This week, two DC SCORES students will travel to New York City for the seventh annual America SCORES National Poetry SLAM!, held Monday at the New York Stock Exchange.
During the weekend, Kastenny Contreras of Marie Reed Elementary School and Christian Brown of Tubman Elementary School will meet other poets from SCORES' 14 nationwide affiliates; explore New York City; and, finally, perform their original poems on the big stage.
Before their special trip, we caught up with the two outstanding poets to learn more about them and what inspires them to write their poems.
Kastenny Contreras, age 10
Marie Reed Elementary School
Kastenny became a DC SCORES star at the 15th Annual Poetry Slam! last November with her poem 'Diamond.' When Kastenny was announced as the winner of the Shine Award for most outstanding individual performance, she teared up a bit in accepting the trophy.
Kastenny gives all the credit for her success in writing and performing poetry to her DC SCORES writing coach Ms. Silva, who "inspired me to do poetry."
"I love poetry because of the feeling when you speak," Kastenny added.
When Kastenny isn't playing soccer for Marie Reed or writing poetry, she enjoys helping others.
"I give solutions for people when they have a problem," she said.
That selfless attitude should gain Kastenny many new admirers in New York, where she "hopes to make new friends and have fun."
Christian Brown, age 11
Tubman Elementary School
The title of Christian's poem is simple -- 'Life' -- and it perfectly illustrates how he views poetry: As a means through which he can write about his feelings, whether good or bad.
"You can express yourself in different moods," Christian said.
Christian is inspired by his family members, whom he describes as being extremely loving and "helping me when I need help." He uses the lessons learned from them to "help other people by giving them advice, helping them with school work, and encouraging them."
Christian's favorite DC SCORES memory stems from the fall, when he and his Tubman teammates rushed the stage at Columbia Heights Education Campus to receive their third-place trophy at the Poetry Slam!.
Christian's favorite poet is Langston Hughes, and he can't wait to not only see the Statue of Liberty during his trip to the Big Apple but also recite his poem under the bright lights of the Stock Exchange.
Learn more about the America SCORES Poetry SLAM! here.