Central and McClellan Take Top Three Spots at "Poets for Passion" Poetry Slam

Two Central students and one student from McClellan high school took the top three spots and bragging rights for a year at the 12th annual Little Rock School District “Poets with Passion,”  Poetry Slam sponsored by J.A. Fair High School. Photo from left: Junior Evan Yi, Central High School, took first place in the “Poets for Passion,” district wide poetry slam competition on Dec. 1; senior Donald Price, McClellan High School, placed third, and sophomore Jourdan Lee, Central High School, earned second place.
Junior Evan Yi of Central High School took first place and a prize of $350, sophomore Jourdan Lee took second place and a prize of $200, and senior Donald Price, of McClellan High School, took third place and the prize of $100.

Click here to read first place winner's poem.


For the competition, students had to write three original poems, memorize them, and perform their pieces in three separate elimination rounds before a live audience.
Terrell Young, who graduated from JA Fair in 2009 was the sacrificial poet and delivered the evening’s first slam poem. Young explained to students the profound affect the Poets for Passion program has had on his life. Young  is currently working his way through college.
Judges for the slam were Carol Carter, secondary literacy and lead teacher at the Instructional Resource Center for the district, Beverly Thrasher, the literacy coach for Metropolitan Career Technical Center, the Accelerated Learning Center, and for Hamilton Learning Academy; Dr. Tracey Moore, professor for Arkansas Baptist College; Jessica Otto, professor at Pulaski Technical College, and Ms. Carol Carter, secondary literacy and lead teacher at the Instructional Resource Center for the district.
Competing students made it to the district rounds through smaller competitions at their respective schools. The top five students from each school were sent to the district wide competition at JA Fair High School.  Hall High School declined to enter the competition this year.
Although five students each from McClellan, JA Fair, Central and Parkview were set to compete on Dec. 3 in the JA Fair auditorium, 15 actually made it to the stage.
The 15 students who participated were: Shakima Kelly, Infinity Wallace, Victoria Golden, Evan Yi and Jourdan Lee, all of Central High School; Kayla Krippendorf, Lexie Baltzley, Haley Eich, and Chloe Thomason of Parkview; Brayonna Sanders and Donald Price of McClellan; Justice Woods, Domonique King, Asia Suggs, and Sasshanae Smith of JA Fair High School.
After each of the 15 students performed, five students were eliminated and the following students made it to the second round: Victoria Golden, Infinity Wallace, Lexi Baltzley, Haley Eich, Donald Price, Evan Yi, Jourdan Lee, Justice Woods, Asia Suggs, and Domonique King.
The ten remaining students had a second poem written and memorized, and then performed it after a brief intermission. Only half of the students from the second round made it to the final round.
Students in round three were Evan Yi, Jourdan Lee, and Infinity Wallace of Central High School, Donald Price of McClellan High School, Lexie Baltzley of Parkview High School. Each had to perform a final, original poem that they had written and memorized.  
Competition in the final round was extremely tough, and all three students who placed in the competition gave stirring performances on complicated and meaningful pieces that brought a rousing round of applause.
Poetry Club sponsors and creative writing teachers sponsored and coached the students at their high schools to get them ready for the Saturday competition. Those sponsors were JA Fair sponsor Ms. Christina Cereghini. Cereghini also coordinated the district wide event that was hosted at her high school. Central’s sponsor was Stacy McAdoo, McClellan’s sponsors were Lanniece Lewis and Katina Harper, and Parkview’s sponsor was Judith Murray.
Proceeds of the event will benefit the LaPara Nicole Washington Memorial Fund for Literacy, created in honor of LaPara Washington, co founder of the Poets with Passion Poetry Slam and Literacy Coach of JA Fair High School until her death in the summer of 2011. The Passion Poetry Slam’s monetary awards are funded entirely through donations from the community. If you would like to donate to this outstanding cause, please call sponsor Christina Cereghini at 447-1700.