Riverside Secondary students competed for first place at the Spoken Word Festival, that took place in the cafeteria this December with audience members and hard scoring judges in attendance.

The Spoken Word Festival of 2019 took place on December 5th and 6th, with all grades attending in the cafeteria. The participating students discussed a variety of topics and had the option to perform individually or with a partner. All of the performers’ presentations were strong and it was evident they were passionate about their topics.

Students from different grades watched and supported the speakers, providing them an engaging audience, and helped make the event a success. The Riverside students did an outstanding job of encouraging the performers, and helping them build back confidence by snapping during performances when in need.

This event would not be possible without the hardworking English department. The teachers all coordinate their lessons throughout the week, to keep on track for performers to be selected for the school wide competition. “The other English teachers know the rules and drill by now,” said Ms. Thomasen, English department teacher.

Teachers also had the difficult task of choosing the speakers for the finals. “Sometimes the best do not want to go, and sometimes there can be up to five people who are good enough to go,” said Thomasen.

This is also difficult decisions for some students such as Quinton O’Neale, saying he declined the offer to perform at the event because he did not want a repeat of when he went five years ago. However, he decided to go for the wildcard spot and ended up performing after contemplating the idea for a while.

Thomasen also said that the MCs helped warm up the students before the event began, and it is always an important procedure for their confidence and to dispel some nerves.

At the end of the festival, the results were announced with the following students finishing first in their respected grade levels: Audrey Giles (grade 9), the trio of Amanda Brito, Erik Rothenberger, and Olivia Colombo (grade 10), Jake Ryznar (grade 11) and Kalen Zhou (grade 12).