Word Up! 2017 featured Laudz, Amayah, Jadon, Ismael, Lucia, Joseph, Nyah, Ramis, and Sydnie (L-R).


On Dec. 20, the City of Sunrise crowned its newest Word Up! champion – Nyah Hardmon of Cypress Bay High. Rounding out the top three were Ismael Timane of Piper High (2nd place), and Lucia Vieites of Flanagan High (3rd place). Lucia also earned the Audience Choice award.

Additional Word Up! finalists included: • Amayah Morales, Piper High • Jadon Polydore, Hollywood Hills High • Joseph Jean, Piper High • Laudz Fenelus, Hollywood Hills High • Ramis Hashmi, Marjory Stoneman Douglas High • Sydnie Cohen, Cypress Bay High Word Up! is presented in collaboration with the Jason Taylor Foundation – the generous donor of $400 in prize money – and the Omari Hardwick bluapple Poetry Network. The event marked its ninth year showcasing some of the best spoken-word artists from high schools across Broward County. Poets participated in a competitive audition process, and those selected for the finals took part in a series of four writing and performance workshops to hone their skills.

Darius Daughtry, founder and artistic director of the Art Prevails Project, served as the poets’ writing coach and mentor, as well as the Word Up! emcee.

This year’s judging panel included Chief John McNamara of Sunrise Fire Rescue; Robby Holroyd of the Children’s Services Council; Bria Taylor of Cox Media Group; former Word Up! winner Amorette Lormil; and Sunrise Education Advisory Board member John MorenoEscobar. DJ AK Vybz handled the beats.