On October 17th, 2013 Jefferson High School with the support of Huntington Learning Center will be holding its 5th Annual Poetry Slam. Held each of the last four years in the Jefferson Library, this celebration of student creativity features performances by Jefferson students presenting their own poetry, an improvisational poetry event lovingly entitled "Poems from a Hat", and an open mic opportunity for members of the community and students who chose not to compete, but still wish to share their work. Students are scored on a scale of 1-10 by a panel of judges drawn from the local community. This year's judges include Lisa Fowler-Kobylewski from Huntington Learning Center, Natasia Lambert from Rasmussen College, and Jefferson graduates: Anna Lepke - last year's Regional winner of the National Poetry Out Loud Competition, Irin Jelnov - one of last year's Slam winners, and Stephan Jimenez - a Slam winner from 2012. However, as any slam poet knows, the points are not the point - the point is the poetry. As such, the event is both open to the public and absolutely free of charge.
Though this is the 5th slam event at Jefferson, it marks an important moment in the program's growth. Traditionally, there has been a single slam held in April each year. This year, however, Jefferson is holding a fall slam for Jefferson students and will be inviting students from throughout the Rockford Public Schools to join them for an all-district event in April. This is the first step in what organizers hope will grow to become a regional event that will eventually draw from the entire state-line area.