Editor’s Note: The following story was written by a student in our Urban Youth International Journalism Program in partnership with Paul Robeson High School. The UYIJP is generously funded by the McCormick Foundation.
I am a senior at Paul Robeson’s High School, and I am a member in Robeson’s poetry group started by Ms. Twine the poetry coach we call Endless Words. I joined the group Endless Words January 30, 2014 and we talked about upcoming events. But in order to be a part of the event you had to recite a poem to the poetry coach Ms. Twine. Ms. Twine needed to hear a recited poem because one of the events was scheduled three days after the practice day. So we only had a day to write the poem and one day to practice the poem, which she wanted us to memorize. The event was called “Louder than a Bomb”.
Louder than a Bomb was held at Columbia College in Chicago at 2 p.m. It was a small auditorium and our group, Endless Words, was competing against other schools like Simeon and Harper. There was a DJ playing music and then a speaker came up to tell us some rule. Points were taken off for profanity but the space is supposed to be like your living room, so we were encouraged to be comfortable, but to please respect the microphone. A member from each competing group had to come up and pull a card with an alphabet on them to determine the speaking order. Our group was second to speak. I was last to go out of our group and it was very nerve-wracking. I walked upon the stage and looked at the judges, and then I noticed every pair of eyes in the room was on me. My heart dropped while there was total silence. I tapped to check the microphone; I took a deep breath and spoke.
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