8th Graders Put on a Show at Tri-Valley’s Fourteenth Annual Poetry Slam

On March 27, 2024, the fourteenth annual 8th Grade Poetry Slam took place at Tri-Valley Central School. Forty-six 8th grade students took to the stage to compete in the event. The evening event was watched by a crowd made up of parents, students, teachers, staff, and administrators.

A large part of a Poetry Slam is the performance aspect and the students certainly didn’t disappoint. Each student, or group of students, memorized an originally written poem and then delivered the poem with their best sense of emotion and theatrics. The audience showed their appreciation by responding to several of the poems with applause and laughter, but perhaps the best part of the night was witnessing the kids come together as one to support and encourage each other throughout the event.

Avery Carrier, Grace Nichols, and Abby Rusin were crowned 2024 Poetry Slam champions for their poem “To Want.” Elle Stanley was the runner-up with her poem “Starting Fresh.” Matthew Cuji Angamarca and Matthew Ortiz Jimenez finished in third place with their poem “Live Life.” Finally, Gage Houghtaling and Carter Ukaj and their poem “What School Makes” and Jiya Patel and her poem “The True Definition of Life” shared the Performance Award.

The event was hosted by 9th grade students Allyson Chevalier, Anna Furman, and Janiel Prado, last year’s Performance Award winners. Ms. Jessica Dymond—Tri-Valley Librarian—served as the event’s guest poet. She performed her poem titled “What Did I Do?”

Judges for the Poetry Slam included 2023 Poetry Slam 3rd Place finishers, Juliana Adams and Rebecca Squires; 2023 Poetry Slam 2nd Place finishers, Aaron Edwards and Chris Prousalis; 2023 Poetry Slam Champion Hiram Roman; 2021 Poetry Slam Champion Jenna Carmody; 2020 Poetry Slam Champion Lily Siciliano; and 2011 Poetry Slam Champion Bridget Glinski.

The Tri-Valley Annual Poetry Slam was organized by 8th grade ELA teacher Michelle Einloth, 8th grade ELA teacher Matt Haynes, 8th grade special education teacher Deb Swett, and ENL teacher John Theo.

Overall, the event was a huge success and it couldn’t have brought more pride to all of those involved. Congratulations again to all of the participating 8th graders—hopefully it’s something they won’t soon forget!

2024 8th Grade Poetry Slam Participants

Picture Caption 1 (from left to right): Carter Ukaj (Performance Award); Gage Houghtaling (Performance Award); Jiya Patel (Performance Award); Grace Nichols (2024 Champion); Avery Carrier (2024 Champion); Abby Rusin (2024 Champion); Elle Stanton (2nd Place); Matthew Cuji Angamarca (2nd Place); Matthew Ortiz Jimenez (2nd Place)