Chariho students got their rhyme on at district’s fourth annual poetry slam

Chariho students got their rhyme on at district’s fourth annual poetry slam

The Westerly Sun

WOOD RIVER JCT. — The Chariho Middle School auditorium was jumping last Tuesday, with children from all four of the district’s elementary schools not making the slightest effort to contain their excitement at reciting the poems they had written.

“The level of excitement in this room is over the top,” Superintendent of Schools Barry Ricci shouted, trying to make himself heard. “I love it. What’s better than having kids excited about learning?”

Hope Valley Elementary School Principal and elementary humanities leader Giuseppe Gencarelli started the annual poetry slam four years ago.

“This year, we have 78 children,a huge jump from the last three years, ” he said. “We’ve gone from 37 to 48 to 63 to now, almost 80.”

Sierra Redfern, 9, is in grade 3 and a poetry slam veteran. Her poem this year was entitled “Hydrangea.”

“First grade, second grade, and then third grade,” she said. “I’m nervous at first, but then I get fine.”

Collin Collet, 8, had also participated in a previous slam. He said he’d been working on his poem, entitled “Pokémon,” for two weeks.

“I’m nervous,” he admitted.

Librarians from all four schools and reading specialist Kerry Pastore were assisting with the slam, checking each name against the program list as the children waited in a fidgety line.

Karen Mann, the librarian at Ashaway school, said she encouraged her students to express themselves by writing poetry, and she enjoyed seeing their excitement and enthusiasm at the poetry slam.

“We got a lot of participants this year. It’s wonderful,” she said. “I do a lot of promoting it in my building, and seeing the look of pride on their faces when they hand them in is just so wonderful, and then for them to have that opportunity to stand up and share it with an audience, it’s just terrific.”

Gencarelli delivered the opening remarks before starting the slam.

“Tonight you will hear original poems from Chariho’s finest poets,” he told the audience.

Each child, and sometimes, groups of children, recited his or her poem on stage, and everyone received a small trophy afterward, a donation of the PTO. Gencarelli waited for the children to leave the stage, and heartily congratulated every one.

“I love hearing the kids recite, coming up with their own poems and reciting them to their family and friends. It’s just the best,” he said. “To hear them put it out there. It’s so awesome, and it boosts their confidence, too.”



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