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FEBRUARY 9, 2005

Aurora Central Students to Hold First “Slam” Competition

Students at Aurora Central High School have discovered a new type of performance reading, known as “spoken word,” or “poetry slams.” Although new to the Denver area, spoken word is one of the hottest artistic trends sweeping the nation.

On Feb. 11, Aurora Central students will compete in their first slam competition for a chance to go to San Francisco for the International Youth Poetry Slam and Festival. A panel of local writers, educators and community leaders will select a team of five spoken word artists to perform at the event in April. Festival sponsor Youth Speaks, the nation’s premier spoken word program, will provide travel and lodging expenses for the winning team.

The student writers at Aurora Central are Aurora’s first poetry writing and performance group of its kind. Since September 2004, students have taken part in writing workshops and monthly slams, where they share their writing and speak out about the experiences of their lives. The concept brings together students of all races and cultures to communicate and learn from each other.

"Spoken Word has been a great way for me to get my deepest feelings out,” said Rocio Macias, Aurora Central student. “It has helped me improve my writing and listening skills, and it has made a huge impact on how I view life.”

Aurora Central teachers, Jennifer Berwick and Antoinette Brunner, initiated spoken word in their Chicano and African American literature classes. The two teachers partnered with the Community College of Aurora to develop writing workshops for their students. The college also provides a team of mentors who work with students and host the monthly slam.

Berwick hopes to expand the concept to other APS schools. “A year ago, I never thought the opportunity for spoken word would change our school,” she said. “Then I took twenty students to see The Chicano Messengers of the Spoken Word, and their fire ignited. The students truly find empowerment through their voices.”

The Aurora Central High School slam competition will be held on Feb. 11 at 3 p.m. in the gymnasium at William Smith Alternative High School, 875 Peoria Street.

Communication Services

Georgia Durán, Director
303-344-8060, ext. 28015
FAX: 303-326-1939
e-mail: georgiad@admin.aps.k12.co.us

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