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Palm Beach Association of Black Journalists buoys local youths with ‘Words Not Weapons’ poetry slam

November 23rd · 2 Comments · Palm Beach Association of Black Journalists

Kimberly Charles, of Palm Beach Gardens High School, seen here earlier during auditions, was a co-winner.

Kimberly Charles of Palm Beach Gardens High School, shown with her mother earlier during auditions, tied Kaena Hood of St. Lucie West Centennial High School for first place in PBABJ's second 'Words Not Weapons' competition, Nov. 14 at the Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach. Each scored 29 of 30 points and won a new laptop computer.

I’ve rarely been more proud of the Palm Beach Association of Black Journalists, of which I also am a proud founding member, than for having pulled off another outstanding “Words Not Weapons” poetry slam competition.

Of course it’s easy to be proud of the talented kids whose creative expression almost invariably exceeds their unsuspecting audience’s expectations.

This contest is open to middle and high school students in Palm Beach, Martin and St. Lucie counties. The kids perform original, maximum three-minute poems keyed to the theme, during three rounds of elimination assessed by three judges. No profanity, or other  vulgar behavior masquerading as creativity, or props are allowed.

Honorable mention goes to all the other outstanding poets:

Doniol Antoine, Palm Beach Gardens High School

Kadesha Denton, Woodlands Middle School

Jersen Faustin, Dreyfoos School of the Arts

Terry Frederic, Suncoast High School

Anthony Nadeau, Dreyfoos School of the Arts

Landon Price, West Boca High School

Steven Rodriguez, Woodlands Middle School

Antoine Smith, Suncoast High School

Amanda Stephens, Suncoast High School

Mutasim Zaki, Suncoast High School

Thanks to the students of the John I. Leonard High School Dance Team, who literally and figuratively kicked off this year’s competition.

Thanks again to stellar actress Karen Stephens for her monologue performance that set the tone for the final round.

A special nod again goes to emcee Ray Dominguez, founder  of the Write Side Poets, for his deft style in always encouraging the students, and for embodying the possible through his own poetic talent.

Among our members deserving particular kudos for their hard work on this year’s program are PBABJ Vice President Lady Hereford, Kyoto Walker, Stuart News reporter Sheryl Estrada and our president, Palm Beach Post editorial columnist Rhonda Swan, who also provided admirable service as a judge.

It would be a commendable public service for businesses and organizations to join The Palm Beach Post and the other sponsors helping PBABJ bolster these kids.

As a sign of how successful was this year’s event, many of the dozen poets, family members, friends and surprised audience members were asking when we’ll do it again.

Keep an ear open for that next competition already being planned for April during National Poetry Month.

South Florida Times report: “Young Poets Finds Self-Expression”


2 Comments so far ↓

  • Kyoto Walker

    Dear C.B.,

    Thank you for all the support with the Palm Beach Association of Black Journalists (PBABJ) Words Not Weapons Poetry Slam 2009. I just got a call from Kimberly Charles, who tied for first place with Kaena Hood. She wanted to say thank you and is interested in competing in next year’s event.

    With the recent publicity surrounding the Dunbar Village rapes, it makes me very happy to know there are teens in the community making positive choices and seeking out constructive outlets to express themselves. Whatever we as a collective entity, a group of concerned citizens have to do to help our youth gravitate throught this life, let’s do it. As the old African proverb says, “It takes a village to raise a child.”

    The children are our future. They are our hope.

    Kyoto Walker
    PBABJ Member
    West Palm Beach

  • palm beach homes

    Seems like a nice event for young people.

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