By Brittney Goldenstein – Lincoln High School has been a part of the slam poetry community for almost 20 years! In the late ’90s English teacher Deborah McGinn was introduced to the slam community and brought it to Lincoln High. If you have ever had McGinn as an English teacher you have probably watched the ‘Louder Than A Bomb’ documentary, showing how slam poetry has grown and how it has helped shaped students.
“It just caught fire.” McGinn said, regarding when Slam Poetry became a sanctioned activity in Nebraska. Originally, Louder Than A Bomb: Great Plains, was only going to be a in Omaha, but McGinn fought for LHS to be allowed in. The first schools from Lincoln Public Schools to be a part of LTaB: Great Plains, were Lincoln High School and North Star High School. For the 2016 season there were 32 schools and organizations that participated spreading across Nebraska and Council Bluffs, Iowa.
The LHS team this year was a young, strong team. The team this year placed first, in Bout 1 against City Impact, Lincoln North Star, and Lincoln East, with a score of 140.9. In Bout 2 against Lincoln Southeast, Millard South and Mount Michael, they placed second to Southeast by just 1.1 points. The team made it to the Semi-Finals and although they did not advance to Finals, the team worked hard all season to get those top spots.
You always hear of athletes watching film after games, but did you know that the slam poetry teams does too? Starting in October the Slam Poetry team starts practicing. The team gets exposed to different vocal warmups and prompts, they also watch film of other schools, their own film, and film form national and international competitions. Professional champions also come to help the students learn. During practice they also do a lot of group work, editors help with lines and vocabulary. “There’s this whole school of experiential learning from different mediums,” McGinn stated regarding practices.
If you have even been to a slam poetry competition you can see the dedication that McGinn, the ‘Hype Squad’, and other supporters put in to know that we love our LHS Slam Poetry team. “We have the talent, we have the heart, we have the dedication and we have beautiful, beautiful kids to work with.” McGinn boasted about the slam poetry students. Every time a LHS student stands at the mic to perform their piece it always starts similar: they poet introduces themselves, says the title of their piece and finishes with the coined phrase “Representing Lincoln High School.” then the huge booming sound fills the room with an echoing “You Know!”