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Monday, November 4, 2013

Inside the notebook at Imagine Hope Community Charter Part V: Luis comes out of his shell, performs his poem

Each week throughout the fall DC SCORES season, I will be accompanying the students of the Tolson campus of Imagine Hope Charter on their journey through DC SCORES' Power of Poetry curriculum. This will include weekly content posted on TwitterInstagramFlickr, and this blog. Follow these talented kids as they learn to express themselves through one of the purest forms of art. You can stay in touch with me by following me on Twitter at @DCSCORESInterns and @DCSCORES. Enjoy!

-- Brady Smithsund, Fall 2013 Intern


One of the goals of last Wednesday's poetry session at Imagine Hope was to begin the process of deciding which student might perform their solo poem at the DC SCORES Poetry Slam! in early December. This is a crucial part of the DC SCORES Power of Poetry curriculum, as the Poetry Slam! is the premier — and culminating — event of the fall season. With a small group of students present, Ms. Kuehl suggested that everyone read aloud their recently written “Who Am I?” poems to me.

The first thing I noticed was that the students present were, incidentally, the ones who spoke up the least in class. One student, Luis, was possibly the shyest boy in in DC SCORES. At previous poetry sessions when I tried to introduce myself and the other students encouraged him to share, he remained quiet. On this occasion, though, he was a completely new person.

Luis greeted me when I walked in and hugged me when I left. And he even stood up in front of me and the class and performed his “Who Am I?” poem. It was beautifully written. I was surprised by the fact that he hadn’t spoken up before. This kid can write!

Now he was heard!

The rest of the students then performed their poems about poverty. This culminated in a group poem performed by more than half of the class. Lasting for a few minutes, the students touched on issues such as poverty, starvation, heritage and suffrage. I knew what these students were capable of, but I didn’t expect them to talk about these issues with such great depth.

Surprised and fulfilled, I left Imagine Hope with a smile on my face following a great poetry session.

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