Students use spoken word to demystify learning disabilities

Eight students perform a spoken word poem in front of the Miriam Board of Directors.

Eight students perform a spoken word poem in front of the Miriam Board of Directors.

Story and captions by Daniel Meir, News Editor

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It was with a thrill that Miriam Academy students learned two months ago that they would have the opportunity to share through spoken word poetry their sufferings and hopes with the Miriam Board of Directors. Spoken word is performance poetry, a mix of poetry and rap. Many students had yet to journey to the depths of such a subject, and even a fraction of them had not yet dabbled in the ways of poetry.

“I think it’s exciting to be having a new experience,” expressed Nick Lewis, his eyes twinkling and his mouth curved in a lopsided smile.

Students had a wide range of topics to address, but perhaps most fitting for these kids, they chose to write about learning disabilities. It was a chance for them to share their struggles as students with learning challenges, and demystify the perceptions of what they are capable of. It was a chance for them to share how their lives are really like. Spoken word poetry isn’t just a method of writing, but can be used as a tool to inform and teach.

“Spoken word poetry is a way for people to address both their feelings and thoughts about often controversial topics,” said teacher Chris Holmes.

About half of the freshman class participated, each writing small excerpts from their lives in figurative language, rhymes, and rhythm. Mr. Holmes helped them select the most powerful memories and goals, and incorporated them into one, five-minute poem. The end result: a bold, beautiful, eloquent speech from the hearts of eight separate individuals; a story of life and pain and beauty; a real tale of real people and real experiences.

And after about three months of writing, editing, and rehearsing, they were privileged with the opportunity to perform their poem to the Board of Directors in Miriam School.

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