KANSAS CITY, Kan. — Some students at Sumner Academy of Arts and Science are using their passion for poetry to inspire others and make history.
They’re young, talented and extremely ambitious.
“It’s so much fun for so many different reasons. I want to be listened to instead of ignored,” said 11th grader Ashlynn Freeman, who’s also the co-captain of Poetically X-Plosive.
“It’s just so cool. I enjoy it also. I love going on stage,” said Eunice Panama, the team’s captain.
Poetically X-Plosive is a powerful poetry team at the KCK high school.
“Oh my God, it’s like an adrenaline rush. I’m shaking, but as soon as I get out there and you’re one with the mic, it’s just beautiful,” a beaming Eunice Panama said.
For the last nine months, the high school students have been practicing, studying and performing poetry twice a week.
“I am so proud of them. All of my students are just so talented, but this bunch really is the best I have seen. What kind of separates this crew is they memorize their pieces. The internalize them, bring them to life,” said Brian Dolezal, the students’ teacher and coach.
Now, their hard work has paid off.
“We are Poetically X-Plosive, and we go in there and we’re like dynamite. We explode on the stages. It’s amazing,” Eunice said.
The young poets recently “exploded” during their third year as a “slam poetry team.”
They took first place in 10 competitive slams and captured two preliminary rounds, a semifinal and this years’s finals in the “Louder Than A Bomb Poetry Festival.”
“It’s like a play on louder than a bomb, the actual organization that we’re under. It just shows that our team is very explosive, and we’re very outspoken. I like that because one day I want to be a criminal defense attorney, and I plan to take my poetry skills to the courtroom,” Ashlynn said.
In July, Poetically X-Plosive and their coach will fly to Las Vegas for the Brave New Voices Poetry Festival. The KCK students will compete against 500 students from around the nation.
The polished poets — who tackle everything form lynchings in America, social injustice, bigotry and other serious subjects — said they’re ready to capture the big title.
“I think I have the team and I have the driver. It’s all about how bad and how much you want it,” Eunice said.
“I sure hope we win!” Ashlynn said.
“They’re good kids. We’re gonna have a good time,” Dolezal said.