Poetry Slam winners announced

John Gray High School student Janae Whittaker was the grand prize winner in the school’s recent poetry competition. 

Ms. Whittaker won a Kindle Fire e-book reader for her poem, “Trapped.” 

Kharley Rivers, author of “Teenage Pregnancy,” and Aleigha General, who wrote “Abused,” won second and third place, respectively. 

Students of all year groups could enter an original piece of poetry in the Poetry Slam competition during the school’s Teen Read Week in December.  

Poems and authors were judged according to set criteria. A poetry slam is usually defined as “the competitive art of performance poetry” with dual emphasis on writing and performance. 

Through the charitable literacy organization LIFE (Literacy Is For Everyone), KPMG donated a Kindle Fire to the first-place winner. 

Wendy Cumberbatch, literacy subject leader at John Gray High School, said poetry is important for high school students because it provides an outlet for teenagers’ expression. 

“It is a language that teens can use to describe their deep thoughts and feelings about areas of their lives that are important to them,” said Ms. Cumberbatch. 

This event created an appreciation for a literary form that could encourage even the most reluctant reader, she added. 


Janae Whittaker, John Gray High School student, center, won over the hearts of the judges for her poem titled ‘Trapped.’

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