping others and working hard in his individual poem. 

With this level of inspiration and motivation, the Barnard Bears will definitely change history. I can't wait to see all of the Bears' hard work pay off this Wednesday! Join me by RSVPing for the free Poetry Slam!, which is 5-8pm at Columbia Heights Education Campus.