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Monday, April 4, 2011

Meet our National Poetry SLAM! participants, Dallas O. and Akilae S.

Akilae S., Tubman Elementary School
A week from tonight, DC SCORES will be front and center on stage at one of America’s most history-rich entertainment venues.

No, this isn’t a late April Fools' Day joke.

As part of the America SCORES National Poetry SLAM!, two DC SCORES poet-athletes are traveling to New York City next weekend to tour the city, meet students from our affiliates and, ultimately, perform their original poems on stage at the Apollo.

Dallas O., 11, of Arts and Technology Academy and Akilae S., 11, of Tubman Elementary School will be representing for our program. Both have a little bit of experience on stage, having read their poems at the Poetry Slam! in December and recited them live on NBC’s midday news show.

Both poets-athletes are looking forward to the trip.

“I’m very excited to go to New York City and (participate in) the Poetry SLAM! because people in their lifetimes don’t get to go to New York,” Dallas said.

Added Akilae: “I am looking forward to meeting new people and making new friends. Most of all, have fun. I hope to take lots and lots of pictures!”
Dallas O., Arts and Technology Academy

Dallas counts poetry as one of many hobbies. She also plays the piano, viola and clarinet, and competes in soccer – of course – as well as tennis, swimming and running.

Her favorite athlete is Serena Williams and she is inspired by Oprah Winfrey "because she gives back to the community and doesn’t want anything in return.”

Dallas’ favorite poet is Langston Hughes and she “loves poetry because I am sending people a good message.”

Akilae’s parents are both artists and play instruments, which has helped push him toward the arts. He is interested in learning to drum and sing, and besides poetry he also acts, swims and plays soccer and football.

His favorite memory is scoring his first goal in a DC SCORES game, his favorite subject is history, and he prides himself on being kind and polite to other people.

“Spreading kindness and being polite will create a war-free world,” Akilae said.

Akilae enjoys the cadence of poetry, saying, “It’s fun to listen to others’ rhythm and to read and find that rhythm yourself.

“The rhythm of poetry has me tapping my feet.”

Next Monday night, audience members at the famed Apollo will be tapping their feet to Dallas’ and Akilae’s words. Get to know DC SCORES’ national SLAM! representative a little better through their poetry below:

I have the Potential
I have the potential to be the BEST
But all you see are results on a test
The DC-CAS doesn’t assess my true abilities
Provide me with a quality education and I’ll achieve proficiency
I’m tired of teachers teaching to a test
Then we leave school and still don’t measure up against the rest!
Let’s buckle up and not settle for less
And work together to be the nation’s best
In years to come you will hear and speak my name
In our nation’s capital or on Hollywood’s Walk of Fame
Remember…..I have the potential to be the BEST, but just know that my worth
is more than just the results on some standardized test!
Dallas O.
Arts and Technology Academy


The Speech
I’m the speech of human kind
But no one cares
Because I’m black.
I learned. I worked.
but not free
I have a lot of work
Till I’m free.
But no one I know has
Freedom cause their skin
Is the color of me.
Nat Turner fought for his freedom
All I see is freedom
Brave, big and bold
All I see is Harriet Tubman
Zoom, zoom she’s gone
In a flash,
To the north
And I see other slaves
From the back.
No matter the pain
There’s power in Black
My words in black
I’m proud of my freedom
And proud to be black.
Akilae S.
Tubman Elementary School

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