The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

The student news site of Los Altos High School in Los Altos, California

The Talon

Introducing the contestants of the 11th annual Freshmen Poetry Battle

Freshman Poetry Battle poster.
Annabelle Lee and Summer Li
Freshman Poetry Battle poster.

Los Altos High School’s 11th annual Freshmen Poetry Battle was held during ACT on February 16. The event was mainly organized by English teachers Jasmine Mark and Arantxa Arriada. Hosted by English teacher Jonathan Kwan, the Poetry Battle was concluded with the judges — English teacher Carrie Abel Shaffer and LAHS Slam Team and senior Angely Vargas — awarding the first-place winner, freshman Amelia Sun.

The quotes in this article have been edited for clarity.

This year’s Poetry Battle contestants and their respective poems, as introduced by their Survey Comp/Lit teachers, are:

Eliana Belikov – How To Love

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“Eliana’s classmates voted for her as our top poet because her performance was powerful and without giving anything away, I think many students can relate to the subject of her poem. Memorization wasn’t required in my class, and not only did Eliana memorize her poem, but she delivered it with passion and emotion. I can’t wait to see her on stage!” – Arantxa Arriada

Ruhi Bhaskar – What Are Rights?

“Ruhi’s poem is powerful both in terms of the message and her use of poetic devices. Her class presentation gripped all of us who had the privilege of hearing it and her classmates nominated her for this honor. Her poem is genuine and is about an important and timely topic, women’s rights. I am excited for everyone to hear this compelling poem!” – Margaret Bennett

Sam Hiltgen – Shot On Sight

“The guy my class chose for the Poetry Battle was Sam. His poem is a powerful piece and it’s pretty provocative. It’s about him being who he is and not caring about what others think. I think the class was really struck by his poem. They were moved.” – Michael Smith

Kartik Karpenko – Clarity

“Join the journey of ‘Clarity,’ a poetic exploration portraying the mind as a river navigating life’s challenges. This brief piece touches on the struggle against indecision and distraction, guiding listeners toward a profound realization. Experience the essence of clarity in a captivating narrative.” – Kartik Karpenko

Veronica Lewis* – Society
“Veronica Lewis was selected to represent my third-period Survey class for the pure authenticity and raw power she communicated through her poem. The words exuded from her very being as if they were an extension of her soul. She made us all sit up and take notice of her stirring performance. We are so proud that she is representing our class.” – Lisa Bonanno

Sahar Ophir – Blue Sweatshirt

“Sahar is creative, uses imagery to connect to her audience, and is honest in her writing. Her poems are a direct reflection of her thoughts on her experiences. I appreciate the wit she infuses and the risks she takes.” – Michael Smith

Oscar Ramirez Montiel* – Play The Game The White Way
“Oscar’s poem is fire! He blew his class away with the power of the message and the delivery of his poem. Even the title is cool. I love that he chose a topic he’s clearly passionate about, and used his voice to share with us.” – Jasmine Mark

Daria Rodova – Vaganova Style

“My class chose Daria Rodova because her poem is about an important topic that people will be able to relate to and she delivers it with power and passion. The audience will love it!” – April Oliver

Jason Schuder – What You See In A Mirror

“I chose Jason because he was passionate about the writing of his poem. He took the workshop very seriously and was able to revise his piece into something he is really proud of. I think people will relate to his poem about distrust. He also worked with me to create a meaningful performance.” – Lisa Battle

Amelia Sun – The Paradox of Life

“I had a lot of really strong performers this year, so it wasn’t an easy decision to make. But Amelia wrote a poem about something she’s passionate about and she performed it with a lot of passion. I think that’s what poetry’s about — expressing yourself articulately with passion. Plus, I thought she’d really enjoy performing.” – Michael Kanda

*Veronica Lewis declined to have a photo published.
*Oscar Ramirez Montiel did not respond in time to be published.

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Annabelle Lee
Annabelle Lee, Staff Writer

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