Elementary students win scholarships in poetry slam competition

Fifth-grade students, representing 33 campuses, had the opportunity to share their hearts through words at a recent districtwide poetry slam competition at Skyline High School. The competition brought students together for the chance to be this year’s poetry slam champions as well as win scholarships.

The Reading Language Arts Department partnered with the Roland Parrish Foundation, which funded the $10,000 in scholarships, to make this competition happen. First place went to Iker I. from Felix G. Botello Personalized Learning Elementary School, second place went to Max R. from William B. Travis Academy/Vanguard for the Academically Talented and Gifted, and third place went to Camila G. from Arturo Salazar Elementary School. 

The first-place winner received $5,000, second-place winner received $3,000, and the third-place winner won $2,000. The students will be able to use the money to attend any college or trade school of their choice. 

“It propels a little bit of the students’ futures—[lets them] think, ‘Hey I was successful in this, and I can be successful in other things,’” said Linda Flores, curriculum coordinator in the Reading Language Arts Department.

The way it worked was the Reading Language Arts Department got the word out to schools to let them know that there was an opportunity for the students to be creative and get their ideas out, but also have a chance to win scholarship money, Flores said. 

“For the students, this is important because it’s a creative outlet that they may or may not have the time to do when they are in school,” Flores said. For the teachers, who are passionate about poetry, it’s an opportunity for them to run with it and to share their passion for poetry on their campus.”

Students were instructed to write a poem on the theme of “Rhythm of My Life,” which could be something significant in their life or something that they felt would relate to that topic. Flores said that having the competition during April, which is National Poetry Month, was intentional. 

Every campus then hosted their own campus poetry slam to select two top winners for their school, with some schools having up to 20 participants. Campuses then submitted a video of their top two winners performing their poems, and the reading department judged the entries in a preliminary competition, using a rubric to determine who were the top 10 finalists.  

This was the first in-person poetry slam competition, because in years past, it had been a virtual event, according to Flores. All the campus winners were invited to come to the poetry slam finals at Skyline, and the reading department had a student and parent reception before the competition started, and all the students received a certificate onstage. 

“We wanted each one to have their moment to shine onstage,” Flores said.

The feedback received from campuses, students and families was positive and the reading department plans to continue hosting the in-person event next year. Campus coordinators were very thankful and excited for their students to get honored in front of their parents and their peers, said Flores. To see a short video of the highlights, visit here. For more information about the poetry slam competition, email linflores@dallasisd.org




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