On Thursday March 7, long after the final bell had rung, students were packed into Van Tech's darkened drama studio, which was lit only by an artistic video streamed on a small projector over fabric and the soft glow of candle light.
60 students were there for the school's Poetry Caf�, one of a variety of literary events hosted that week at Van Tech as part of their two week Literary Celebration. During the celebration, students participated in Woodwork Prose, Wordplay Poets, Street Poetry, Poetry Cafes and even a Spring Play (the Insect Comedy).
During the Poetry Caf�, students prepared for hours to get the rhythm and cadence of their self-written pieces down.
For Grade 12 student Nina Chwelos it was an amazing opportunity to perform, despite the fact that during half of her performance she was so nervous she started violently shaking. She says the opportunity to speak publicly about something she's passionate about is key.
"Poetry is like any art form: it's a way to express yourself and to release passion and opinion. Like any medium that allows us to convey ideas, it's fundamental to our mental well-being, in my opinion," says Chwelos.
Chwelos says part of the power (and the nerves) surrounding her poem came from the fact that the poem she preformed was particularly emotionally charged and incorporated some of her own struggles and fears.
"I always enjoy the Poetry Cafe! I remember last year, I read a poem about a tea set. It's so interesting to gain insight into your peers artistic creations, and their lives," she says.