Basseterre, St. Kitts, Wednesday 2nd December, 2015 -- The highly anticipated 2015 Project P.O.E.T.R.Y National High School Spoken Word Poetry Competition took place on Saturday 28th November at the Sir Cecil Jacobs Auditorium. Patrons who attended were treated to a night filled with impactful spoken word presentations, as well as entertainment from young talent from both St. Kitts and Nevis.
The evening got underway with the playing of the national anthem, followed by remarks by Logistics Coordinator for Project P.O.E.T.R.Y, Jihan Williams, where she outlined the mission and objectives of the organization such as “giving the young people in the Federation a national platform to express their thoughts through poetry.” The hosts for the evening, KJah Armstrong and Jonelle Irish, 2011 Project P.O.E.T.R.Y winner then took to the stage to introduce the participants.
In the first round, all participants presented on this year’s pre-selected theme, “Reimagining and Reshaping our Education System.” First up was Alana Webbe of the Basseterre High School who rendered a poem entitled “The Systematic System”. She was well-received by the audience and paved the way for what would be a great night. “My Cool School System” was presented by Seamus O’Flaherty of the Charlestown Secondary School, whose cool demeanor brought smiles to the faces of all present.
Up next was the vivacious Darenice Dedier of the Cayon High School rendering “Pull Up Your Socks”, urging education officials to take a in depth review of the education system. Rol-J Williams of the Gingerland Secondary School followed with a remarkable piece entitled “We Will See.” Inshan Liburd from the Verchilds High School brought something different to the round as he used music with his piece, “Education Has No Limit” creating much impact. Devaughn Roland of the Nevis International Secondary School who rendered an insightful poem entitled “My Biography”, which was followed by Washington Archibald High School’s Telston Murraine whose piece entitled “What is Education?” was a sure crowd favourite.
The second round was the “Express Yourself” round where participants performed their original pieces on any topic of their choice. Participants presented on a host of social issues including self-introspection, transportation issues and violence in the community. During this round the audience was moved and inspired by the creativity of the budding poets from all the high schools represented.
The audience was treated to an exciting side show which included sweet sounding drumming by the Tabu Udu Drummers, two dance pieces by the Anjolique Dance Company and Nicha B, who belted out his popular Sugar Mas tune, “Can’t Wait.” Also rendering items were James Galloway, a seasoned poet based in Nevis and a duo of twelve year-olds from the Gingerland Secondary School, “Positive Vibes” who sang an original dancehall piece on eradicating bullying in schools. The audience especially enjoyed their performance so much so that an encore was demanded, acapella style.
After all of the performances, the head judge Mario Williams announced the winners and gave brief remarks stating that all the judges were “impressed with the overall level of creativity and performance of all the participants.” Participation trophies and tokens were presented to all participants and schools. Ultimately, Telston Murraine of the Washington Archibald High School won the third place prize of $750 while Rol-J Williams of Gingerland Secondary High School placed second, winning a cash prize of $1,000. However, Darenice Dedier of the Cayon High School, a first time competitor in the Project P.O.E.T.R.Y National High School Spoken Word Poetry Competition did a “clean sweep” as she won both $200 cash prizes for best poem in each round and the grand prize of $1,500. The winning cheque was presented by Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Education & Youth, the Hon. Shawn Richards, as well as Samal Duggins, CEO of Island Xpressions.
Along with the Hon. Shawn Richards, other dignitaries in attendance were former Governor General, His Excellency Sir Cuthbert Sebastian, Premier of Nevis, Hon. Vance Amory and his wife, Ambassador Michael Powell and Advisor to the Ministry of Youth, Mr. Vernon Connor.
The 2015 Project P.O.E.T.R.Y National High School Spoken Word Poetry Competition received much commendation from the Hon. Shawn Richards during his closing remarks. He congratulated the Project P.O.E.T.R.Y team for the successful staging of this year’s competition and encouraged all participants to continue engaging in positive forms of self-expression. The Project P.O.E.T.R.Y team has already begun discussing plans for the 2016 edition of the competition.
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