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Tuesday, November 17, 2015

DC SCORES is Leadership: Betelihem finds her confidence through poetry

DC SCORES is Leadership. On Giving Tuesday, Give the Gift of Leadership to a DC kid in need.

Written by Jake Lloyd
Communications Manager

Betelihem’s tears were once born from sadness. They now flow from joy.

Betelihem entered DC SCORES in 3rd grade, a reserved child broken from being on the receiving end of her peers’ endless taunting. She feared going to school in the morning, let alone staying after. That was all until she received her first DC SCORES poetry journal.

Betelihem’s DC SCORES coaches provided her consistent encouragement, making sure she knew that nothing she wrote would be judged. Slowly, she opened up. By the fall of her 5th grade year, Betelihem no longer lived in angst.

In fact, when it came time for her team to choose the solo poem for the Poetry Slam!, Betelihem confidently volunteered. Then when her teammates expressed their nervousness before the team's performance, Betelihem was the one reassuring them, saying, "It's going to be fine."

Little did her younger teammates know then that Betelihem had been equally anxious about her solo performance, "The Big B," especially when she accidentally skipped a line during a final practice at school. At the time, she told her coach Shannon Nelson, "I can't do this in front of everyone."

Nelson responded, "Oh, yes you can. No one even noticed you missed a line. Your whole class has your back. You are going to own that stage."

And that's exactly what Betelihem did last December, as she cried tears of joy in front of more than 500 people after a powerful and emotional performance. She then clutched Brightwood's 2nd-place trophy, sharing the triumph with teammates who’d chosen her as their leader.

What had been unimaginable two years before became her reality.

Given the chance to express herself and with the constant encouragement of her peers and coaches, Betelihem grew from a self-doubting third-grader to a strong and inspirational leader in fifth grade. There's no doubt she will continue to lead and positively influence others for years to come.

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