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20160413-poetry-slam1Feeling more like a hip coffeehouse than the Columbia library with low lighting, hot drinks, a house jazz band and a standup microphone in front of a black sheet with dangling lights, students read original poems to an audience at the school’s second annual Poetry Slam on March 31.

The crowd snapped their fingers in approval as students delivered punch lines and expressed their creativity.

“Idols aren’t what they used to be, at least not to me. Look at our public figures and celebrities, that’s who kids are trying to be,” said sophomore Nicole Presti. “Miley Cyrus swinging naked from a wrecking ball … shouldn’t be doing that at all.”

Nine students competed in the Poetry Slam – an expressive, performance-based type of poetry that combines writing and public speaking skills.

20160413-poetry-slam3“I was amazed again this year to watch our kids bravely breathe life into their words, many of which covered deeply personal material,” said English teacher Jason DeFrias who helped organize the event with librarian Kate Ingham.

English teachers Meagan Asenbauer and Kara Macpherson and Art teacher Andrea Neiman served as the judges. Soren Correia, Tony Tirino, David Sills and Ron Bernhaut comprised the house band that played the event.

Senior Nigeria Alderman, one of the Slam Masters, won the competition with her poem “A Unique Situation,” about the adoption process.

And in that moment the skies opened up
And it felt like the sun was shining down on us for the first time in what felt like ages
We could finally stop fighting to be who we are
A unique family in a unique situation


  • “Psycho” by Zoe McLean
  • “Plagiarism: Parts I and II” by Soren Correia
  • “Pop Culture Role Models” by Nicole Presti
  • “Pressure” by Heidi Quattrocchi
  • “Untitled” by Alex Bauer and performed by Holly Garrison
  • “Untitled” by Merrin Sardi
  • “Untitled” by Jenna Hoggan
  • “Dreamer” by Alisha Secor
  • “A Unique Situation” by Nigeria Alderman