The belief “words ignite” defined Thursday’s Get Lit Classic Slam Quarterfinals and Semifinals competition and the Daniel Pearl Magnet High School team embodied that idea, lighting a fire with their poetry. After both events, the team placed fourth overall.
“The poets were so great,” said DPMHS Get Lit coach Ron Baer. “There were so many times during the day that I was like, ‘We can do this. We can really do this.’ You know, scores are what they are but I’m so proud of them.”
DPMHS competed in the Classic Slam Quarterfinals and Semifinals, which were part of the tenth annual poetry slam competition run by Get Lit. The DPMHS team, made up of juniors Emily Flores, Sylvana Prieto Medina, William Myers and freshman Madyson Phillips, competed live via Zoom against students from Venice High School, Alhambra High School, Hamilton High School and Los Angeles School of Global Studies. The team placed fourth in the Quarterfinals and third in the Semifinals.
During the competition, poets recited classic poems written by well-known poets, as well as their own original works. Prieto Medina represented DPMHS for the first round, performing the classic poem “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou and her original poem “Disobedience.”
“Poetry for me is a way of expressing myself in words,” Prieto Medina said. “It’s about not being afraid.”
During the next round, Phillips recited the poem “That Girl” by Marquesha Babers and her original poem “Happy Smile.” Phillips was both excited and nervous leading up to the performance. She is proud of how her team performed, reminding everyone not to be hard on themselves.
“My poem was mainly about a lot of struggles and a lot of hardships that I’ve experienced in life,” Phillips said. “I thought, ‘I might as well speak my truth now.’ I also think a lot of people can relate to the things I said.”
Myers went third during both the Quarterfinals and Semifinals, reciting the classic poem “Confronting Hatred” by Rudy Francisco and his original poem “I’m Fine.” During the practices leading up to the Classic Slam, Myers’ stress increased but during the performance, Myers felt confident and his worries faded.
“It’s a way of expressing your vulnerable side,” Myers said. “People see me as a happy person and everything but I feel like there’s more sides to me. I may be happy on the outside but I’m still human.”
Flores performed last during the Quarterfinals, ending that event on a high note. They recited the classic poem “Expert” by Tupac Shakur and their original poem “Confront Me.”
“It was a way for me to put myself out there,” Flores said. “Poetry helps me get out of my comfort zone.”
Although the DPMHS team will not move on to Finals, they are proud of their effort and the practice they put in. Baer is already looking forward to the future.
“I’m excited about next year,” Baer said. “I want to go back and do really well. I’m excited about the people here and I’d love to do it again.”