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Students use spoken word to win scholarships

Special to The Dallas Examiner | 3/27/2019, 10:24 p.m.
The inaugural Dallas ISD poetry slam was a promising opportunity for students to showcase their talent for words and performance ...
Local Dallas businessman, Roland Parrish, pictured with recipients of the $10,000 scholarships awarded to the top three Dallas ISD participants. From left: Evan Smith from Jimmie Tyler Brashear Elementary School; Otto Darnell from Eduardo Mata Elementary School; and Heidi Trinidad from the School for the Talented and Gifted in Pleasant Grove. Dallas ISD

Special to The Dallas Examiner

The inaugural Dallas ISD poetry slam was a promising opportunity for students to showcase their talent for words and performance and earn money toward their future as excited students, proud parents and supportive peers filled the auditorium at the Edison Learning Center.

Participating students competed for scholarship awards that totaled $10,000 – $5,000 for the first place winner, $3,000 for second place and $1,000 for third. The donation from business entrepreneur Roland Parrish provided a stepping stone for youth to achieve opportunities in higher education.

This competition was a collaborative effort of the Dallas ISD Reading Language Arts Department and the Racial Equity Office, which partnered with Flocabulary, to give students an opportunity to express themselves through the power of poetry.

Flocabulary artist Ike Ramos discussed the power behind poetry.

“Poetry is a great way to have a voice,” said Ramos. “You’re cultivating a skill that’s relatable to so many areas and opportunities in life.”

More than 100 fifth-grade students from 60 schools exhibited their talent and literary creativity under the theme, “Me, My Community, My Future,” which challenged students to write and perform poetry related to their communities, using the power of voice and dramatic gestures to bring their words to life. Ultimately, three winning students emerged as they expressed their communal visions and empowering messages through their slam performances.

Otto Darnell from Eduardo Mata Elementary School won first place, Heidi Trinidad from the School for the Talented and Gifted in Pleasant Grove came in second, and Evan Smith from Jimmie Tyler Brashear Elementary School was third.

All three winners will receive their scholarship money upon high school graduation and will also have the opportunity to perform at the annual “Read for Me” event Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at W.H. Adamson High School, located at 201 E. 9th St. Presented by the Dallas ISD Language, Literacy and Social Studies Department, the festival is free and offers interactive literacy activities for all grade levels. Also, a free breakfast and lunch will be served. There will also be guest speakers and giveaways that will include more than 10,000 books.