Students in the Poetry and Drumming programs at West Brooklyn Community High School (WBCHS) recently held a performance to showcase their work from the first trimester. Teaching artists Melanie Goodreaux and Oneza Lafontant have been working with students three times per week since September.
One of the poets, Oscar, performed two pieces about a tragic violent event involving a close friend. “It’s a way to express yourself, like about life choices and experiences. My work is about something that actually happened, so it’s good for people to hear it so they could make different choices.”
Another poet, Lorraine, remarked “Poetry helps you in other classes to think more deeply and explain more completely… also to find the best words. It’s a class that’s dedicated to you expressing your feelings – what’s bothering you and how to make sense of things.”
Sharnalee, part of the drumming ensemble said “I have never performed live before a group of people. The energy was great! The class brings the opportunity for kids to want to come to school because they look forward to the class and performing in the showcase.”
Another drumming student, Maxina, who is graduating soon commented about how having arts classes helps motivate students. “Some kids will cut classes, but not the art classes. Some days, people come to school because they want to go to art class.” Her advice to other young people working toward graduation includes “I would tell them to not get discouraged. If I would have quit, I would feel so bad for myself. I’m glad I listened to my mother!”