On Tuesday afternoon, high school students from across South Florida came together to let their voices be heard, as the Jason Taylor Foundation continued their month long hosting of their fourth annual Louder Than A Bomb Poetry Festival presented by Nova Southeastern University and UPS.
This April 3rd round was the South Florida Preliminary Bouts, and was hosted at four different locations, including the Little Haiti Cultural Complex, the Miramar Cultural Center, PlugIN Karaoke in Hallandale Beach, and Ted's at YoungArts on Biscayne Boulevard.
During this festival, students are able to let their voices be heard among their peers, with heavy messages involving - and ranging from - suicide, global warming, abusive parents, social anxiety, and many more.
“This is without a doubt one of my favorite times of the year,” said former Dolphins legend and Hall of Fame DE Jason Taylor. “Each and every day we are witness to the power of young voices and Louder Than A Bomb Florida showcases this power on dynamic stages and in spectacular venues. I love that our reach continues to expand and that LTABFLA can bring so many youth from different backgrounds together to celebrate their stories, strengthen their schools and transform communities.”
Since its inception in 2012, LTABFLA has been activated in over 65 schools and touched the hearts of over 1,200 students; Melissa Dorce of McArthur High School's "Express the Arts" - who shared a poem about all of the missing children posters and how it impacts her - is certainly no exception.
"It was amazing," she said. "Seeing all these poets and their amazing stories, and it just makes you happy to appreciate life, strive to do better, work hard for everything you want in life, and never give up."
Even the organizers, such as Heather "HeRo" Wells, have had their lives changed by the platform that LTABFLA offers.
"I started out as a coach, and then I became a coordinator for my county, and now I'm the recruiter for the whole state." said Wells. "Every year it touches my heart more and more, when you think you've heard the best poem you're ever gonna hear, the next year is just gonna bring more. It's absolutely amazing."
Though some incredible material has already been shared, things are only just getting started for this year's LTABFLA. The next set of preliminaries will take place on April 12, culminating into two sets of final rounds between all of the winners on April 20-21. There is an old saying that goes like this: "Save the best for last."
One can only wonder what awaits everyone at the end of the festival.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung
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