Lightning Poetry Strikes Again

March 17, 2023

The Lightning Poetry contest is one of our community’s favorite events of the year. It combines literacy with performance and really allows our students to shine. The students select and prepare a poem to recite before a panel of (very friendly) judges.

Our four middle performers outdid themselves this year. They prepared with the help of coaches Jamie Steiner, Tara Schneider, Zoe Velez, and Tracy Hoida. We had a wonderful team of judges: Sadia Mehmood, Horace Knight, Tatesha Clark, and Alice Feinberg. And we had two special guests: André del Valle, who will be the head of school next year, and a colleague of his from Poly Prep, Alia Carponter-Walker. André told me that it was really hard to pick a winner. But the panel awarded the top prize to the student who recitated of Lester by Shel Silverstein.

Upper school students worked on their poetry performances for two months leading up to the contest, assisted by head teacher and theater director Juleen Murray Shaw. This year featured a trailblazer in the competition, with one of our seniors being the first MMFS Lightning Poetry contestant ever to perform their own poem, Brown Girls Do Ballet. Both the poem and the performance dazzled the judges, which led to her being awarded the top prize for an original piece. Our two first place recipients tied for performing previously published works: Change by Ella Wheeler Wilcox and The Poem of Love by Lisel Mueller. The experience was best summed up by the student who said, “I love this so much I will do it every year for my entire high school career!”

The lower school will hold their poetry contest in April.


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