Press Releases


FIRST ENGLISH MONTREAL SCHOOL BOARD SLAM POETRY COMPETITION RECEIVES STANDING OVATION

MONTREAL, MARCH 10, 2014 – Continuing the strong tradition of arts at the English Montreal School Board, Marymount Academy in N.D.G.  recently hosted the EMSB’s inaugural slam poetry/spoken word competition.  
Entitled “Speak Up Montreal!” the competition featured students presenting slam poetry, known as well as spoken word poetry, a modern art, which invites individuals to express their feelings and emotions without inhibitions or rules in a style mirroring hip-hop music.
“Last year we started a spoken word unit in my English class and I saw that the groups were really interested,” said Mya Doughan, head of Marymount Academy’s English Department and head supervisor for this student initiative.  “One of my students, Nayem Alam, asked me if he could make a Spoken Word competition where we would invite the other schools to participate.
In addition to sparking creativity in his peers, this event was organized by the aforementioned  Mr. Alam as his International Baccalaureate personal project. All IB students must complete a personal project in order to meet the requirements of the IB program.

“My goal in life is to become a motivational speaker. I really wanted to leave a mark on society and in this world,” explained Mr. Alam. “I figured I have the facilities, why not create a competition where everyone can be involved and express his or herself in a creative and motivational way. My advice to students who might want to participate in the future is that when you feel something powerful; don’t be scared about what people are going to think. You are you and life is way too short.”

Four high schools participated in this competition: Marymount Academy, Laurier Macdonald  in St. Léonard,  James Lyng in  St. Henri and Centennial Regional High School on the South Shore. There are high hopes for the future of this competition, and not just within the EMSB.

“I really hope this event becomes an annual competition and is able to reach all schools around Quebec,” says Ms. Doughan. “I really believe in the importance of having students communicate their feelings. Spoken word is a really good avenue for them to express themselves and feel secure while doing it.”
Thirty students from the four schools participated, with awards and certificates given to the third, second and first place winners. One invited guest was among the performers, the notable poetry workshop specialist, Jason Selman.

“I’ve been working with Marymount Academy for about a year, doing various workshops,” said Mr. Selman. “I’ve been writing poetry and recording music for most of my life and it is something I really enjoy, especially when I get to work with students. They learn who they are and how to foster their own confidence. I see them really grow as individuals. I want to show the groups that it is okay to be vulnerable and feel free to express their own personal story. It is very important to have your own voice and to cultivate it.”

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Michael J. Cohen
Communications and Marketing Specialist
English Montreal School Board
Tel: (514) 483-7200 ext. 7243
Fax: (514) 483-7213
E-mail: mcohen@emsb.qc.ca