Poetry Slam: When beautiful ideas are encouraged

Paola Assad, J1 reporter

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This Wednesday April 25th will be the 9th Poetry Slam at Freedom High School since Mrs. Sharon Bussey, Freedom High School librarian, had the idea along with the support of Ms. Bryant (Freedom High School principal) of providing “a platform for young people to express themselves through poetry and a teaching tool to learn and appreciate public speaking”, as Mrs. Bussey described it.

Once upon an elementary

Freedom High School was the first school in Prince William County to ever have a poetry slam. Mrs. Bussey had the idea in her head for a long time, since she was an Elementary School librarian: “I wanted my babies to start having little interactions with poetry and the principal liked the idea, but we couldn’t have made it because we were close to evaluations season and it would distract the kids from the tests”. The next year she came to Freedom, offered the idea to Ms. Bryant and she encouraged it, providing her all the support she needed to start the project.

I was a moon once…

Last year’s Poetry Slam winner was junior Jada Byrd (now senior) with her poem “Moons”, which she described as “a mixture of the expectations we create about men when we’re young girls and the reality that crashes us when we find out the true face of them”. “Moons” is a fierce poem, with marvelous analogies about women and celestial bodies (Moon, stars, Jupiter…) that talks about domestic violence, toxic relationships and lost innocence.

“It all started a day when my grandmother told me that she was a victim of domestic violence, she got married at a very young age and she was manipulated by this man which made her suffer for several years; so, she warned me about this, like: ‘don’t let a man ever make you feel like that or do this’”, Jada said.

“I was a moon once


Back when the galaxies weren’t galaxies

And the stars were just forming.


I was a moon once


In a time moon’s weren’t satellites.

We didn’t need a meaning or a planet to latch on to.

You must be a moon.

I can see it in your eyes.

The way they are searching for home.

You looking like it left you behind.

It must be no more.

It must of died.


You look so uncomfortable.

Like the distance between us and the next star isn’t peaceful.


I hear you calling his names.  

You’re a lost puppy searching for its owner.

Like for some reason he is supposed to be your savior.


You don’t know his history

Young little moon.

This savior that you are reaching to.  

That gas giant.  

Someday he will swallow you.

Leaving nothing but the echo of your innocence.  


His name is Jupiter (…)” Passage from “Moons”, by Jada Byrd.


Spoken poetry has acquired very much popularity lately among American youth, they are using it as a resource to speak their minds out about the themes that haunt them, a lot of times about social issues and how they live it, how they have affect them from their own individualism to the widest collectivism they can perform. “Even though I love and appreciate both written and spoken poetry, I think what I write has a tendency to be performable because I’m use to speak in public and express my feelings and opinions out loud”, Ms. Byrd said.


Hunting poets like mice

When asked about expectations for the next years, Mrs. Bussey implicitly told that she would h

unt poets like little mice, especially male poets: “I want to get more male students involved, because I know boys have a lot to say too and they have just as the same beautiful resources girls must write poetry, and I want them to show it without any fear”. She also said that something that evolves every year and excites her a lot are the trophies, the prizes they give every year to the winner poets and that every year is different, although young poetry always has the same taste, the same intention of questioning it all, of wanting to change everything, of grow every day more and more and learn from it though sometimes it hurts; is the journey of adolescence portrayed in this event that started as an idea and now it’s a whole phenomenon that embraces poetry and the fearless youth: “As long as I’m here I want to provide this platform for students to express themselves”, Mrs. Bussey concluded.

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