And the winner is...
I am sure you have all been waiting with bated breath for the results of the career center poetry tournament. I apologize for the delay. Your wait is over.
In both first and third periods, it came down to Maya Angelou's "Still I Rise" and Shel Silverstein's "Sick"; "Sick" proved to be the stronger competitor in both matches, though "Still I Rise" played a tough game. Students had to write a 1-page response to their choice for winner, and most students seemed to prefer "Sick" because of first-hand experience with what it relates. The students who got behind "Still I Rise" fought hard to the end, and wrote good responses in defense of their position; for the most part, they found the poem inspiring, with good rhythm and a clear message.
Fourth period is a bit more mature than the morning classes, and "Sick" actually fell out of the tournament in the first round. The poems which made it the furthest were "Still I Rise" and Langston Hughes' "Theme for English B" (which has a line that says "Born in Winston-Salem," which pulls the kids in from the start). It was very close, but "Still I Rise" edged out the competition to rise to the top. A few students elected to write reponses for some contenders that washed out early, including Plath's "Daddy" and Robinson's "Richard Cory". I did play the Simon and Garfunkel rendition of that latter poem, which garnered it a few extra points in the end, I believe. Perhaps that wasn't entirely fair, since I did not have songs to go with every poem; however, I felt that Richard needed a little help and didn't think that it would significantly alter the course of the tournament.
In sixth period, the championship game was interesting: the familiar "Still I Rise" had predictably made it; but we had a surprise appearance by Arlene Tribbia's "Sure"--a new face to the eleventh grade poetry world for many. It did not finally pull the upset, though, and "Still I Rise" once again pulled out on top.
Here are some highlights from the tournament:
from Tiffany: "'Still I Rise' to me was the best. There was no competition with this poem. It was something that I could relate to because you are always confronted with so much jealousy and hatred most of the time for no reason."
From Jess: "'Still I Rise' was an awesomely good poem."