The first Creative Challenge of the 2023-2024 academic year includes not only an opportunity for students to read poems by US Poet Laureate Ada Limón, but also to meet her virtually at the first NEHS webinar of the year, and write and perform their own poems inspired by the themes within her work.
The premise of the Creative Challenge is not only to allow students to express themselves creatively in writing, but also to include an aspect of poetry that has long been forgotten or played a secondary role at high school level: poetry performance. The NEHS Advisory Council also wanted to provide an opportunity for students to be able to take their English and creative skills off the page and to incorporate a speech element of the competition, too.
Some schools, such as Bear Creek High School, CO, have received NEHS Chapter Project Grants to support their poetry slam offerings. Socastee High School, SC, has merged their poetry slam with opportunities for students to express themselves through song and music at an open mic night. While we are seeing a resurgence in spoken poetry in high schools, there is still a long way to go to ensure that all students have the opportunity to gain key writing and performance skills through poetry.
In the first Creative Challenge of the year, NEHS student members are challenged to read a selection of poems by Ada Limón and then respond to the themes, motifs, and symbols in them with a piece of their own poetry. In order to promote creative expression, there is no formatting requirement other than that the poem must be no more than one page long.
Once written, revised, and perfected, students are asked to perform their poem and submit the video, along with the text, to the competition. Again, there is no specified format for poetry performances: they can be as dramatic or simple as the students prefers, but they must include high quality audio so evaluators can hear what is being spoken, sung, or shouted!
The NEHS Advisory Council is looking forward to receiving some wonderful pieces. Written poems and video recordings must be submitted via the NEHS AwardSpring platform by October 10, 2023, 11:59 p.m. CDT.
If you have any questions about this Creative Challenge, please don’t hesitate to contact NEHS Director Chris Lockwood.
The first Creative Challenge is focused on poetry writing and performance. Submissions can be made between September 11 and October 10, 2023. The second Challenge asks students to write a script. The final Challenge asks chapters to produce a short documentary film.