DPMHS’ Get Lit team finds solace in quarterfinals competition loss

Maria Ruiz

Julissa Rangel

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Nervous laughter, the inaudible utterance of prayers and a sea of tightly-joined hands filled a congested room of the Los Angeles Theatre Center as an audience of high schoolers waited for judges to tally up the results of the eighth annual Get Lit Classic Slam Quarterfinals.

“In fourth place, give it up for Daniel Pearl,” host Natalie Patterson said.

The 38 Daniel Pearl Magnet High School students in attendance all seemed to wear the same grim, defeated expression as the statement was announced but still managed to cheer for this year’s Get Lit team, coached by English teacher Ron Baer. The team, comprised of sophomores Adrienne Bangert, Stephanie Pynes, juniors Andionne Mendoza and Jason Echeverria, scored fourth place in the first round of an all-day poetry slam against three other schools on April 25, deeming them ineligible for admittance to the semifinals.

“It was unexpected,” Mendoza said. “But had I conditioned myself (to accept) that we wouldn’t make it into semifinals.”

The two-day quarter and semifinals competition that precedes the Get Lit Grand Slam Finals this coming Saturday evaluates student poets from over 100 schools in California, making it the largest youth poetry slam in the world. Of the first eight schools that competed, the Get Lit Scratch and AV Academy teams both emerged victorious, meaning they advance to the highly competitive finals for the prestigious title of this year’s Get Lit Classic Slam winners.

Despite this being the team’s second consecutive loss, Baer finds solace in knowing he’s gained more experience as a leader and adviser. Teammates also agree that the experience was rewarding because it allowed them to fearlessly connect with the audience through their work.

“There’s no cookie cutter way for making it to semifinals,” Baer said. “I don’t think we can change what we’ll do or what we achieved.”

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