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The Revolution of Young Artists As Leaders Continues To Be ROYAL


"Simeon’s poetry team, called Writers Never Die and 2014/15 Louder Than a Bomb Champions collaborated with John W. Cook Elementary School and created The Revolution of Young Artist as Leaders (ROYAL) poetry team [two years ago],” according to ROYAL held a Spoken Word Slam at Simeon Career Academy on April 25, 2017, where ROYAL continued to display what happens when youth engage in activities that allow them to use their voices instead of negativity.

Carlos Nelson, who is the Executive Director of Greater Auburn Gresham Development Corporation (GAGDC), said nearly 200 Cook Elementary students supported the Cook spoken word artists. “The Simeon High School spoken word coaches have been working with the Cook students in preparation for this Poetry Slam,” Nelson said. ROYAL Coordinator Derris Cameron said the main focus of the program is to prepare 7th and 8th graders to be successful in high school. “A big part of this comes with the understanding that if we prepare our students academically then there is a better chance that they are prepared to work and take care of their families,” Cameron said. “Particularly with

ROYAL there was a lot of attention paid to the students from middle school to high school because we know that it can be challenging a lot of times,” Nelson said opportunities to grow the program within additional CPS schools are definitely there. But he said during these discussions, resources and funds come into play.

“To see these elementary school kids engage with the high school kids is a natural progression for them,” Nelson said. “But we want to also engage with the college kids and the biggest thing is that these college perspective teachers are 99 percent white and 90 percent female. Nelson explained that 30 Illinois State College of Education students and college prospective teachers were also in attendance at Simeon to have a discussion and reflection with the Cook and Simeon students after the Slam.

“We told the kids at Cook and Simeon that we would love that in the next five to ten years, they are the college kids at Illinois State University (ISU) who will return to the South Side Community to mentor and coach future elementary kids in the community,” Nelson said.

Cameron said it was also important for the ISU Professors to be in attendance at the Spoken Word Slam so that they could be introduced to their future college students. “We don’t want the first time they interact with Black and Brown kids to be their first day of class,” Cameron said. “We want them to develop those relationships, be comfortable, have conversations and be a part of the Greater Auburn Gresham Community.”

Keywords: Cook Elementary, Illinois State University, Illinois State University Chicago Teacher Education Pipeline, Poetry Slam, ROYAL, Simeon Career Academy

Posted in Education, Auburn Gresham in the News, Community Highlights


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