Steinbrenner is known to have one of the only literary magazines in Hillsborough county, called the Echo. The teacher who runs the magazine, Eric Vona, and the school Librarian, Jennifer Dillion, host a Poetry slam every year. A poetry slam is where people come together and perform slam poems in a contest in front of an audience and a panel of judges.
Steinbrenner’s own rendition of a poetry slam, the Poetry Jam, has been going strong for over eight years and a student is chosen to go to the Districts poetry slam. Many times, Vona has had a student place in the district poetry slam and is excited for another star student to bring pride to Steinbrenner.
At the 2019-2020 Poetry Jam, there was a guest speaker who performed his own slam poem and taught the student a few things as well. From the nine things to remember when writing poetry to how to really get the creative ideas flowing, the guest speaker provided a lot of incite to the writers at Steinbrenner.
Due to COVID-19, the event did have to change slightly; people were socially distanced with three to a table and performed in a space that was more than six feet from every person. Virtual students were invited to participate. Some attended virtually and some could come to the campus to get the full experience.
Even through the pandemic, students were still allowed their yearly creative outlet and got to perform their slam poems. After a game to help loosen students up, a lesson from the guest speaker and a quick snack break, students were finally allowed to perform their poems in front of other students and three judges. After everyone had performed, winners were chosen and given gift cards.
“Mr. Vona automatically made sure that everyone was comfortable by playing an icebreaker game,” Ally O’Connor, a member of the Echo and a Poetry Jam participant, said.
Sophia McGregor, who won first place, will be sent to the District poetry slam in January to perform the same piece again in front of a larger audience and a different set of judges.
Poetry Jam gives students at Steinbrenner a way to get away from school and really learn how to write good poetry from a master. It is always an eventful day that anyone and everyone is invited to attend. Getting to perform poetry in front of fellow students is something not every person is given a chance to do.
“It’s the best day of the year,” O’Connor said.
Taylor Snow // Editor-in-Chief