On Jan. 17 and 18, San Gabriel High School (SGHS) held its sixth annual Get Lit campus slam in the auditorium. In this competition, 23 poets walked up on the stage and voiced their truths through spoken word poetry. Students had to memorize and recite a classic poem as well as perform an original response.
The poetry curriculum itself is taught by English teachers Cady Burkhart, Jessica Sandercock, and Jordan Vogel. Typically, there are class competitions, and the top poets of each respective class go on to the SGHS slam.
“If you want to join, then join it, man,” junior David Clemente, a performer, said. “Everybody is really supportive; even when you forget your poem, they’re not laughing at you.”
The poetry slam is more than just a competition. It is a way to vent and disclose your truth for many poets.
“I think [the reason I was so nervous] was because I was literally spilling my truth out and it’s scary, but it’s crazy awesome,” senior Miriam Flores, a performer, said. “My mama is what inspired me; she’s my rock and best friend so I wanted to write for her.”
The events were hosted by Get Lit representative Paul Mabon and SGHS slam team alumnus Alex Luu. The latter’s main muse was his Asian-American identity, and he continues to shed light on that by means of spoken word and literature like his book, “Yellow Boy.”
“I write words and say them out loud to people,” Luu said. “I try to incorporate my culture in the things I do, say, and wear.”
Wednesday’s top poets had a tie with both seniors Erika Duran and Alina Hurtado in first place, and senior Carlos Carrillo in second. Thursday’s selection had senior Samantha Clark in first place, junior Echo Dieu in second, and senior Amy Pabon in third. Those who place do not necessarily gain a spot on the slam team, but are guidelines to possible candidates.
“We are so excited about this year and are incredibly confident that we are going to have a very strong and competitive team,” slam team co-coach Jordan Vogel said.
The members of this year’s team are seniors Erika Duran, Patricia Lipana, and Tabby Perez, and juniors Echo Dieu, Donna Hernandez, and Thomas Uranga. The alternates are seniors Kevin Contreras and Amy Pabon.
“Being on the team is the biggest thing to me and has been since my freshman year,” Perez said. “It’s great being a part of something when you’re surrounded by love and are able to speak your mind with amazing people.”
The Get Lit slam team will be performing later in April. Until then, they encourage all to join Young Aspiring Writers with Power, (YAWP) if they want to hear, write or recite poetry.