Get Lit team brings power, emotion to Classic Slam

Students placed third in poetry competition

David Diaz

 

First-time poets from the Get Lit team poured their heart and soul out on stage through spoken word poetry at this year’s Classic Slam.

“I was nervous but I wanted to overcome the challenge and have a great experience,” junior Katie Lashley said.

Lashley was one of the poets to perform for the Classic Slam at the Los Angeles Theater Center on April 29. Like most poets on the Daniel Pearl Magnet High School (DPMHS) Get Lit team, this was her first year competing.

She recited the classic poem “The room of my life” by Anne Sexton and performed her original poem “A Tale About a Mirror.” Her response poem captured the beauty of her

I was nervous but I wanted to overcome the challenge and have a great experience.”

— Junior Katie Lashley

younger self and her struggle, which gained an overwhelming positive reaction from the crowd.

“After performing I was relieved because according to my teammates, the judges liked me and I did quite well,” Lashley said.

DPMHS’ Get Lit team, which is coached by English teacher Ron Baer, attended the fifth annual, quarter final Classic Slam event. The DPMHS Get Lit Team placed third with a total of 113.2 points.

“The important thing was that everyone grew. I was happy we beat two other schools but I was more happy to see our poets grow as people,” Baer said.

Get Lit was introduced as a curriculum to decrease dropout rates in Los Angeles and increase literacy in teens. More than 25,000 teens are involved in Get Lit each year.

“They were really good. They progressed a lot. All the poets did an amazing job and got the response they deserved,” junior Ruby Rodriguez said.

In theater two, Lashley and DPMHS freshmen poets Amanda Jimenez, Emely Felix and Dayanara Arce-Gom waited anxiously as other high schools such as Hamilton, Sylmar, Alhambra and Camino Nuevo filled up the crowd. Each school sent up one poet for four rounds. Each was scored by originality, content and accuracy.

“I cannot qualify bravery. What everyone did here today was astonishing,” said Jeremy Radin, Get Lit host of theater two.

Radin introduced each team as they went up and recited their poems. Breaking the ice between each emotional poem, he congratulated the poets and talked about relatable things that made the crowd laugh. The audience was very supportive of every poet. Everyone cheered for all the poets because they acknowledged how hard it was to be so vulnerable in front of such a large crowd.

“There was a strong sense of pride-a strong sense of family. We were all tied together by one common thing: poetry,” junior Giselle Rizo said.

The important thing was that everyone grew. I was happy we beat two other schools but I was more happy to see our poets grow as people.”

— English Teacher Ron Baer

The poets spent two months practicing for the Classic Slam. Jimenez recited “Perfection Wasted” by John Updike and performed her response poem “Haunted,” which is about how she is haunted by overthinking and disapproves of her mother.

“I felt empowered because I really didn’t believe that I’d get such an understanding reaction from the crowd and I just felt like my voice was being heard,” Jimenez said.