Festival of Lights, 2015

Behind the Scenes of Poetry Night
— by Vera ‘16

The lights shine brightly in my eyes and my stomach clenches nervously. The adrenaline left over from the nerve wreaking hour and a half of bumper-to-bumper traffic makes my body want to jump up and run around the room. People shift restlessly in their seats. They stare at us expectantly, waiting for us to start. The night of the Festival of Lights has finally arrived. Months of preparation and anticipation have lead up to this night.

But what is this Festival of Lights celebrating? “Every celebration is about the girls. Every celebration is about you,” Ms.Falk said in a interview. She went on to say that at L-Dub we value expressions of mind, body, and voice, and poetry is a “...beautiful burst of voice,  an expression of gratitude, a gift to the community.”

The amount of effort that goes into this wonderful night is huge and comes from everyone at L-Dub. Ms. Falk, Ms.Eva, Ms. Jenny, Señorita Jacquie, and the rest of the Humanities Department begins to consider dates, times, the budget, and organizing the students at the beginning of the school year. Then, about a month later, under the direction of Ms. Falk, the Poetry Elective students begin to orchestrate the event. First, they come up with a theme. This year the theme was “Never Alone,” and it came from a poem written by Sophie ‘17. This poem was inspired by Sarah Kay’s If I Should Have a Daughter, which was the last poem performed at Poetry Night.

If I Had a Daughter by Sophie ‘17

If I had a daughter I would tell her,
always,
listen to your heart,
look,
into your soul
you know what is right.
If I had a daughter I would tell her
the earth is your home.
Without it
you wouldn't exist!
what you do to the earth
you do
to yourself.
The animals
are your brothers
and sisters
treat them like you would any human.
They have rights,
and they have souls,
they are no different than us on the inside.
If killing or torturing a human is a crime,
why shouldn't it be a crime to kill or torture an animal?
there may be times when you feel covered
in shadows.
Stuck in,
an endless,
tunnel,
but hope and love will always find a way.
you are
never alone.
Remember help and light will,
always,
be there for you when you need it most.
You are
never alone.
You must
never give up
if you are the light at the end of the tunnel.
You must
never give up
if the race hasn’t even begun.
The stars are high up,
but
don’t think you can’t,
build a ladder to reach them.
the waves,
of the sea may try to pull you down,
to the depths,
but don’t think,
you’ll go down,
without a fight!

Next, the students designed the set and t-shirts. Everyone contributed ideas – some of which were used and others stored for later. The idea eventually selected was “trees with holiday lights wrapped around them in honor of the Festival of Lights.” Next came the t-shirt design. This year Maggie, Addie, Rhys, and I drew the design with others contributing to the design and composition. In a interview Maggie said that it felt “nice to draw it” and that she was “proud of it.” Everyone in Poetry Elective was proud of everything each of them had contributed by the end.

Once the planning and designing was done, the poetry crew built and set everything up. Ms.Lindsey polished up the t-shirts and ordered them. Ms.Chelsea built and perfected all the sets. Ms. Christina sets up the lights and sound.  Ms. Blaisdell put the finishing touched on the program and prepared to photograph and shoot the performances. All the students on Poetry Crew assisted whenever they were needed. So many people in our school were involved.

Finally, after months of preparation on the behalf of the Humanities Department, Poetry Elective, Poetry Crew, and all L-Dub students, the night finally arrived. Everything was ready. Everyone’s lines were memorized, the stage was set up beautifully, the new microphones (wow, what a gift!) were tuned and ready, the Poetry Crew was ready to assist people on and off stage, and the Poetry Advice Wall was all set up. The lights went off and the Evening of Words began.

Never Alone, original works by LWGMS's 2015 Poetry Elective students Mena, Eliza, Helen, Magda, Sophie, Destiny, Rhys, Valerie, Greta, Vera, Emily, Harriet, Grace, Maggie, Gemma, and Addiemaymae. Lake Washington Girls Middle School Festival of Lights, December 17, 2015.

The Way, an original poem by Iyra '16. Lake Washington Girls Middle School Festival of Lights, December 17, 2015.

The shadows of L-Dub students twirl and leap on the walls of the Immaculate Conception church hall. These dancing shapes perfectly reflect the strength, energy, and emotion of the poems being presented at the 2015 LWGMS Festival of Lights. Strands of tiny shining lightbulbs illuminate the room, bringing an aura of celebration and contemplation as the eventful night begins.

Like That, an original poem by Celia '16, Corina '16, and Zoe '16. Lake Washington Girls Middle School Festival of Lights, December 17, 2015.

The night starts off with a powerful poem from the poetry elective, centered around the idea of advice and having one another’s back. It’s heartwarming; a glorious introduction to the rest of the sweet, moving, and intensely captivating Poetry Night. This event solidified the idea that at L-Dub you are never alone, and the poetry elective students did an incredible job of it!

—Lucia '17

The walls of the Immaculate Conception Church hall reflected the energy produced by the eagerly waiting relatives, friends, parents, and students. The white lights decorating the brown paper trees made by Ms. Chelsea added a feel of emotion and wonder. The girls performing poems either sat tapping their feet nervously or talking with friends. You could tell the night was going to be magnificent.

—Anne Elise '18