National Writing Project

Teen Poets Give Teacher Hope for Central California City

Publication: The Salinas Californian
Date: December 9, 2009

Summary: Teacher-consultant Natalie Bernasconi writes a moving op-ed about Teen Salinas Slam, a poetry competition and open mic for teen poets, organized in part by the Central California Writing Project and local students.


Excerpt from Article

One attendee, Mayor Dennis Donohue (who, to his everlasting credit, made it a priority to be there), noted how exciting it was to see "so many people wanting to celebrate poetry on a Friday night in Salinas." And it was exciting.

Most of these students had never spoken in public before, some had never even written poetry before. Yet each one stood up in front of the wildly enthusiastic crowd and brought their "mind to the mic," speaking passionately about the issues they grapple with as young people. To listen was to learn.

But this amazing, dynamic evening only came about thanks to the intense, dedicated support and hard work of a handful of people over the previous two months. The story of how it evolved is an important one because it epitomizes the many wonderful things that get accomplished in this town when people work together.

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