By Kim Underwood
Winston-Salem/Forsyth County Schools
APRIL 20 – Jeremy Sexton, a junior at Reynolds High School, won first place last night in the 2012 Poet Laureate Project. His poem “After the Party” paints a picture of a party to set the stage for the boy and girl who step onto the dance floor after the couples with their forced laughs and sparkling shoes quit the room.
Hunter McIntosh, a sophomore at Reynolds, placed second, and Sarah Hoyle, a senior at West Forsyth High School, placed third.
The winners were among 20 students from 11 high schools who performed their poems at the school system’s Education Building as part of “Fresh Voices Rising,” an annual event designed to give students a chance to express themselves as poets.
“The poets were very courageous in showing a vulnerability and really willing to let us see into their lives,” said Alexandra Hoskins, the Secondary English/Language Arts Program Manager. “It was very inspiring and moving.”
A chapbook (booklet) called “Fresh Voices Rising” that includes all the poems is available for $5. The event is being shown on the school system’s television channel, Cable 2, at 10 a.m. today, and 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. A DVD of the event is also available for $5.
The Forsyth Education Partnership, a nonprofit community organization that supports education, established the Poet Laureate Project in 2009 in cooperation with the school system.
“I think that students need opportunities for creative expression and to be able to showcase their talent,” Hoskins said.
The other participants were Shaina Crump (East), Chris Watson (Reagan), Lila Mae Jones (Walkertown), Chrishawn Crockett (Middle College), Rebecca Lowder (West), Alexis Mullins (Carver), Meredith Hemphill (Atkins), Cameron Sardina (Glenn), Brittani Bullock (Winston-Salem Prep), Ty Ransom (Glenn), Caroline Shoaf (Walkertown), Vernnay Tanner (Middle College), Marcus Lyles (Winston-Salem Prep), Hao-Ann Tong (Early College), Jessica Larned (Early College), Nic Tilley (Reagan) and Kenyatta Little (Carver). The chapbook also includes a poem by Tori del Campo (East) who was unable to attend the event.
Three judges evaluated the students’ poems on content and on delivery. The three judges were Donald W. Ilko, who retired to Winston-Salem after 24 years teaching at The Theatre School at DePaul University in Chicago; Rhett Iseman Trull, whose 2009 book of poetry, The Real Warnings, received the Anhinga Prize and other awards; and Terry L. Kennedy, the Associate Director of the Graduate Program in Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.
(L-R: Sarah Hoyle; Jeremy Sexton; Hunter McIntosh)