Bellmore-Merrick Celebrates National Poetry Month

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Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District students and faculty jumped at the chance to create, perform and listen to poetry throughout the month of April.

The English departments and the library staff created a number of engaging events to help celebrate students’ love of literature and to support budding writers, especially after the success of the Bellmore-Merrick Writing Festival earlier this year.

Sanford H. Calhoun High School librarian Kathryn Elefterion created poetry stations in which students could create different types of visual poetry in blocks of time. A few options included blackout poetry, in which students blacked out words in the pages of old books with Sharpies, leaving behind a few words in a brand-new poem; newspaper poems, in which students cut out letters and shapes from magazines and glued them together; and paint chip poems, in which students used the names of the colors to create themed poems.

English teacher Kaitlyn Seigneuray stated, "Students of every grade and every level loved the activity. Best of all, the students surprised themselves with how much fun they had creating poetry in new, different ways."  

The poetry station event ran from April 5-14, with classes coming in almost every available period.

Calhoun students who wished to read and perform their own original works also competed in The Voice: Slam Poetry Style on April 15, a competition in the style of the popular TV show “The Voice.” Seventeen students wrote two original poems, one based on the theme, “The Letter Never Delivered,” and performed them without prompts for five teacher coaches, who then selected students for their teams.
Several underclassmen took to the Calhoun stage for the first time and dazzled the audience.

English teacher Kelly Martin commented, “It was a treat to hear new voices in the competition for not only the teachers and coaches, but for the audience as a whole.” The event, set up in the Little Theatre, was well-attended by several English classes, who ultimately voted Mr. Formato’s team the victor.

Students who wanted to read poetry in a relaxed, less competitive environment had the chance to shine at the Java Room on April 22. Students were encouraged to get up and read their original poems or poetry from published authors before a few English classes in an open-mic style setting.

Grand Avenue Middle School teachers selected one student per team to read a favorite poem aloud during morning announcements at various intervals during the month. This provided an opportunity for all students, faculty and staff to appreciate poetry throughout the month.

At Kennedy High School, English teacher Vivian Lopez recited a poem during the morning announcements at the start of each day. She read poems in various languages and chose poems that expressed numerous themes.

Finally, in all buildings, many teachers created poetry mini-units or lessons to celebrate National Poetry Month.