BY IMAN UMAIR-QAISER
Pictured left to right: Poets Iman, Kyera, Michael, Cady, and Jessika display their winnings at the Halton Spoken Word Championship
Remember that spoken word workshop MD had a few weeks ago? The one with Dwayne Morgan? Oh yeah. MD’s fling with spoken word poetry didn’t end there.
At the end of the session, our English teachers and Mr. Morgan announced that there would be a Halton Spoken Word competition upcoming in December, and invited students who wanted to participate to sign up for meetings and auditions. After the workshop that involved over 50 people, 15 signed up to audition for the MD team.
Students met every Friday after the workshop to write and brainstorm with their fellow poets, all vying for a chance at victory by passing the auditions and competing in the school board’s secondary competition.
The field of 15 narrowed to eight who auditioned on December 1st. Four were selected, as well as an extra student to serve as an alternate. Chosen by the other competing students present at the audition, purely out of talent, the competitors were truly worthy of performing in MD’s name. However, due to extenuating circumstances one of the team members was unable to compete and the alternate competed in her place.
The night of the competition arrived. The team members made their way to The Milton Staff Learning Centre December 7th. A few of the senior members were concerned about the fact that MD’s Senior Semi was the same night, and therefore requested to perform first; however, the contest only lasted an hour and a half, so the seniors stuck through to see who would be the winner of the contest.
Pictured left to right: Cady and Jessika display a strong team performance together.
The contest worked like this: There were four rounds. Each school took a turn and sent up one performance per round. After a poet completed their piece, three judges each gave it a mark out of 10.0, for a complete score out of 30. Once all the schools had sent up all four of their acts, the points for each school’s performer were totaled to give a score out of 120. The school with the highest total wins.
For the first round, MD set off the competition with its headstrong duo performance, Jessika Johnson and Cady Bishop, both seniors, who performed a bold piece #MeToo on body standards and harassment against women.
The second round took a softer but nonetheless significant approach, as Michael Abes, a sophomore, performed his insightful poem on self-love.
The third round gave Iman Umair-Qaiser, a freshman who also performed with P. L. Robertson last year at the school board’s elementary competition, with a menacing piece on the struggles between Islam and North American culture, titled “Piety and Society”.
For the fourth and final round, MD ended strong with Kyera Bedard, a freshman who also performed with Anne J. MacArthur at the elementary competition and placed first out of the six schools; Kyera performed a powerful piece on the struggles of growing up as a mixed-race person in a single parent household.
Pictured above: Kyera passionately recites her poem
After an invigorating fourth and final round, breaths were held and time stopped as the final scores were announced. At 109.3 points out of 120, the MD team members received medals and trophies to commemorate their victory, and there were countless photos and handshakes given to the winning team members, as well as the other teams.
As a person who hates talking to and in front of people, taking pictures, and sharing poetry out loud, I can honestly say it was one of the best nights of my life.
Congratulations to our Spoken Word team- Jessika, Cady, Michael, Iman, and Kyera- and to all who came out to audition as well. Last but most certainly not least, we would like to thank our wonderful teachers, Ms. Gleeson and Mrs. Compton-Morgan, and our guest spoken word poet, Dwayne Morgan, for giving us students a chance for our voices to be heard.
Pictured above, from left to right: Michael stands with special guest star Dwayne Morgan after the contest
Here’s to all the words we’ve said, to all the words we want to say, and all the words we are yet to say.