Xochiquetzalyt, EHS Class of 2021, "Close to Home"
Xochiquetzalyt's family is from Guerrero, Mexico, and she is proud to be one of those rare native-born New Yorkers. In her free time, she likes to play soccer with her cousins. The Covid-19 pandemic made her realize how much she appreciated the moments she could spend with her family. Her powerful poem was inspired by a cruel incident that happened to her on 103rd Street. She turned her experience into a love letter to those who have ever felt the sting of racism - or for anyone who has been attacked for being different.
Xochiquetzalyt currently attends The Young Women's Leadership School of East Harlem.
Katherine, EHS Class of 2021, "Like Butterflies"
Katherine's family is from Huacho, Chaucayan, and Huancayo, Peru. She likes to spend time with her family, especially by knitting with her grandmother. At EHS, Katherine likes to study science because, in her words, "there are endless wonders in life waiting to be discovered and analyzed." She loves the rhythm and emotion that poetry brings to language. Katherine's admiration for her grandmother's courage and endurance in facing hardship inspired her poem.
Watch Katherine's poem, featuring a conversation with Aimée Mullins, by clicking above.
Katherine currently attends Dana Hall School in Wellesley, Massachusetts.
Marlon, EHS Class of 2022, "An Ode to the Silence and the Rain"
Marlon's family is from Puebla, Mexico. He was born in New York and proudly proclaims himself Mexican-American. One of his favorite subjects is science because it provides brighter clarity to his understanding of the world. He also loves to play soccer. Marlon's poem came about by thinking about the rhythm of his days and what brings him joy. Upon reflection, his appreciation of silence and solitude rose to the fore and inspired his poem.
Watch Marlon's poem, featuring a conversation with Rupert Friend, by clicking above.
Marlon currently attends Cristo Rey New York.
Xitlally, EHS Class of 2021, "Puebla Rose"
Xitlally's family is from Puebla and Atempan, Mexico. She is inspired by all forms of art. A Poetry Slam veteran, Xitlally decided to take up pencil and paper, this time to share with words her parents' love story. Her favorite part of the Poetry Process, however, was not the composition, but the performance and sharing of the poem with an audience.
Xitlally currently attends Manhattan Hunter Science High School
Ashley, EHS Class of 2023, "A Very Lucky Girl"
Ashley's family is from Guerrero and Puebla, Mexico. She is passionate about art and she loves learning about science. Ashley's poem was inspired by the strength of her family and the loving people who have given her the resilience to bravely battle brain cancer. Thanks to them and her struggle, Ashley feels that she can deeply appreciate the little things in life.
Watch Ashley's poem, featuring a conversation with her neurosurgeon, Dr. Caitlin Hoffman, by clicking above.
You can learn more about Ashley's story here.
Zanai, EHS Class of 2022, "Party on Gun Hill"
Zanai's family is from San Juan, Puerto Rico and Nagarote, Nicaragua. In her free time, she loves to sing and dance, but most of all, Zanai likes to spend time with her family. She enjoys poetry because she is able to express her thoughts and feelings through words. Zanai's poem is about the contrasting texture of family gatherings before and during the Covid-19 Pandemic.
Watch her poem, featuring an introduction from Seth Meyers, by clicking above.
Andre, EHS Class of 2021, "War Song"
Andre was born in Newark, where he lives with his father, Donald. Donald has been the superintendent at EHS for over twenty years. His favorite subject is history because if helps him understand more about the present. His poem was inspired by his love for his mother, who passed away when Andre was in 6th grade. It celebrates the spiritual connection that she brought to him.
Watch Andre's poem, featuring a conversation with Glenn Close, by clicking above.
Andre currently attends Pace High School in New York City.
Alexa, EHS Class of 2021, "In A While"
Alexa lived in San Lucas, Mexico for the first 11 years of her life, until she left for the United States with her mother and brother. Alexa enjoys spending time with her family and loves listening to music. She says, "For me, classical music if a way to describe how you feel without words." Her poem is dedicated to a man in the train station who plays the violin, and she tells the story of her experience of life through his music. This is the second time Alexa has performed at The East Harlem School Poetry Slam.
Alexa currently attends Baruch College Campus High School.
Rygel, EHS Class of 2022, and Ryanna, EHS Class of 2021
"Dear Ryanna" & "Hibiscus and Plumeria"
Rygel and Ryanna live in Queens with their two brothers. Their mother is from Myanmar and their father is from Hong Kong. Both Rygel and Ryanna are avid readers. Rygel says that he does not have a favorite book because he "has not read every single book yet!" Rygel's poem is a heartfelt letter of gratitude to his older sister that celebrates their strong relationship, especially during this past year. Ryanna's poem is about the plants from her parents' wedding in Hawaii that still live in their home. In her poem, Ryanna traces an elegant arc between these plants, love, life, time, herself and her brothers.
Ryanna currently attends Brooklyn Technical High School and Rygel is busy applying to high schools all over New York City.
Zoe, EHS Class of 2024, "Almost Breathless"
Zoe's family is from Tlaxcala, Mexico. She likes to write poetry during the week and on the weekends she collects and curates rocks and stones in her personal collection. Zoe also likes to play with her classmates during sports. Zoe's experience in sports inspired her poem. She wrote about her perseverance and belief in herself.
Treece, EHS Class of 2021, "Seeing Red"
Treece is from the Bronx and her mother is from La Ceiba, Honduras. In her free time, she loves to dance and write. Treece wrote her poem based on the unrest throughout the country following the election, a turbulence that also created an unrest within her heart. She deeply enjoyed the process of both writing and performing her poem. To Treece, writing is where she can give he all -- while also finding her true self.
Treece currently attends Cristo Rey New York.
Leshly, EHS Class of 2021, "Together We Burn So Bright"
Geraldine, EHS Class of 2021, "The Beat of the Guitar"
James, EHS Class of 2023, "A 2020 Vision"
James is from Harlem. He has two siblings and one dog named Max. On the weekends, James likes to draw and listen to music. He most enjoys spending time with family, making jokes, and eating delicious, homemade food. James's poem was inspired by observing the shifts of social perspective through the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Yuritzi, EHS Class of 2021, "Portrait"
Yuritzi's family is from Puebla and Guerrero, Mexico. She loves art because it makes her feel calm, and she finds joy in taking care of her younger sister every day after school. Yuritzi's poem was inspired by the love and gratitude she carries for her family, and she is thankful for all that her parents have given her.
Yuritzi currently attends Cristo Rey New York.