New Team, New Voices preparing for Get Lit Grand Slam

Melissa Hernandez

Team coach Ron Baer expresses to the team the importance of integrating emotion into their performance and their poetry.

Julissa Rangel

Junior Emely Felix recites her poems with power and emotion that will guide the new team to this year’s Get Lit competition.

“We have a great team this year,” team coach Ron Baer said. “They’re articulate, enthusiastic, we as a team are going far this year.”

Get Lit is a poetry program where students learn about classic and response poems which show who they are. The program has been active for over three years at Daniel Pearl Magnet High School with English teacher Ron Baer as coach. The new team has six members: juniors Felix, Kirsten Cintigo, Rudraj Koppikar, Justin Dumidin and seniors Jade Ajileye and Angel Rivera.

Get Lit hosts competitions where about 50 schools from all over Southern California gather to compete in a competition known as The Classic Slam,  where high school students go against each other with their classic and response poems. This year’s judges are rapper Duckwrth, poet Neil Hilborn, Demi Adejuyigbe, Danielle Brazell, Gina Belfafonte and Rhiannon McGavin. The year’s first Classic Slam competition will be held on April 26 and 27 at the Los Angeles Theater.

Over the course of the program, the school’s Get Lit team has participated in previous competitions. Last year’s team poured their hearts out into their poetry and convinced the judges that they deserved to move on to the semifinals.

“There are no awards but we went to the semifinals last year. There’s no award for that. I get a lot out of it as a teacher,” Baer said. “I get to see real amazing growth in students, of them becoming different people, of them just growing up becoming these big voices that maybe weren’t there before.”

Previous Get Lit members have rejoined the team to continue their poetic passion and help their fellow members spark the same flame. The meetings are held Thursdays during lunch in room 14 where they’ll be doing breathing exercises and practicing their poems. Some will attend Saturday poetry classes to learn to overcome the fear of performing in front of a crowd.

The new team is determined to win this year. They’ll be practicing more and more to get every member ready for the competition. No matter what lies ahead for them, they will be prepared for anything the Classic Slam throws at them.

“We are going to the finals. I am not lying about this. I am not just saying it. This is a really strong team.” Baer said. “This is a powerhouse we have on our hands. No matter what judges say, no matter what actually happens, this team is a powerhouse.”