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Youth Discover their Authentic Voice through Spoken Word Poetry

Youth in Arts mentor artist, Graham Hackett, shares his experience at San Jose Middle School in Novato. Performance Poetry, or “spoken-word,” is a fusion of literature and theatre where the author is the performer. As such, young people choose to deploy it as a powerful form of citizens’ journalism.Middle School

So when San Jose Middle School in Novato made the bold choice to lead students through a unit on immigration and resilience, the diverse array of students approached the topic from various perspectives. Some reflected on the lives of their favorite sports heroes that were immigrants. Others explored their heritage and the legacy they built. Several even described their own first hand experience as immigrants themselves.

Whatever approach they took, students thoughtfully used literary devices and public speaking techniques to share their stories in nuanced, dynamic, and often powerful ways to address some of the most relevant, hot-button issues we face today in America.

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