On December 16, Riverside students of all grades competed in the annual Spoken Word Competition. It was easy to tell that the performers were enjoying themselves as they were all speaking passionately about their topics.

Ammarah Siddiqui presenting her spoken word, “When I Become History.”

The Spoken Word tradition is important to Riverside as it has been part of the culture of the school for many years. “I think spoken word provides an opportunity to share topics of identity, stereotypes, political and social injustices, and we get to hear it from the voice of the students as opposed from the voices of the adults and teachers,” said Sheri Thomasen, a Riverside English and Social Studies teacher. She also described it as “…a great way to showcase the variety of voices we have at the school.”

Following COVID safety protocols are necessary to allow the performances to go ahead. The regulation for the cafeteria is to allow approximately 131 people, which means there are limited amounts of students that were able to watch the spoken words in person. Thomasen said that organizers “… had to look at the schedule and decide that the grade 9 and 10 English class students were allowed in the morning, and then the same thing with the grade 11 and 12 English class students in the afternoon.” The spoken word competition was also streamed on for other classes to watch if they chose to.

Lauren Schubak, Emma Stoyanova, and Brook Conley presenting their group spoken word about being a woman in today’s society.

Though COVID has changed this years spoken word activities a bit this year, Riverside still had MCs in the morning and afternoon as years in the past. A couple of the winners from 2020’s spoken word competition came back as MCs for this years competition. Audrey Giles, Olivia Colombo, Emelia SinnotMaddox Colligan, and Carlos Gonzalez Ruiz were Riverside’s morning MCs and in the afternoon there was a guest MC. This years guest MC was Isabella Wang. She is 18 years old and came from the Vancouver Poetry House.

The spoken word competition is only one day long this year as the cafeteria will be used for the winter concert during the same week.

The 2021 spoken word winners are:

Grade 9

1st – Maariyah Zuberi

2nd – Maya Armstrong

Grade 10

1st – Scarlett Stratton

2nd – Alex Kim

3rd –  also got a perfect score – Sophie Giesbrecht

Grade 11

1st – Nicky Pitman

2nd – Mara Julian

Grade 12

3×1st  The judges could not decide!

Ammarah Siddiqui

Quinten O’Neale

Trio – Lauren Schubak, Emma Stoyanova, Brook Conley

If you missed the spoken word competition and would like to watch it, the links for the grade 9-10s and 11-12s are provided below.

Grade 9 and 10

Grade 11 and 12