Rookies slam the door open

First year poets close the book on a successful season


Joni Beauchamp

Freshman Ariah Herman and sophomores Shelbu Neeley, Luc Chaney, and Alexi Nielsen perform their group poem in front of an audience to practice for a competition. -Photo by Joni Beauchamp

Performing April 14 at the Omaha Conservatory of Music, Millard South’s slam poetry team fiercely competed against Westside and Lincoln East in a battle of passionate poetry.

“To perform at a slam tournament is absolutely life changing,” sophomore June Jud said. “Watching all these gifted students bleed their emotions onto a piece of paper is just a sight to behold,” she said.

Advised and coached by English teacher Amber Wormington and consisting entirely of first year poets, the team has still been making waves with their young, yet strong voices, perseverance, and passion to succeed.

“As far as how good we did. I think we did pretty decent. We are only a first year team but we have so much power it’s insane,” Jud said.

Placing third in the semi-finals, the team didn’t advance to the next competition, but third is nothing to glance over with such a new and dedicated team such as these poets.

“I think we did quite well for it being our first year, individually and group-wise,” sophomore Luc Chaney said.

“From what I hear, that’s really good for a first-year team,” sophomore AJ Morong said.

“I am definitely going to do slam again next year,” They said, “I found a part of me that I didn’t even know existed, and I can’t just leave it behind”

Whether expressing themselves on the stage or in the classroom, these students have been preparing themselves for competition since day one, whether they realized it or not.

“Honestly, I think we’ve been preparing since the beginning. They always had a vague mention of the competition, but it was never really like a thing,” Morong said.

“Originally it wasn’t about competition, we just came to have fun, and they were like, here’s a little prompt, and so we wrote a poem that went with that prompt, and eventually, they were just like, okay do you guys wanna keep doing this, where you come in here, you share your poetry, we write some poetry and that’s it, or do you guys wanna move on to competition, and I think it was unanimous, every single one of us wanted to go to competition,” Morong said.

Unlike many of Millard South’s clubs and activities, slam poetry has a much more immediate approach to familiarizing teammates, and in turn has become a home for many and has definitely made a huge impact in the lives of those within it, whether that be in their writing or in other powerful ways.

“At the beginning we were like, okay, don’t judge anybody for what they say in here, everything we say in here stays in here, so it’s like, and I know these people aren’t gonna like talk about a personal poem with one of their friends, because that’d be kind of mean, and I just trust these people and I know that they’re not going to, and I know I can really tell people what I feel, especially Mrs. Wormington,” Morong said.

“I’ve made so many friends with slam, I didn’t know Worm at all before this, but now she’s like, my bestie, and like, I’ve met most of my friends in slam, like, I’d say half of my friends are in slam poetry,” Jud said.

“It’s sort of like a family, even if that may sound a little cliche, but it really is, we love hearing what other people have, even if you’re like, I’m not a super great poet, we try to help other people grow, and if you’re good and you want to compete, absolutely, come on, come join us, and if you want to do it for fun, absolutely, come on in,” Chaney said