Yeah, right. As if that happened!
Aorere College, Avondale College, Alfriston College, Onehuga High School, Westlake Girls High School, Papatoetoe High School, Mt Albert Grammar, Tangaroa College and McAuley High School were the secondary high schools were the schools that were and still are so privillageed to be apart of the first ever inter-high school poetry slam competition in New Zealand. We are making history!
To be honest, on the night of WORD - The Front Line, it was like it was a showcase instead of competition. We, the competitors, were lending one another our strengths. We encouraged each other, we were the loudest ones screaming, and believe me when I say screaming, for each other. No matter what was going to happen on that night... we were there for each other. It didn't matter if one was older than the other, if we were Palagi, Islander or Maori, all that mattered was that we were there for each other.
First Round: All nine schools sent their first solider to the battleground-- I mean, first poet to the stage. Our girl, Roimata was the first of A.S.O to take on the stage and man, did she do awesomely! After nine, beautiful, funny, heart-wrenching stories, lines, stanzas, raps, poems ere said, we waited for 10 grueling minutes. Unfortunately, we all knew that one six schools could go on from their, but we all hoped for the best. Papatoetoe High School, Onehunga High School and Aorere College were unfortunately the ones who were dropped. Which is totally whack, because I've heard these poets and they are absolutely AMAZING... but life goes on.
Second Round: Six schools advanced, and man did they bring it to the stage! Six amazing poems were performed on that stage. Hearts were left on that stage. The poets were just so emotionally connected to that mic, to that stage, to that audience! That it was just so heart-warming to see them. Our girl, Rebecca was absolutely killer on that stage! Unfortunately, three teams had to be dropped once more... and after a brief intermission we were to find out.
People were crying, believing that they had messed up. Not that they wouldn't win, though, they were crying because they wanted their last team member to go up to that mic and to experience what they had experienced. It was a tense time. People were crying, they were laughing from nerves, they were nervous, they were jittery, I had to go to the bathroom three times, we stole Tangaroa's Nutella... funny story actually.
After the intermission, we all sat, tense, waiting for the three teams to be announced. We found out the same time the audience did, when one of our awesome mentors and slam poet, Zane Scarborough, announced the final three teams to the audience:
Mt Albert Grammar.
ALfriston High School.
McAuley High School.
Third Round: Was completely unexpected, the entire time, my heart was beating so fast. Two beautiful poems later, it was my turn. It was funny, to be honest, I couldn't see anyone in the audience. I legit, couldn't see anyone in the audience. It was actually, kind of reassuring for me, because I could easily pretend that I was alone, just practicing. And the cheers and snaps were just in my head. As soon as I got off the stage, my mentor, Olive Asi, was there and she gave me a hug telling me how proud she was, I didn't realize how badly I was shaking until she let me go.
10 more excruitiating minutes go by, filled with beating hearts and 'Hulk Smash', and the final three teams were called up on stage.
All nine teenagers, no... all nine poets, stood side by side, arms around each other, showing the audience, the judges, each other, everyone, that we were more than competitors... we were all friends.
Zane read out the prizes; a mentoring session with one of the three poets; Luka Lesson, Kevin Arkine, or Carrie Rudzinski, books written and signed by those three poets, a chance to perform on buses, $150 each and an opportunity to tour Brisbane, Australia with SAPC at the end of the year.
Then he read out the winning team.
McAuley High School.
The response was overwhelming.
I, myself, don't remember much about that part of the night, but all I remembered was the overwhelming feeling of relief and guiltiness. I was relieved that after 8 weeks of hardwork, we had won but at the same time, I felt guilty because nine other poets didn't get to perform, nine other poets didn't get to share their stories. That was the only thing that I regretted that whole night.
The other poets were invited on stage and I don't remember anything but congratulations and thank you's. We were overwhelmed with all the hugs and cheers that we received.
And it's all thanks to those who made it possible! Mr Thomas, for his sarcastic way of encouragement, to those who believed in us, right from the very start! SHout out goes to you, Wax Poetic Revival! SAPC for making this happen and making us the very best, especially to Dietrich Soakai, Marina Alefosio, Olive Asi, Zane Scarborough, Ramon Narayan, Mafi Tavo, Lina Tukunga, Onehou Strickland, Ryan Gordon Teura, Especially to Luti RIchards, the one who oraganized the whole event. To the other poets who didn't let the competition get in the way of forming new friendships, you guys are AWESOME!