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The student news site of Robinson High School

Knight Writers

The student news site of Robinson High School

Knight Writers

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Capturing Creativity RHS Students Embrace Poetry Jam

Robinson’s annual Poetry Workshop and Poetry Jam inspire students to express themselves through Spoken Word
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Photo Whittaley Bowden
Meet Charles Hines, the Spoken Word Poet.

Robinson poets were buzzing with excitement as the annual PTSA Poetry Workshop and Poetry Jam.

The jam occurred on two days in two separate weeks in November in the Media Center. The workshop was not just a showcase of talent, but a platform for students to discover their inner poet and compete for cash prizes to participate in this year’s poetry district-level poetry competition. This year’s professional spoken word poet, Charles Hines joined this year’s event bringing his ten years of experience to guide the students in writing and performing poetry. 

“Poetry is just freedom and expression. I look at my writing as a place where I can just put all these feelings and thoughts that I feel like are too bad or too scary for the world,” Hines said.

Hines expressed his excitement about participating in the event. Hines is genuinely honored to have a platform where he can inspire and encourage the younger generation of poets. 

“It’s an honor. This is my third year doing the poetry jams and when I tell you I get terrified every year because I feel like we all go through it as artists, just kind of worrying that you’ll be accepted or received or that people are feeling the same thing that you’re feeling,” Hines said. “I’m honored that I have a platform where I can inspire and encourage them and that they have a place that supports their love for the arts.”

Shannon Chamberlin, the librarian and host of this year’s poetry jam, also expressed her joy at witnessing a growing community of young poets. She was pleasantly surprised by the enthusiasm of the students, recalling how they eagerly inquired about the event from the beginning of the school year.

“I had students coming into the library, asking me when we were going to have the Poetry Jam. I was kind of shocked that students were so enthused already about the poetry jam. I love poetry and I always felt kind of like it wasn’t something everybody loves so I was surprised,” Chamberlin said. 

In the second half of the competition, the electrifying atmosphere continued with another one of Hines’s performances of “Ariana Grande Syndrome,” a masterclass in delivery that captivated the audience. As students followed, the library transformed into an arena of self-expression where vivid imagery and heartfelt messages resonated with the captivated audience.

Judging the performances proved challenging for the judges, as the bar of talent reached unprecedented heights. After careful deliberation, the top three performers were announced, each receiving cash prizes and recognition for their outstanding contributions.

Standout performer and first-place winner Kaylee Callen (’26) had eagerly anticipated and practiced for the Poetry Jam in the library for weeks, reworking her poem into something she was proud to present to the audience. Callen expressed how unreal it was that she could place in the competition, something she did not expect. 

“Unreal. Completely. I’m ecstatic, and I cannot wait to go to Districts it’s just unreal. It means everything. Coming out here, listening to everybody’s poems and hearing just how amazing everyone here really is at Robinson is breathtaking,” Callen said. 

Her poem, “Little Me,” was a deeply personal exploration of childhood struggles, and resonated with the audience. Kaylee’s performance was a journey through identity, self-love, and resilience, leaving the room in stunned silence before erupting in applause.

The emotional rollercoaster continued with Simon Robinson (’24), whose powerful piece earned them second place being the runner-up to represent Robinson at the poetry districts. Reflecting on their accomplishment, they exclaimed ecstatic to have placed in the competition. 

 “My final high school poetry jam, and I did it! I got second. It’s incredible, I got third place last year, and all I wanted to do was do a little bit better than I did last year, and I did it. I did exactly what I wanted to do. So proud of myself and everyone who’s been here. It’s so inspiring being around you guys, and it’s changed my life,” Robinson said. 

This annual tradition continues to leave an indelible mark on its students, fostering a community of poets who find strength, inspiration and a profound sense of belonging in the art of spoken word.

 

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About the Contributor
Whittaley Bowden
Whittaley Bowden, Senior Staff Writer
Whittaley Bowden is a senior at Robinson and a senior staff writer for Knight Writers. This is her second year on staff. Bowden grew up in a multicultural household, so in her free time, she enjoys cooking lots of different foods. She has moved past baking as she has grown older and has started to experiment with her own creations and new food trends that she has seen on social media. This reflects her favorite section to write, which is multimedia, specifically MidKnight snacks. “I started getting into cooking because I just loved to explore new food and make my own recipes to enjoy," Bowden said. Bowden is very involved with Robinson and in many different clubs and extracurriculars. One of these clubs is Future Health Care Professionals of America (FHCPA), where she is the secretary. Aside from all her extracurriculars, Bowden really enjoys listening to music and has a very broad taste indulging in multiple genres such as Afro beats, K-pop and a little alternative music. “I've been really into Afro beats recently because it seems to be the big thing over this summer,” Bowden said. Bowden has really been thinking about her future recently especially since her time at Robinson is coming to an end. She has said she wants to continue her education at a college either in-state at the University of South Florida (USF) or out-of-state at the University of Georgia (UGA). "I would definitely want to major in biomedical science because I have always loved science class in school," Bowden said. Profile by Sofia Scott
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