Weston, Fla. (Black PR Wire) – For the past three weeks, nearly 300 teens representing 32 different schools across ﬁve school districts participated in the 6th annual Louder Than a Bomb Florida Poetry Festival (LTABFLA) presented by UPS and Nova Southeastern University.
Following nearly 450 poetic performances, the Cypress Bay High School Lightning Poets’ Society was named Team Champions, while Parker Barry, a senior from Wellington Community High School, captured the “Indy” Poet Championship.
Dubbed the “Super Bowl of poetry,” Louder Than a Bomb Florida, a Jason Taylor Foundation arts and education project as part of its Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network, is a festival featuring poetry bouts, workshops, exhibits, and ultimately the crowning of Florida’s top youth spoken-word poetry team.
The most critical component, however, is the year-round, meaningful instruction inside the classroom and after-school clubs, with teachers and teaching artists who create and facilitate a safe space for individual and collective expression.
This year, as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak, the ﬁeld of teams was reduced from a record 48 registered schools to the 32 that were represented in LTABFLA’s ﬁrst-ever virtual competition. Students submitted self-made videos of their poems that were played online for live judges with a live host, all in a digital environment that was streamed for participants, their teachers, and families to see.
The team from Cypress Bay is led by Ms. Shawntee’ Herring, an English and Creative Writing teacher at the Weston based high school.
Poets representing Boca Raton Community High School, Charles W. Flanagan High School and Miami Norland Senior High School joined Ms. Herring’s students on the LTABFLA Team Finals stage.
LTABFLA is a team competition, however individual performances are also recognized, with the top 12 scoring poets of the entire festival advancing to the “Indy Finals.”
Enduring a three-round, elimination style bout, Parker Barry captured ﬁrst place, with Angelica Gonzalez of Cypress Bay and Isabella Ramirez of Palm Beach based A. W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts tying for second.
The Jason Taylor Foundation has announced that Anna Bayuk has earned the honor of being named South Florida Youth Poet Laureate (SFYPL) for the 2020-21 school year.
Anna, a senior at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, will have her chapbook of original poems, Venus of the Swamp, released during a celebratory event at the Ultimate studioblu in Weston later this year, and will participate in a number of philanthropic and performance opportunities.
An esteemed panel of educators, authors, poets and community professionals meticulously read through the largest submission pool since the inception of the South Florida Youth Poet Laureate program that included a portfolio of poetry and each student’s résumé.
At the end of the process, one Youth Poet Laureate and two Youth Poet Ambassadors were selected. The Ambassadors are Daniel Ardila, a senior at Coral Springs High School, and Julia Safrin, a senior at Cooper City High School.
For the second consecutive year, the foundation held its “blu is for Apples” poetry contest in partnership with Hoffman’s Chocolates. This year, Tia Ebanks, a ﬁfth grader at Walker Elementary School in Fort Lauderdale, was selected as the overall winner from more than 450 submissions.
Participating schools received visits from bluapple Poetry Network staff and Teaching Artists, who lead students in writing workshops.
Students were required to write a poem inspired by the prompt: The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree; what kind of tree do I come from?